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#1983872 - 11/07/12 06:34 PM When have you gone too far?
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
A couple of recent posts, one on the Composers’ Forum, and the other one here, got me thinking about EXTREMES.

In the case of the Composers’ Forum, a teacher has attempted to write a very simple little blues, to help expose his beginning students to “jazz”. Unfortunately, as written, the piece is so very repetitious and bland that it misses the mark - unfortunately.

At the other end of the jazz spectrum, Norman Cotterell has just posted a link, on this Forum, to a YouTube tutorial, on which he will be working. It is presented by Michael Wolff, and I have lifted from Norm’s post (with due thanks!)



Mr. Wolff’s subject is the enhancement, or extension, of basic harmonies. If you have a look/listen to the tutorial, Mr. Wolff’s Third “system” of harmonic enhancement involves bi-chords, and/or tri-chords. He starts out with superimposing a Dm over a Cm7, which I can wrap my ears around if I think of it as a Cm11(#13). After a couple similar examples, he then sort of implies that virtually ANY chord can be superimposed over any other chord, and gives examples including F#7 over a Cm7. This is where my ears, and my head, begin to really hurt!

Thinking back to Dave Frank's expert Master Class on playing Outside the Changes, because of the way his improvisations were handled, there was no sense of chaos, as there is in Mr. Wolff's video.

Finally, to my philosophical questions:
>> Is there such a thing as “going too far out”?
>> If there is such a thing, how do YOU know when you have gone too far?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1983910 - 11/07/12 09:01 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
It's a personal thing bubbie..if you think it has gone too far, you're right..if somebody doesn't think it has gone too far, they are also right..

DF

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#1983926 - 11/07/12 10:16 PM When have you gone too far? [Re: davefrank]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi Dave,

I thought you might jump on this topic, and I am really glad you did. Appreciating your thoughts so far, I am trying to get at something a little deeper than simply personal taste.

As an example, for me, there is a nice, comfortable harmonic and melodic area, where everything I hear (or play) makes sense. It is grounded in the original tune, or in the harmony.

Then there is an area that becomes increasingly "grey", and less familiar to my ear, and to my understanding. We are on less firm ground. Some of the most exciting stuff I hear, and sometimes play, is in this grey area. For me, there is a sense of increased "danger" and heightened risk, and this is probably part of the excitement.

And then there is an area beyond the grey, where (at least to my ears, and understanding) stuff becomes chaotic. The grounding is not only shaky - it is MISSING. There are no discernable threads, other than the cycle of the 16 or 32 bars, to get me back home.

Returning to your comments, can you sort of describe what tells you, personally, when you are about to venture out on a limb that will not hold the melodic or harmonic weight?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1983930 - 11/07/12 10:22 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
davefrank Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/09
Posts: 672
For me, the music has to mean something. It's the effect than determines the rightness of the cause. I have a Charles Ives class going up within a few days that goes deep into this kinda thing. Everything is cool if it means something, overly chaotic can work or not depending on it's placement and the relationship with other things that have happened or will happen.

If something sound like [censored], it's [censored].

DF

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#1983939 - 11/07/12 10:53 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: davefrank]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Thanks, Dave. Now we are getting down to it!

Originally Posted By: davefrank
For me, the music has to mean something. It's the effect than determines the rightness of the cause.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1984186 - 11/08/12 02:00 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
I get no kicks from modern jazz
Those cats play it too darn fast
They lose the sound of the melody
Until it sounds like a symphony

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#1984297 - 11/08/12 06:28 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
I had a look at the video, I can't imagine anything there making your head hurt, doesn't seem on a limb at all. Perfectly accesible to my ear.

However, one thing get's my goat: Autumn Leaves. I just can't stomach the optimistic character that jazz players have given it for decades. The original name of the song is Dead Leaves, and it is so melancholic:

At that time life was more beautiful
And the sun burned more strongly than today

The sea erases in the sand
The footprints of separated lovers



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#1984412 - 11/08/12 11:29 PM When have you gone too far? [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
landorrano,

I cannot tell if you are being facetious here or not:
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I had a look at the video, I can't imagine anything there making your head hurt, doesn't seem on a limb at all. Perfectly accesible to my ear.

If you actually listened all the way though to the end, and actually found all of it perfectly accessible, then I guess I need to dig out my old Cecil Taylor recordings and give my ears a good stretch!

Several years ago, when I was doing a lot of writing, I spent a huge amount of my time and energy on what I called “controlling” dissonance. I felt then, and still do, that one has to have at least a “thread” that s/he can trace back to something that is familiar. So, no matter how many polyphonic voices were competing, in however many shifting tonal centers, an astute listener could always say, “Yes, this is where that came from.”
And if the textures got too “thick”, verging on chaotic, one still had the sense that this grew organically out of all those familiar “threads”. (Not explaining it well, I know.)

