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#1630669 - 03/01/11 12:18 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: etcetra]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I hate to sound rude, but I don't really see how all these new-age rhetoric is actually helping anyone become better improviser, specifically to be able to play like Keith.

Because it's true. And if you want to 'play like Keith' you have to be willing to trust yourself and go beyond technique. What do you think he does?

Originally Posted By: etcetra
Does intuition always contribute more than technique? You may be inspired but how does that help if you don't have the technique to hit the desired note at the right timing?

Here's the big secret ... if you don't have the 'technique' to play something - you make it up! Which is why trusting intuition is so important. It will lead you places thinking won't. And again, this is how Jarrett (I assume) does what he does. Sure, he's got the technical chops, but technique alone isn't what communicates - it's what's behind the notes. How's that for 'new age' rhetoric?
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#1630674 - 03/01/11 12:28 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: eweiss]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I hate to sound rude, but I don't really see how all these new-age rhetoric is actually helping anyone become better improviser, specifically to be able to play like Keith.

Because it's true. And if you want to 'play like Keith' you have to be willing to trust yourself and go beyond technique. What do you think he does?

Originally Posted By: etcetra
Does intuition always contribute more than technique? You may be inspired but how does that help if you don't have the technique to hit the desired note at the right timing?

Here's the big secret ... if you don't have the 'technique' to play something - you make it up! Which is why trusting intuition is so important. It will lead you places thinking won't. And again, this is how Jarrett (I assume) does what he does. Sure, he's got the technical chops, but technique alone isn't what communicates - it's what's behind the notes. How's that for 'new age' rhetoric?


Again, the problem is that you seem to suggest technique as something different than inspiration/trusting yourself, and all these new-age spiritual stuff(which is important too), as something you "need to go beyond".

To me all aspect of music is equally important, and I think it's better to avoid statements that seem to show bias against technique.

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#1630681 - 03/01/11 12:39 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: etcetra]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
To me all aspect of music is equally important, and I think it's better to avoid statements that seem to show bias against technique.

Who's biased against technique? Not I. But go ahead ... practice your scales, arpeggios and whatever for years and years. It won't help you achieve the X factor that Jarrett seems to have in spades. Why? Because you have to let it all go and just play. Those who don't or can't do this will always sound 'wooden' for lack of a better word. And having sophisticated 'technique' is a very easy way to hide behind the notes.
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#1630686 - 03/01/11 12:48 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: eweiss]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: eweiss
practice your scales, arpeggios and whatever for years and years. It won't help you achieve the X factor that Jarrett seems to have in spades. Why? Because you have to let it all go and just play. Those who don't or can't do this will always sound 'wooden' for lack of a better word. And having sophisticated 'technique' is a very easy way to hide behind the notes.


Any great player will tell you that have been practicing scales/arpeggios for years and years, and I am pretty sure they will say you need to do that too if you want to play like Jarrett. That's like saying you want to be a good basketball play and play inspired but doing your daily exercise/grinding won't help you get there

I also feel like you are failing to understand the distinction between what you do in practice and play. When you practice at home, you approach like you would as an athlete and grinding things out, and when you play, you do your best to just forget and play. It's not one of the other, you do both and you need both equally.




Edited by etcetra (03/01/11 12:53 PM)

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#1630690 - 03/01/11 12:52 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: etcetra]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
That's like saying you want to be a good basketball play and play inspired but doing your daily exercise/grinding won't help you get there.

Good analogy. Let's look at Michael Jordan - probably the greatest basketball player ever. Did Jordan spend much time learning how to play basketball? Of course. But why is Jordan considered the best? Because he went beyond technique and played basketball his way.

It's like someone asking "how come Jordan's so good?" The answer is technique is second nature to him and now he relies on his gut instincts (intuition) to lead him to that 'perfect' shot.
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#1630702 - 03/01/11 01:03 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Larry Bird stayed 3-4 hrs everyday after regular training to practice shooting, Gilbert Arenas practices 100,000 jump shots(equivalent of scales and Arpeggios) during off season.

