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#1717997 - 07/21/11 01:00 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
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Chops merely allow you to execute ideas. If you don't have them, then it looks like chops.
Tatum had monster chops, yet, all the notes were perfect. To this day, few have mastered the art of solo piano like Tatum did.
Sonny recorded stuff at over 400bpm. When he plays at 240, everything is so precise From the flow to the tone or the choice of notes and phrasing. His technique allows him to go far beyond what we mortal consider fast.

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#1718054 - 07/21/11 02:16 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Well I myself am not clear on audience vs. ones self. But how do you describe what happens when we play? How does my teacher say: "STOP! Make that idea stand out before you clutter it with the next one"?

I'd just say this is a contextual pedagogical tool, rather than a mantra to hold onto throughout one's playing career. If during your lessons you are still somehow trying to impress your teacher with 16th note runs or lengthy melodic ideas (despite your conscious mind telling you to do otherwise), then of course he'll have to step in and tell you when he's had enough of a given musical idea. Who's to say though that if you had 5 different jazz teachers listening to you at the same time that they wouldn't all look for different types/lengths of phrases?
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Maybe the answer is to listen to yourself like YOU are the audience.

...er, but what kind of audience? Teachers? Other musicians? Bar patrons?
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

When there are too many ideas flowing and it's not framed by space, and it's desensitized to your thinking of tension and release, I think one is playing with chops in mind and not musicality. I think if you are a true listener of someone else's playing, you'd know this.

I know that when I play that I gravitate towards strings of notes, and in many cases loooong strings of notes. However, I don't see them as strings as much as I do starting and ending pitches with connective material in between. The connective material can take on many different shapes, but always serves the purpose of supporting the phrase itself. Now, if one is listening to my playing and not able to follow where I'm trying to lead, then one of a number of things can be taking place, one of which may be the listener prefers shorter phrases, and tunes out anything long, or my long phrases are not as well constructed as I'd hoped them to be.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

I think this realization provides jjo's teacher with the logic saying "if you think there's enough space, give it even more."


I'm going to start calling you 'space man,' jw. smile

You have to understand that I have nothing against space, but I think I need far less of it than your teacher or you seem to gravitate towards.
One thing that I do though that does provide natural spaces is to sing my lines while playing. The natural breath mark makes me consider my lines like a wind player rather than a keyboard or string player. I'd still venture to say that my lines are longer than what may be preferred by some.
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#1718069 - 07/21/11 02:33 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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scep, I wish I execute what I have been told. But frankly I don't. So one day I would like to be "spaceman" but more concentration is required.

It isn't just about the space and I'm sure you know that. It's the knowing where to put it. I think it's as difficult as picking the notes.

In general, I find that we all gravitate to longer lines though I think we can all benefit from shortening them. Keith Jarrett does have the LONGEST lines but I would say he's one of the few that can get away with it.

When I watched Wayne Shorter live, he's one who was NOT afraid of space. Frankly, it made an impression on me. But I'm still afraid of the space, especially when playing in public.

Now admit it: You're afraid of space! smile Can't be Astronauts....
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#1718071 - 07/21/11 02:36 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: scepticalforumguy]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: scepticalforumguy
Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Well I myself am not clear on audience vs. ones self. But how do you describe what happens when we play? How does my teacher say: "STOP! Make that idea stand out before you clutter it with the next one"?

I'd just say this is a contextual pedagogical tool, rather than a mantra to hold onto throughout one's playing career. If during your lessons you are still somehow trying to impress your teacher with 16th note runs or lengthy melodic ideas (despite your conscious mind telling you to do otherwise), then of course he'll have to step in and tell you when he's had enough of a given musical idea. Who's to say though that if you had 5 different jazz teachers listening to you at the same time that they wouldn't all look for different types/lengths of phrases?


Well obviously it's a pedagogical tool. His point is that I wasn't listening. I was just playing blindly. And I bet he can find those moments to cut you off too. It's a universal problem and it's what separates us mortals from the immortal.
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#1718078 - 07/21/11 02:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: knotty
Chops merely allow you to execute ideas. If you don't have them, then it looks like chops.
Tatum had monster chops, yet, all the notes were perfect. To this day, few have mastered the art of solo piano like Tatum did.
Sonny recorded stuff at over 400bpm. When he plays at 240, everything is so precise From the flow to the tone or the choice of notes and phrasing. His technique allows him to go far beyond what we mortal consider fast.