Anyway, I do not get that sense once Mr. Wolff starts improvising over two superimposed, but completely unrelated, chords.

That is a beautiful rendition of Dead Autumn Leaves you posted. I love the change of phrasing asked for by the French vowels. Are you familiar with the English translation - also very melancholy?

The autumn leaves drift by my window,
The falling leaves of red and gold.
I think of you, and summer gladness,
Of sunburnt hands I used to hold
. . . . . .
Now the days grow short, the sun is cold,
And soon I’ll hear Old Winter’s song.
But I miss you most of all, my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.


(Doing it from memory, and may have a few words out of place.)
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1984510 - 11/09/12 06:45 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: landorrano]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I get no kicks from modern jazz
Those cats play it too darn fast
They lose the sound of the melody
Until it sounds like a symphony

Have you listened for the harmony as well? In the work in question, do you hear the superimposed chords that make LoPresti's head hurt?

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#1984518 - 11/09/12 07:20 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
I seldom post in non-classical, esp. jazz, topics, which does not stop me from reading. The reason is that my ear is not developed in that direction. To appreciate music one must have some understanding or feel, otherwise it "washes by". What I have in common with Landorrano is a background in Solfege, being able to sing a melody accordingly, and to then play what I hear in this melodic manner. It helps me navigate easily along the original Feuilles mortes that was posted, and appreciate the sung melody, and underlying easily understandable harmony. And yes, it is beautiful.

In regards to mood - I find that there is a juxtaposition of two moods, one of them being positive and happier, and it is this one that the jazz version seems to take off on more. There is an obvious reason for two moods - nostalgia for the past which was happy - so we have to have "happy" in there. Even the sadness of these times being in the past is "tainted with a happiness" of the happy memory.

I became curious about the jazz version, Autumn Leaves, and found this:


and this

I can recognize the original melody easily in the Miles Davis version, but can also catch it drifting out in the John Coltrane (which btw gives quite a tinge of sadness to my ear). No, I cannot "follow" it as I can the original melody. It might be "too fast" in the way a normal conversation in Amharic would be too fast since I only know 4 words in that language, while in English it would not be so. But also, if a group of engineers, scientists, or programmers were to begin jostling around ideas in their field creatively, could I follow? Should they always speak only in baby terms so that I can understand?

What I hear in these jazz versions of Autumn Leaves is playful creation around a main theme. It sounds like fun, and something I would love to be able to do some day. I can appreciate it at that level. I can also hear something cohesive and structured which binds it together.

And oddly at this point I seem to have arrived at Ed's original question. Because I suspect that something cohesive needs to be there, so that music is not complicated for the sake of complication.

On a total tangent now - I have recently discovered the chef Gordon Ramsay, which is odd since I don't like cooking. A surprising number of musicians seem to be into fine cooking, and I think there are some similarities between the two arts. In particular, I'm watching Ramsay's forays into "kitchens that are in trouble". If I could summarize his diagnoses, it would be something like: not cohesive, not real, doesn't work together, pretentious (fancy for the sake of being fancy). The cook did not taste his food, and forgot that he is feeding people. Does this apply to music? Must it still have substance and work together, and if it is fancy or fanciful, must there also be something else?

(goes off to hide somewhere)

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#1984603 - 11/09/12 11:31 AM When have you gone too far? [Re: keystring]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Hi KeyString,

Thanks for joining in our little discussion with one of your very insightful, and well thought-out contributions. I know it is a stretch for you to be dipping into jazz, but the exceptional ear of yours serves you well! As I recall, you were doing some listening to Vince Guaraldi , and that can only help.

Speaking of “ears”, do not despair about not following that YouTube, deceptively named “Autumn Leaves – John Coltrane”. Once the initial piano chorus is over, they are no longer playing that tune, but have moved on to “What’s New” I believe, never to return.

Anyway, I loved the Miles’ rendition, AND that classy series of graphics. His style of “cool” does perfect justice to the melancholy theme.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1984657 - 11/09/12 01:29 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Hi KeyString,

Thanks for joining in our little discussion with one of your very insightful, and well thought-out contributions. I know it is a stretch for you to be dipping into jazz, but the exceptional ear of yours serves you well! As I recall, you were doing some listening to Vince Guaraldi , and that can only help.


+1! You beat me to it, Ed.

But, I have to ask, what the heck did the mythic coach of the Green Bay Packers record?