The reason they became so good has A lot to do with the fact that they practiced (improved their technique) more than other people. If they were able to go beyond technique, why did they still practice so much?

I don't see anything in that as being mechanical or wooden about technique. You have to have a lot of fire in you to want to work that hard and go the extra mile, and there is a lot of joy in being able to accomplish something . You always have room to improve, more techniques to perfect. Why deprive yourself of wanting to become better?

I think what you want to say is that technique is no good if you let it become your sole purpose and neglect the inspiration/emotional aspect of it, and that's what makes people sound "wooden".. but I think the opposite is equally wrong too


Edited by etcetra (03/01/11 01:08 PM)

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#1630706 - 03/01/11 01:16 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: etcetra]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I think what you want to say is that technique is no good if you let it become your sole purpose and neglect the inspiration/emotional aspect of it, and that's what makes people sound "wooden".. but I think the opposite is equally wrong too

I thought I did say that. smile
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#1630760 - 03/01/11 02:53 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: apple*]
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1241
Originally Posted By: apple*
My kids LOVE the Koln Concert. They found my CD on I-Tunes (which they use too) and broadcast it thruout the house with one of their fancy ipod things. It's much nicer to hear than Justin Bieber.

We've heard at least 20 times this month. I couldn't be happier.


That's great. I strongly suggest purchasing The Bremen/Lausanne Concerts (mentioned above by John in Montreal) if you don't already own it. Recorded two years before Koln, it was actually somewhat better received by critics:

Record of the Year, 1975, The New York Times
Album of the year (Pop), 1974, Time Magazine (USA)
Record of the Year (International Critics’ Poll), 1974, Down Beat (USA)
Record of the Year, 1974, Stereo Review (USA)
Record of the Year (World), 1974/75, Jazz Forum (Poland)
Grand Prix (gold), 1974/75, Swing Journal (Germany)
Grosser Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, 1974/75, Deutsche Phono-Akademie (Germany)
Kuenstler des Jahres, 1975, Deutsche Phono- Akademie (Germany)

From 1981, the Bregenz/Munich "Concerts" release also contains some awesome moments.


Edited by Sir Lurksalot (03/01/11 02:54 PM)

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#1633764 - 03/04/11 10:08 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: apple*]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 399
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: apple*
My kids LOVE the Koln Concert. THey found my CD on I-Tunes (which they use too) and broadcast it thruout the house with one of their fancy ipod things. It's much nicer to hear than Justin Bieber.

We've heard at least 20 times this month. I couldn't be happier.


Listened twice already this week, Brings total plays to about 5,000 but who's counting smile

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1633771 - 03/04/11 10:23 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: Sir Lurksalot]
John_In_Montreal Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/11
Posts: 399
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: Sir Lurksalot
Originally Posted By: apple*
My kids LOVE the Koln Concert. They found my CD on I-Tunes (which they use too) and broadcast it thruout the house with one of their fancy ipod things. It's much nicer to hear than Justin Bieber.

We've heard at least 20 times this month. I couldn't be happier.


That's great. I strongly suggest purchasing The Bremen/Lausanne Concerts (mentioned above by John in Montreal) if you don't already own it. Recorded two years before Koln, it was actually somewhat better received by critics:

Record of the Year, 1975, The New York Times
Album of the year (Pop), 1974, Time Magazine (USA)
Record of the Year (International Critics’ Poll), 1974, Down Beat (USA)
Record of the Year, 1974, Stereo Review (USA)
Record of the Year (World), 1974/75, Jazz Forum (Poland)
Grand Prix (gold), 1974/75, Swing Journal (Germany)
Grosser Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, 1974/75, Deutsche Phono-Akademie (Germany)
Kuenstler des Jahres, 1975, Deutsche Phono- Akademie (Germany)

From 1981, the Bregenz/Munich "Concerts" release also contains some awesome moments.