Just to be clear -- my point was that we're enamored by chops but losing track of musicality. This is a general observation among jazz players and enthusiasts. It's what gets Eldar and Hiromi the attention.

One may have the chops to play at 400 but where is ones ear's BPM level at for creating melodic lines? For most of us, it is lower than we think.

We're not playing classical here after all. We're supposed to be composing in real time.

For the masters, obviously their brain is superfast.
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#1718079 - 07/21/11 02:45 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Online   content
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Beeboss, I agree that the notes themselves are not the most important as long as they are the correct ones. But it does take some thinking to phrase it, doesn't it?


The brain controls the fingers so if you want to call the thing the brain does as 'thinking' then yes it does. Just as when we talk we are 'thinking' of conjugating verbs. I think a lot of it is subconscious thinking, but I can't see it matters how you label it.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

It is funny to think that in most cases, we only have as few as 5 or 6 note choices at every given harmonic moment and yet there seems to be an infinite way of organizing them in a phrase.


You can choose any of your 88 notes at any moment, why not? But even if you choose from 5 notes then the possibilities stack up very fast 5x5x5x5 etc

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

What my teacher has suggested to me is that by playing less (more space), the melodic structure shows itself.
The way he's demonstrated it to me is that when he feels that I've stated something melodically, he forces me to stop playing to make it stand out. It's one of the most valuable lessons I've learned because it shows I wasn't even listening to what I was playing.


Learning to really listen is the greatest skill and one we never reach the end of. But yes crowding the melody does stop it singing out. And filling in with too many ideas can lessen the value of each one.
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#1718106 - 07/21/11 03:14 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Interesting point you make Beeboss -- does Jarrett bring consciousness to developing those melodies in real time? Or is he doing it subconciously?

If subconscious then he's regurgitating patterns.

He does say in his interview though that he tries to be conscious that he play differently so maybe it's an effort to override the subconscious all the time.

Clearly, I don't dedicate as much energy anymore to developing melodies as when I first started so perhaps our subconscious already has an idea of the what a "melodic structure" is.

Obviously it would be impossible to distinguish between what the conscious and subconscious split among themselves but it is food for thought.

If we only understood it more, perhaps we can improve upon it.
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#1718171 - 07/21/11 04:42 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Online   content
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Interesting point you make Beeboss -- does Jarrett bring consciousness to developing those melodies in real time? Or is he doing it subconciously?

If subconscious then he's regurgitating patterns.


Hmm, maybe the subconscious is creative, you know like when you wake up and have the answer to a question that has evaded you previously. But, as I said before, I think everything is a pattern regardless if it is conscious or unconscious. The only difference with fast 'licks' is they are more obviously patterns. The subconscious and conscious kind of work together but we are only aware of the conscious parts.
Try this …. just let your mind go blank and start playing notes, any notes. Don't try to control them, just let any ones come out. Now are these subconscious patterns on conscious melodies?
(btw I think this is a powerful exercise)

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Clearly, I don't dedicate as much energy anymore to developing melodies as when I first started so perhaps our subconscious already has an idea of the what a "melodic structure" is.


I am sure that is right, like when you speak you don't have to use much conscious energy searching for the right grammatical constructions. Consciously you think about what you are trying to say and not so much about how you are saying it. That all takes place behind the scenes. It's not so easy when you try to learn a new language.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

If we only understood it more, perhaps we can improve upon it.



I hope.
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#1718264 - 07/21/11 07:00 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
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If the subconscious is more in control than I previously thought, then now I understand why studying licks can be extremely useful. In theory, the subconscious can parse pieces of these licks and try to apply it automatically.

It would also mean that I'm understanding this mind process incorrectly. Learning about space/phrasing would be about memorizing styles of phrasing that has previously worked.

Lots of listening during practice but it would lessen the importance of listening during performance. Hmmmm...

This is interesting because Kenny Werner, in his book, focuses on passing the buck onto the subconscious and the conscious mind is but an audience member that does not interfere. Supposedly, it is the questioning of the conscious mind/ego that disrupts the flow.
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#1718299 - 07/21/11 08:13 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Online   content
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Registered: 07/18/09
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Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

If the subconscious is more in control than I previously thought, then now I understand why studying licks can be extremely useful. In theory, the subconscious can parse pieces of these licks and try to apply it automatically.