Edited by landorrano (11/09/12 01:30 PM)

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#1984659 - 11/09/12 01:41 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
By the way, yes of course I listened to the first video to the end. I kept saying, "ah, it's here that's it's going to get 'far out'" ... and then the video ended!

I know one fellow, he heard a recording of Thelonius Monk and he had to get up and leave the room, squinting his eyes in pain it sounded so discordant to him.

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#1984672 - 11/09/12 02:18 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11851
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
.. As I recall, you were doing some listening to Vince Guaraldi , and that can only help.

Playing, in fact. Playing, even more than listening, seems to do it for me as far as hearing is concerned.
Quote:

Speaking of “ears”, do not despair about not following that YouTube, deceptively named “Autumn Leaves – John Coltrane”. Once the initial piano chorus is over, they are no longer playing that tune, but have moved on to “What’s New” I believe, never to return.

Yes, I realized that later when I read the comments. It says a bit about how far these ears have to travel. blush But the piano intro is indeed Autumn Leaves.
Quote:

Anyway, I loved the Miles’ rendition, AND that classy series of graphics. His style of “cool” does perfect justice to the melancholy theme.

Yes, indeed.

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#1984686 - 11/09/12 02:54 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
Norman Cotterell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/06
Posts: 141
Loc: Elkins Park, PA
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
1. Is there such a thing as “going too far out”?
2. If there is such a thing, how do YOU know when you have gone too far?

1. Yes
2. When your ears and head hurt

This is quite a conversation. I even forwarded it to my piano teacher. I posted the following story elsewhere, but it seems relevant:

Originally Posted By: Norman Cotterell
35 years ago, I attended a concert featuring the compositions of a kindly, warm, gentle, wonderful professor with a reputation for brilliance, and whose students I served in the music library where I worked. He was a pioneer of modern and electronic music; he even taught Stephen Sondheim.

I attended with great anticipation.

I left with a headache.


I listened to the same piece recently, Babbit's Philomel, and I heard it with new ears (and at a softer volume). I was able to experience its beauty. Robert Greenberg defines music as "sound ordered by time" or as "time ordered by sound" Sometimes the sounds may approach cacophony, the order may be incomprehensible, and the rhythm painful...

...for me, at this point in my life.

But later, when I pull myself up, face my fears, and wholly experience the shock of the new, what was once chaotic may become clear.

I see it in full context, and it becomes meaningful, organized, cohesive -- the very substance of life.


That being said, Part II of Wolff's video goes totally "far out" with chromatics. I'm curious what my teacher will say about it.

_________________________
Every disease is a musical problem. Its cure, a musical solution. -- Novalis

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#1984695 - 11/09/12 03:25 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: landorrano
But, I have to ask, what the heck did the mythic coach of the Green Bay Packers record?

Go easy, landorrano, my sides are aching again!

Now if we can get Norm to contribute one of his lusty limericks, we'll be rolling on the floor.
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1985571 - 11/12/12 12:14 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I am in agreement with Dave here. For me what matters the most is whether the music is trying to communicate something. The problem with outside playing is that too many people are trying to do it as a form of intellectual accomplishment, it sounds like they are trying to do something for the sake of saying "look I can do this", but it doesn't sound like it's trying to communicate anything musically/emotionally.

I recently went back to listening Sonny Rollon's & Paul Bley's solo on All the things you are. when i first heard it, I thought it was nonsense, but I've grown to appreciate over time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPLzROy7-Q4
It starts around 3:10

When I hear Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins or Paul Bley play, I know they are coming from this deep desire to challenge the convention of music at the time and forge a new musical path for themselves, and that soul-searching really comes through. Maybe that's what's missing in a lot of outside playing.


Personally I feel like I enjoy music better when I am able to let go of my preconception of what good music is "supposed to be", and appreciate each music on it's own right. I felt like those preconceptions made me miss out on a lot of good things in the past.

EDIT:Here's a link to Aaron Parks writing about the importance of Paul Bley's solo for him. You'll have to scroll down, but it's the first review on the page.

http://www.jazz.com/dozens/the-dozens-aaron-parks-selects-12-essential-paul-bley-tracks



Edited by etcetra (11/12/12 12:55 AM)

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#1985866 - 11/12/12 08:05 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Etcetra,

I typically love Sonny Rollins, but that link you posted must have been from his "Sun Ra Period".

I am sorry, but in the playing starting around the 3:10 mark, I simply can not find any "threads of reference" that take my ear back to the original tune, or its harmonies. For my taste, everything has stepped too far away from the original, and has stayed there.