There are indeed a lot of great moments in the 1981, Bregenz/Munich concerts as well. You just inspired me to listen to it this evening smile

John
_________________________
"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.

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#1659174 - 04/12/11 07:52 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
Pournam Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 8

This is a very profound reply to a similar question by KJ himself:

""
Interviewer:Is there anything you could say to musicians who say, "My God, how does he focus that way?" Is that something you can practice?

Keith Jarrett: No. It's a mercilessness that they need to consider.

TR: Meaning?

KJ: Being nice to yourself isn't the way to go about it.{laughter} Everything about it isn't healthy. Let's say someone -- what they want out of life is to make good music, good enough that they can make a living doing it, and maybe have a family, and they don't need a lot of money but... They've already gone too far. What they have to say is "if anything else comes into my life I'll be lucky, but I've got to put everything I have into this seemingly non--rewarding (art) at this point in my life. It is some dark and deep work that has to be done and the lighter and the more technologically convenient our world gets, the less there are going to be people who even know that there's anything like that. They'll just say, "Gee he was awfully talented," instead of saying, "I wonder what work he had to do to get there?" Like I was born focused, you know? That's what my mother said when I was born, "Oh what a focused little baby!"

"end quote"

Thats on the more practical side of things, as was Philip Glass' reply to the question "what is your secret?"
PG: I have no secret... oh, yes, actually. I get up at 6am and sit to write until 6 pm, and have been doing that for the past 40 years.

The problem is what yo do when that time is invested is a key factor.

And as you distrust or judge as new age some comments with good pointers you need to consider KJ is deeply devoted to the work of Gurdjieff (who was an Armenian spiritual teacher) and even recorded an album of his music.
People often only acquainted with his work in Jazz are not very aware of the influence of spirituality in his life and art, in fact it is the core influence in his work. To highlight the spiritual aspect of his work he said he calls an improvised piece "HYMN" when it works, when it is truly inspired.

Look up his interviews, read his authorized bio by Ian Carr...
Something else usually dismissed is the level of work he has done with classical music since he was less than two digits old.
His technique came from classical studies, SERIOUS studies, BACH WTC for example, that is why he has that incredible intricate texture in his melodies, you can't even imagine something close to those melodies in the vid you posted without a high level of INSPIRED classical studies (not mechanic repetitive riffs that will turn you into a second rate machine).
BUT!
Technique comes after, in support of musical ideas and inspiration (this is also in his bio or some interview I read). He only practiced a certain scale when he needed to play it in service of musical ideas, or he would pick a classical piece he liked to acquire the technique...

...

No artist can emulate another and get even close to his level of musicianship because that transcendence comes from within, I believe this is why Gurdjieff's writing resonated so deeply with Jarrett.

KJ did not become KJ by emulating someone, you can be sure of that. This might all seem new age but it is the best advice you could get, in my opinion obviously. Unless you want to be a third rate Jarrett emulator, or a first rate Jarrett emulator for what matters, why not be a first rate CharlieHornsby?

You can't get that by practicing methods, jazz riffs, studying transcriptions (of the Koln for ex), do that if you wan't but not for the purpose of inspiration and musicality. He was grateful for being expeled from Berklee for this reason, he would not have become the artist he has if he had stayed there (these are his words).

Jarrett himself has said he has never even practiced Jazz, at home he only practices classical (I don't know how honest that is but at most it is a bit exagerated).

What he says is that he gets technique from classical and inspiration by playing gigs with great musicians. He follows his own voice, has always done that and this is where he is.

This is my honest view, I am a young composer/pianist who was introduced to Jarrett's music after someone heard me playing 'spontaneous compositions' that reminded of Jerrett.
I don't play jazz in the traditional sense but everything I do is either classical or improvised. Every time I hear him play, even if his music is very different to what I do (and my talent is a hundredth fraction of his), I feel the inspiration comes from the same place.