I am not sure the subconscious is in control but it certainly plays an important role in turning our conscious ideas into a reality. Hopefully as we get better and better we can offload more and more to the subconscious so the conscious mind can just be involved in the high level planning stuff and not bothered about all the complicated nitty gritty which can then be taken care of without conscious effort.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

It would also mean that I'm understanding this mind process incorrectly. Learning about space/phrasing would be about memorizing styles of phrasing that has previously worked.


I think memorisation is important because it is only through memorization that the material is really internalised. But also we can memorise things in a more abstract way through absorption - listening closely to music is always time well spent! Even reading about music or just imagining it can be useful.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Lots of listening during practice but it would lessen the importance of listening during performance. Hmmmm...


Listening is vital in performance. How can you react and communicate with the other musicians if you are not acutely aware of what is happening at each moment? Maybe it is a different sort of listening than during practice, that is why recording yourself is such a good idea so you can evaluate every small detail which is pretty difficult to do when actually performing.

Originally Posted By: jazzwee

This is interesting because Kenny Werner, in his book, focuses on passing the buck onto the subconscious and the conscious mind is but an audience member that does not interfere. Supposedly, it is the questioning of the conscious mind/ego that disrupts the flow.


I guess we need to minimise the kind of conscious thoughts that affect our playing badly and I think this is done through total focus on the important things. It is much easier said than done though.
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#1718451 - 07/22/11 01:34 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Loc: So. California
Beeboss, you are a font of knowledge. thumb I have to say you gave me a lot of food for thought here. It shows too that it is difficult to understand the processes that make us jazz musicians. It just seems to happen. smile

Scep, I almost forgot about Very Early -- glad to know you're still attacking that. I gave it a try today and I think it actually sank in even in absence. I may give it a go too.

Now I am playing Naima again at my gig this weekend so perhaps now I will get a recording.
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#1718490 - 07/22/11 04:39 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Wow, I step out into the woods of West Sweden (no Internet, no cell phone towers, just 45 cows, 3 goats and a whole bunch of trees) for some vacation time and you guys are deep in discussion mode.

I'm also +1 on letting the subconscious rule, or rather letting it 'go'. But without muscular support, finger-brain co-ordination, emotional response - practise practise practise it would have nothing to work with.

Check out these two vids, its from research at John Hopkins. "It appears, they conclude, that jazz musicians create their unique improvised riffs by turning off inhibition and turning up creativity."

"The scientists found that a region of the brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a broad portion of the front of the brain that extends to the sides, showed a slowdown in activity during improvisation. This area has been linked to planned actions and self-censoring, such as carefully deciding what words you might say at a job interview. Shutting down this area could lead to lowered inhibitions, Limb suggests.

The researchers also saw increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which sits in the center of the brain’s frontal lobe. This area has been linked with self-expression and activities that convey individuality, such as telling a story about yourself."
Text version from John Hopkins web site

Short interview with Charles Limb


And the longer version from TED (this is the real stuff)
Charles Limb's talk at TED: "Your Brain on Improv

Interview on TED's web site (text)


Edited by chrisbell (07/22/11 04:50 AM)
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#1718501 - 07/22/11 05:42 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Online   content
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Originally Posted By: jazzwee
Beeboss, you are a font of knowledge. thumb I have to say you gave me a lot of food for thought here. It shows too that it is difficult to understand the processes that make us jazz musicians. It just seems to happen. smile


JW, I don't know much, just enough to know that there is lots that I don't know ;-)



Thanks for that link Chris, it is interesting stuff. I don't know how it can actually help us to improvise but it is interesting to have some ideas about what happens inside the brain.
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#1718509 - 07/22/11 06:21 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
chrisbell Offline
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Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1368
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: beeboss
Thanks for that link Chris, it is interesting stuff. I don't know how it can actually help us to improvise but it is interesting to have some ideas about what happens inside the brain.

No it doesn't help us in improvising . but it does show on a scientific level that the old adage "just do it" is valid.

I spent the whole spring attending once-a-month, 4 hour long lectures at Uppsala Unversity. The subject was different aspects of Music Psychology. At one of the lectures, the Professor pointed out that due to the nature of improvisation it makes it an incredible difficult area to do research into - and one of the reasons is what Charles Limb's research shows. We can't say what goes on because that part of the brain is turned off. I guess that's why we - as pattern focused beings - feel such a need to talk about this illusive and arcane skill set that we want to develop. And the reason why we buy all these books on patterns and scales, etc - we want an answer and we want it now! smile
But the answer is in the performance itself.