I have a feeling that if each of these soli had started with more common references to the original tune, and then had GRADUALLY ventured further and further outside, that would offer a nice build-up of tension. As it is, by the time the piano has completed one-half a chorus, I have lost track, and consequently lost interest. And the subsequent tenor solo might as well have been a kid trying to adjust his reed - UNSUCCESSFULLY.

Originally Posted By: etcetra
For me what matters the most is whether the music is trying to communicate something.

I suppose what is missing in the equation, at least for me, is whether the communication of which you write is complete.

To my (obviously deficient) ear, this, like Admiral Byrd, was an exploration that has gone bad.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1985881 - 11/12/12 08:41 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
LoPresti

I understand the notion that song/improvisation should somehow adhere to the original song/form.. but have you ever thought that maybe that belief/adherence to the principle is what may be preventing you from appreciating music that is outside of your comfort zone? I can understand people not understanding what Paul Bley or Sonny Rollin's is doing, but to claim that these two masters solo as "an exploration that has gone bad.", or " tenor solo might as well have been a kid" sounds like a very strong statement.

Not to mention that many composers like Wayne Shorter are perfectly happy with taking their own compositions far out. So I guess in the end who is to say what you can/cannot do wit the original music?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGFSD1Devzg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkUULYE-LAA

Don't get me wrong, I understand where you are coming from, and it's perfectly fine if you feel like the only music worth listening is music that is "coherent". I am merely suggesting that there are a lot of things on the 'other side' of music that is beautiful in it's own ways. That mindset has allowed me to enjoy Mozart, George Crumb, J Dilla and appreciate them for what they are.

I am not an expert Paul Bley's music so I am just going to post what Aaron Parks have to say about the music

"The three choruses that Bley plays here (sandwiched between a more traditional yet beautifully lyrical solo by Coleman Hawkins and a perhaps slightly self-conscious solo by Sonny Rollins) showed the limitation of those theoretical conceptions, and represented a radically different approach to improvisation, one not about right or wrong. It was a paradigm-shifting moment for me, one which caused me to reevaluate my musical priorities.

In this solo, Bley's melodies roam freely in and out of the written changes, each line unfolding in its own curious way, pursuing its own muse. Yet he's not just playing free; even when he's not using the prescribed chord-scales, he always knows exactly where he is in the form of the song, and his ideas are incredibly coherent,sometimes motivic, sometimes gestural, sometimes playful, always imaginative. I find this solo to be one of the most strangely beautiful moments in the history of recorded jazz, so I really don't want to spoil it by attempting to use any more words to describe what he's doing here. Just listen."


Edited by etcetra (11/12/12 08:42 PM)

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#1985936 - 11/12/12 11:19 PM When have you gone too far? [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: etcetra
I understand the notion that song/improvisation should somehow adhere to the original song/form.. but have you ever thought that maybe that belief/adherence to the principle is what may be preventing you from appreciating music that is outside of your comfort zone?

I am certain you are onto something here: that I am not making a “leap” to what is beyond my ears, and my understanding. I do not think it has to do with my beliefs, or sticking to certain principles. Rather, it seems that many efforts that “go beyond” where I am expecting, violate organic, or natural laws.

To me, it is natural for jazz to stretch “boundaries” and to explore new things. It has always been so. However, when the stretch or the exploration is deliberately divorced, or forcefully severed from, the original musical material, my ear tells me that is un-natural. And if I think about it, then I must ask, “Why do we have an original theme, if the ‘variations’ are no longer related?” (Peter Schikle (P.D.Q. Bach) did a comedy routine about this several years ago.)

Originally Posted By: etcetra
Don't get me wrong, I understand where you are coming from, and it's perfectly fine if you feel like the only music worth listening is music that is "coherent". I am merely suggesting that there are a lot of things on the 'other side' of music that is beautiful in it's own ways.

Having the perspective of age, I believe it is interesting how very many jazz musicians ventured into “experiments” from which they later retreated. Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dick Hyman, and our man Sonny Rollins, just to name a few. Of course we cannot practically ask Mr. Rollins this, but if we could, I’ll bet he would NOT consider that soloing you posted with Coleman Hawkins an example of his best playing!

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1986005 - 11/13/12 05:04 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

Having the perspective of age, I believe it is interesting how very many jazz musicians ventured into “experiments” from which they later retreated. Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dick Hyman, and our man Sonny Rollins, just to name a few. Of course we cannot practically ask Mr. Rollins this, but if we could, I’ll bet he would NOT consider that soloing you posted with Coleman Hawkins an example of his best playing!



Wnat you write here may (or may not) be true.