...

I would recommend studying the WTC by BACH before any jazz riffs, that is divinely inspired music and will give you a lot of technique and material that will become part of your mind, hands and fingers.
If you have that technique and it is inspiration that you need, try improvising without any context, without any form, without any harmonic or rhythmic structure, not in any style , not in Jazz, connect to the moment, to music, to the sound that the instrument reflects. And try to play complete single independent pieces from start to finish, spontaneously and as unique as you possibly can. This is a practice and will grow over time, it can be like jazz, it can be like classical, it can be like Jarret or whomever, if that is where inspiration takes you.

""""""""
Interviewer: So even at home, you wouldn't sit down and improvise in a Mozart style?

KJ: No, I never feel the impulse. I looked at various cadenzas. When Mozart writes one, I usually use it. If there's no Mozart, I tend to be using Badura--Skoda.

TR: When I was listening to your "Book of Ways,"(clavichord improvisations) there were a number of pieces that were in a contrapuntal, perhaps baroque or early classical style. So I thought you were improvising in that style."

TR: Well, when sound takes me there, then it's not improvising in a style to me. It's the sound (and) how it relates to what I've heard maybe. It can turn into that especially if the instrument is so provocatively historical which, of course the clavichord is.

TR: So those were completely spontaneous? The sound inspired you to go in that direction?

KJ: Yeah, that whole recording was done in one afternoon and everything was a first take and nothing was coming from any pre--ordained thing. I had no material.



N.

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#1659300 - 04/13/11 03:31 AM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: Pournam]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
As KJ is one of my most inspirational and influential pianists who can play classical, jazz, rock, blues, you name it, he can do it. And he started playing when he was about 3-4 years old, discovered he had perfect pitch and developed a stupendous technique and a set of ears that can pick up the language in any style.

Keith was a child prodigy, that's a given, but he also put in endless hours studying and playing the piano constantly, plus recording and touring to perform concerts. He is just a natural. The same way that an artist can draw and paint like an Andrew Wyeth.

Listening to KJ, Bill Evans, Chick, Oscar P, Herbie H. Bud P, Ahmad Jamal is what keeps me going and studying to keep growing and learning.

katt

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#1659431 - 04/13/11 11:20 AM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
mikf Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 66
Loc: Texas
I read that recent study has shown that when people do an intense activity for a long time that requires a particular part of brain function, the brain actually allocates significantly more space to it. So a prodigy is a young person who initially shows some early aptitude and interest,and because they have that aptitude and interest they spend large amounts of time on it, and as a result the brain actually changes to make them even more adapted to it. This is why prodigies can appear almost superhuman in their ability - they actually become a little bit superhuman in the brain area that matters. The interesting thing is that it disappears if they stop working at it - ie the brain goes back to normal space allocation. They saw this in London taxi drivers - very ordinary guys whose brain developed large areas devoted to visual memory so they can pass the test known as the 'knowledge'. When they retired from taxi driving it changed back.
So people like KJ dont just work hard, they actually have a brain that has physically adapted to what they do. Cant compete with that!

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#1659445 - 04/13/11 11:40 AM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: Pournam]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Pournam,

While I can relate to some of your sentiments, In general I disagree with a lot of what you are saying. As far as I know, Pat Metheny still transcribes to this day, and I've seen videos where people like Oscar Peterson will his influences (Errol Garner, Nat King Cole ..etc) and play in their style.

The whole purpose of emulating someone isn't to be another clone, but to acquire the knowledge that comes with it (in this case, the language of jazz). It's the same reason classical composers study Bach, Beethoven..etc as starting point.

I am not sure if this is your intent, but it sounds somewhat contradicting when you tell people not to emulate other jazz masters, and yet recommend studying Bach's music.

Also There are plenty of great musicians that did graduate from Berklee and play incredibly well.