(the lectures were really really interesting. they went into the nature of swing, why pre-adolescents stop practising, what is 'good' music - or rather, what is it in the quality of the performance the we perceive as GOOD. Lectures on "can music convey emotions and how does the music, performer do that". )
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#1718536 - 07/22/11 08:29 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
beeboss Online   content
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Originally Posted By: chrisbell

We can't say what goes on because that part of the brain is turned off. I guess that's why we - as pattern focused beings - feel such a need to talk about this illusive and arcane skill set that we want to develop. And the reason why we buy all these books on patterns and scales, etc - we want an answer and we want it now!
But the answer is in the performance itself.


Definitely

Originally Posted By: chrisbell

the lectures were really really interesting. they went into the nature of swing, why pre-adolescents stop practising, what is 'good' music - or rather, what is it in the quality of the performance the we perceive as GOOD. Lectures on "can music convey emotions and how does the music, performer do that"


Fascinating stuff but very difficult to come to any real conclusions. I tend to the view that music doesn't convey emotion but rather that characteristics in the music enable the listener to make their own emotional response. But who knows.
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#1718561 - 07/22/11 09:44 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jjo Online   content
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Here's another perspective on leaving space in solos that I got from an ensemble teacher at the recent jazz camp I attended. You need to leave space so that other band members can react to what you're doing, and throw you ideas. If you don't leave space, the interraction is much less likely to happen. He also pointed out that when you leave space and band members begin to trade ideas, the whole band gets tighter. I've always been taught that a jazz group is a conversation, but I'd never heard the suggestion that leaving space benefits the interractions, not just your solo (which should never really be viewed separately from the band, anyway).

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#1718568 - 07/22/11 09:55 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
chrisbell Offline
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Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Originally Posted By: beeboss
Originally Posted By: chrisbell

the lectures were really really interesting. they went into the nature of swing, why pre-adolescents stop practising, what is 'good' music - or rather, what is it in the quality of the performance the we perceive as GOOD. Lectures on "can music convey emotions and how does the music, performer do that"
Fascinating stuff but very difficult to come to any real conclusions. I tend to the view that music doesn't convey emotion but rather that characteristics in the music enable the listener to make their own emotional response. But who knows.


Well, a 'good' thing about scientific research is that it is verifiable and evidence based.
Fancy words . . smile
And current research shows that music can convey emotion, and it is amongst the same emotions that are universal: happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger . . .
Also, there's research into how to convey those emotions visavi performing music.

It's a three part prong: the music itself, how it is performed and how a listener perceives it.

What's interesting is that this "stuff" works even if the listener or the performer does not have any music training. Follow the rules and it works.

These 'rules' are what Miles, Parker, Bach, Mozart, Chopin et consortes know either by training or by instinctive, intuitive listening.
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#1718600 - 07/22/11 11:07 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
beeboss Online   content
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Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: chrisbell

And current research shows that music can convey emotion, and it is amongst the same emotions that are universal: happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger . . .
Also, there's research into how to convey those emotions visavi performing music.



Hmm, well technically I don't think that is TRANSMITTING emotion, rather as a performer/composer you can create an effect that causes surprise or anger in the listener. The composer isn't 'surprised' as the technique for causing surprise in the listener is thought out.

Sure a performer feels emotion (or can 'act' emotion well) and the listener has an emotional reaction but I don't think that science has shown that the emotion is present in the music itself. Emotion is something that exists only in the human brain.
Also the listeners reaction may have nothing whatsoever to do with the content of the piece itself. Every time I hear 'i should be so lucky' by Kylie I have pain, but that is not in the tune itself, rather it is a reaction caused by my (individual) response to that dreadful music.
I don't mean to go off on a philosophical tangent it's just that I am reading some rather interesting stuff on semiotics and postmodernism at the moment so it is near the surface of my thoughts.

Originally Posted By: chrisbell


It's a three part prong: the music itself, how it is performed and how a listener perceives it.


Yeah, you need all 3 parts.

Originally Posted By: chrisbell


What's interesting is that this "stuff" works even if the listener or the performer does not have any music training. Follow the rules and it works.


We are all equipped with relatively similar perceptive apparatus so it is not surprising that we all respond in relatively similar ways, that is if can be shown scientifically that we do.
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#1718602 - 07/22/11 11:08 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jjo]
beeboss Online   content
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Registered: 07/18/09
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Originally Posted By: jjo
Here's another perspective on leaving space in solos that I got from an ensemble teacher at the recent jazz camp I attended. You need to leave space so that other band members can react to what you're doing, and throw you ideas. If you don't leave space, the interraction is much less likely to happen. He also pointed out that when you leave space and band members begin to trade ideas, the whole band gets tighter. I've always been taught that a jazz group is a conversation, but I'd never heard the suggestion that leaving space benefits the interractions, not just your solo (which should never really be viewed separately from the band, anyway).


Definitely right I think
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#1718613 - 07/22/11 11:26 AM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jjo]
knotty Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
Originally Posted By: jjo
Here's another perspective on leaving space in solos that I got from an ensemble teacher at the recent jazz camp I attended. You need to leave space so that other band members can react to what you're doing, and throw you ideas. If you don't leave space, the interraction is much less likely to happen. He also pointed out that when you leave space and band members begin to trade ideas, the whole band gets tighter. I've always been taught that a jazz group is a conversation, but I'd never heard the suggestion that leaving space benefits the interractions, not just your solo (which should never really be viewed separately from the band, anyway).

and repetition, melodic, harmonic and rhythmic.

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#1718667 - 07/22/11 12:32 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: knotty]
jjo Online   content
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Interesting. What you're suggesting, Knotty, I gather is that repeating an idea, be it rhythmic, melodic, etc., is another way of encouraging band members to react because repetition makes its easier to pick up on what the soloist is doing. I like it.

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#1718684 - 07/22/11 12:59 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
knotty Offline
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yeah. As accompanist, melodically, we are usually the ones who need to follow. Listen and compliment.
Harmonically also, it's out job to hear where things are going, but we can also drive, especially the bass players.
Rhythmically, we can exchange, react, or drive with all band members. Establishing some kind of logic in your rhythms, helps people connect. If you comp on one for a good amount of time, you leave a lot of freedom for your drummer. If you start making fancy rhythms, then he's gotta follow you.

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#1718713 - 07/22/11 01:41 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jjo]
scepticalforumguy Offline
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Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 1475
Loc: Lower Mainland, BC
Originally Posted By: jjo
... You need to leave space so that other band members can react to what you're doing, and throw you ideas. If you don't leave space, the interraction is much less likely to happen...


Yes, this is a very good thing to consider. There's nothing worse IMHO backing a horn player who has no idea how to interact with the rhythm section. I think the nature of young horn players is to believe somehow that they are the focus and the others in the band are supporting members.
So, not only space needs to be considered, but also listening in the those spaces to see where the band may be leading you.

In my recent trio I've been trying to work with getting the bassist and drummer to work more on listening to each other (and to me) in order to have more musical interplay in the songs. One problem I've encountered that is pretty hard to get over is when one or both members don't know the tune enough to keep their eyes off the page or keep their ears open to hear how others are treating the musical ideas.
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#1718741 - 07/22/11 02:22 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Good tip there jjo!

I've been fortunate to have a very experienced rhythm section so my bassist and drummer constantly interact and I interact with them.

I'm not at the point yet where I'm leading the direction. In a way I'm at their mercy rhythmically since they'll change on me from swing to latin to funk. But rhythmically, it's really for them to control and for me to lay out the harmonic foundation. I have to state in advance what I want them to do (like tell them to freely change the feel).

But for interaction to occur, it's probably where the conscious mind has to be fully involved.

At our jam sessions, it's frustrating because many players don't even look up around them. I've now developed the habit of assuming I'm leading so I'm always looking around for clues.
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#1718743 - 07/22/11 02:29 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: beeboss]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: beeboss
Originally Posted By: chrisbell

And current research shows that music can convey emotion, and it is amongst the same emotions that are universal: happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger . . .
Also, there's research into how to convey those emotions visavi performing music.



Hmm, well technically I don't think that is TRANSMITTING emotion, rather as a performer/composer you can create an effect that causes surprise or anger in the listener. The composer isn't 'surprised' as the technique for causing surprise in the listener is thought out.

Sure a performer feels emotion (or can 'act' emotion well) and the listener has an emotional reaction but I don't think that science has shown that the emotion is present in the music itself. Emotion is something that exists only in the human brain.
Also the listeners reaction may have nothing whatsoever to do with the content of the piece itself. Every time I hear 'i should be so lucky' by Kylie I have pain, but that is not in the tune itself, rather it is a reaction caused by my (individual) response to that dreadful music.
I don't mean to go off on a philosophical tangent it's just that I am reading some rather interesting stuff on semiotics and postmodernism at the moment so it is near the surface of my thoughts.