Ultimately everyone has different way to master this craft called jazz.

btw I am not against new age philosophy per se. I am just weary of the kind of New age philosophy that seem that preach easy answer and cliches. The kind of spirituality that KJ is into is much more deeper then that. There is a huge difference between the works of Gurdjieff and most of the new age self-help book that's out there.

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#1659544 - 04/13/11 01:55 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
Pournam Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 8
Yes, I agree. I had to run out the door and finished quickly to post.
I meant to say that, it's not wrong to study others style and music when it comes to Jazz, but it is a matter of balance or 'background/foreground'.
BACH is arguably the foundation of keyboard playing, one thing is to transcribe and play transcriptions of the great Jazz pianists, another is to study those riffs and licks that make all players sound alike. There is nothing wrong with this either, but know that this is what you'll get, if you practice riffs you will play riffs. Even if it's Jarrett riffs.
When I said foreground/background I'm referring to: what is in the core of your music, is it yourself or someone else's? It is a very subtle distinction, a question without a definitive answer. To flow from this core in a performance requires a practice of strengthening the connection to this core.

I'm not against Berklee or emulating per se, I agree with what you are saying.

These are matters that can't really be discussed effectively in a forum without spending a considerable amount of time.

And yes, the new age crap out there is... crap.

N.

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#1659565 - 04/13/11 02:42 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Yea, I agree that it's hard to talk about this over the forum..it's easy to misunderstand each other.

As far as figuring out whether something is yours or not.. the only thing I can do is ask whether I am being honest to myself. Sometimes emulating, taking someone's ideas is good, if you feel passionate about it and want it to make it your own. You may sound like you are copying first but you end up doing it your own ways anyways. I think it's a problem when you get this notion that it's what you are supposed to learn...and sometimes teachers do that if students don't have any sense of direction for themselves.

I think the problem with schools is that often times teachers forget to teach in context of the "core" or what music is really about. Part of it has to do with the fact that a lot of teachers don't play from "that place" either.. I think that's part of reason we have so many musicians with no voice of their own.

One thing I agree 100% is the amount of dedication you need to get there. Playing from that space is a lot easier said than done.


Edited by etcetra (04/13/11 02:43 PM)

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#1659575 - 04/13/11 03:04 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: etcetra]
Dara Online   blank
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: west coast island, canada
Originally Posted By: etcetra

As far as figuring out whether something is yours or not.. the only thing I can do is ask whether I am being honest to myself.

Okay, completely OT, but I just came across this 1 minute clip, and find it quite humorous.


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#1659583 - 04/13/11 03:31 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: Pournam]
beeboss Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1190
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: Pournam

Jarrett himself has said he has never even practiced Jazz, at home he only practices classical (I don't know how honest that is but at most it is a bit exaggerated).




I suspect he means that you can't practice jazz in the same way you can't practice having a conversation. Jazz is music that is created in the moment and you can't practice that, you can only do it.
Of course there's a lot of things you have to learn and that you can practice before you can play in the moment at a high standard. You have to learn tunes, sequences, technique, rhythm and so on, but learning those things isn't practicing jazz, rather these are skills that enable you to play jazz.
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#1659666 - 04/13/11 06:07 PM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
BTW, any Keith Jarrett fans who haven't heard his first record as leader," Life Between The Exits Signs" released about 1968. That record sounded modern for its time and to me, it still does. As I recall, all the tunes are Keith's originals. Here is an info link about the album: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Between_the_Exit_Signs and the amazon.com link:
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Between-Signs...0978&sr=1-2

Pick up the CD and add it to your KJ collection if you haven't already.

katt

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#1660003 - 04/14/11 10:52 AM Re: How Does Keith Jarrett Do it? [Re: charliehornsby]
Pournam Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 8
etcetra,
That is exactly what I am talking about, that core and the problem with education, and I agree with all of what you say about making something ones own. It requires some serious work, inner work and musical work.

And in the end, all we do is build upon the legacy of the masters. To not do so would be foolish.

That video is great!
N.

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