+1

Plenty of threads in the pianist corner where they are SO EMOTIONAL and they need the EMOTIONAL MATURITY to play.

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking as you do.

If anything, it's us jazz players that have more stake in the emotion because we're the ones creating new music, not just regurgitating someone else's. Yet we come out as cold SOB's because we don't need emotion to play. Just PRACTICE smile
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#1718747 - 07/22/11 02:34 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: chrisbell]
jazzwee Offline
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Originally Posted By: chrisbell
Wow, I step out into the woods of West Sweden (no Internet, no cell phone towers, just 45 cows, 3 goats and a whole bunch of trees) for some vacation time and you guys are deep in discussion mode.

I'm also +1 on letting the subconscious rule, or rather letting it 'go'. But without muscular support, finger-brain co-ordination, emotional response - practise practise practise it would have nothing to work with.

Check out these two vids, its from research at John Hopkins. "It appears, they conclude, that jazz musicians create their unique improvised riffs by turning off inhibition and turning up creativity."

"The scientists found that a region of the brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a broad portion of the front of the brain that extends to the sides, showed a slowdown in activity during improvisation. This area has been linked to planned actions and self-censoring, such as carefully deciding what words you might say at a job interview. Shutting down this area could lead to lowered inhibitions, Limb suggests.

The researchers also saw increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which sits in the center of the brain’s frontal lobe. This area has been linked with self-expression and activities that convey individuality, such as telling a story about yourself."
Text version from John Hopkins web site

Short interview with Charles Limb


And the longer version from TED (this is the real stuff)
Charles Limb's talk at TED: "Your Brain on Improv

Interview on TED's web site (text)


Very interesting Chris! So is this equivalent to saying the subconscious takes over? If so, how does it create? Is it random mixing of what we already know?

When we listen to/create melodies, it seems so consciously constructed that the conscious mind has to be involved. Perhaps just the inhibitory responses removed.
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#1718775 - 07/22/11 03:14 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
Scott Coletta Offline
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Registered: 01/07/11
Posts: 514
Loc: Chicago
Here's something I think might be somewhat in line with the conscious/subconscious issue... at least some parts. Even if not it seems interesting. It was recommended to me by another forum member:

http://howmusicreallyworks.com/Index.html

You can read the first 6 chapters online for free.

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#1718805 - 07/22/11 03:55 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
beeboss Online   content
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Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 1213
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: jazzwee

Very interesting Chris! So is this equivalent to saying the subconscious takes over? If so, how does it create? Is it random mixing of what we already know?


The scientist answers this question exactly on that video
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/charles_limb_your_brain_on_improv.html
He says "We know very little about how the brain is creative ....I am not going to give you many answers"


Originally Posted By: jazzwee


When we listen to/create melodies, it seems so consciously constructed that the conscious mind has to be involved. Perhaps just the inhibitory responses removed.


Sure the conscious mind is involved, but the subconscious mind is also involved. I expect dozens of brain areas are involved.
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#1718829 - 07/22/11 04:37 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
KlinkKlonk Offline
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Registered: 05/19/09
Posts: 365
It would be interesting to see the scientist explain internal hearing. I've heard many many conflicting reports of how this works. Many seem to regard the state where you prehear every phrase as desireable? Then how is that improvising? I assume you'd only be able to play phrases you practiced intensivly and play them verbatim. How does that fit in with split second descions during interplay? And what you previously played has to be taken into consideration. This is what I regard as prehearing: that you know what will come next based on what you already played. But I certainly don't hear every phrase before I play it. And I dont think I want to.

Is that guy in the vid even improvising? Sounds like some unfocused noodling on the blues scale...

How do we know every persons brain behaves the same way during improvisation?


Edited by KlinkKlonk (07/22/11 04:42 PM)

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#1718832 - 07/22/11 04:43 PM Re: Jazz Study Group 2: Intermediate/Advanced Players [Re: jazzwee]
jazzwee Offline
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Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7096
Loc: So. California
I guess what we're all looking for is some insight in how this might change our practice strategy.

I think there are definitely some things that are mostly offloaded to the subconscious -- rhythm (except when changing it), voicings, form, technique.

At least from the perspective of a newer player, I realize that the more I've offloaded to the subconscious, the more time I seem to have to pay attention to other things like listening. And this seems to grow.

Although the video doesn't explain anything, it just shows that different brain development may be required for better improvising. Maybe that's why it comes easier to some than others.
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