But that in no way invalidates the different movements that these musicians were responding to. All jazz musicians had to take note of new currents, but it is not astonishing that many like those that you list were not able to grasp what was going on ... while remaining masterful artists in the domaine which was theirs.

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#1986031 - 11/13/12 07:25 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

Having the perspective of age, I believe it is interesting how very many jazz musicians ventured into “experiments” from which they later retreated. Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dick Hyman, and our man Sonny Rollins, just to name a few.


Well, I am sorry to say this, but that sounds more like confirmation bias than anything else.

There are plenty of artists like Cecil Taylor we went out and stayed out for the rest of their lives. Miles Davis never really went back to his old style even though many people don't like all the electronic stuff he was doing in the 80's. Everyone makes different musical choices, very many jazz musicians did opposite of what you describe to

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
I’ll bet he would NOT consider that soloing you posted with Coleman Hawkins an example of his best playing!


Like the comment about "experiment going too far", aren't you being a little too presumptuous here?

I don't know how they feel about their solos either, but one thing I know for sure is that that album and the solo I posted is a landmark album(albeit controversial) and it's been recognized as such by many of the best musicians even to this day. In fact, I first heard about it on Mark Levine's jazz piano book. He list's that album/song in his essential Jazz piano CD list.

Also if you read Aaron Park's review, he says that album changed his life smile

here's another review of the album Sonny Meets Hawk

http://www.lorenschoenberg.com/sonny.html


Edited by etcetra (11/13/12 08:03 AM)

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#1986132 - 11/13/12 11:53 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
. . . Having the perspective of age, I believe it is interesting how very many jazz musicians ventured into “experiments” from which they later retreated. Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dick Hyman, and our man Sonny Rollins, just to name a few.

But that in no way invalidates the different movements that these musicians were responding to. All jazz musicians had to take note of new currents, but it is not astonishing that many like those that you list were not able to grasp what was going on ... while remaining masterful artists in the domaine which was theirs.

Landorrano,

I have read over several times the part of your post that I highlighted, and do not yet get a clear meaning. Would you elaborate on that a little? Thanks.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1986166 - 11/13/12 01:01 PM When have you gone too far? [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: etcetra
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Having the perspective of age, I believe it is interesting how very many jazz musicians ventured into “experiments” from which they later retreated. Art Farmer, Freddie Hubbard, Dick Hyman, and our man Sonny Rollins, just to name a few.

Well, I am sorry to say this, but that sounds more like confirmation bias than anything else.

I plead 100% guilty to being biased. When one thinks about it, that very bias is what inspired me to start this thread.

Originally Posted By: etcetra
There are plenty of artists like Cecil Taylor we went out and stayed out for the rest of their lives. Miles Davis never really went back to his old style even though many people don't like all the electronic stuff he was doing in the 80's. Everyone makes different musical choices, very many jazz musicians did opposite of what you describe

Yup - some stayed out, some came back, and some never ventured off the reservation.

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
I’ll bet he would NOT consider that soloing you posted with Coleman Hawkins an example of his best playing!

Originally Posted By: etcetra
Like the comment about "experiment going too far", aren't you being a little too presumptuous here?

Of course it is the height of conceit on my part to pretend I know anything about what Mr. Rollins thinks. Nevertheless, one cannot argue that he did turn back from that extremely dissonant and anti-melodic style, and has settled in much closer to a tonal and melodic concept. There could be several reasons for this, including the pressure from fans, and his desire to sell more albums by playing more “accessible” music.

So, let me put it this way: I BELIEVE that a great and timeless artist like Sonny Rollins always strives to improve. I BELIEVE that his retreat from “the far side” was driven by MUSICAL reasons, by CREATIVE reasons, and not by financial or popularity considerations. I BELIEVE that he was unhappy, or unfulfilled, playing the sort of far-out stuff about which a couple of critics have raved. I BELIEVE he sensed that he had gone too far, and that is why his more recent work has evolved toward more tonal and traditional harmonic lines. Perhaps more satisfying to him, and certainly more satisfying to my ears.

I am interested in your metaphor of a “landmark” recording. Is it your feeling that this landmark is classified as such because it heralds the start of something quite new? Or is it a landmark because it represents the farthest, extreme point of discernable music? Or is it simply a signpost along the continuing road of jazz development? Or maybe something else?

Ed


Edited by LoPresti (11/13/12 07:30 PM)
Edit Reason: Spellink - merci landorrano
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#1986289 - 11/13/12 06:18 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
"A couple of critiques"?

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#1986299 - 11/13/12 06:49 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
Bob Newbie Offline
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Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1555
A way of knowing they've gone out too far..you feel like getting up and going out for coffee and doughnuts!

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#1986321 - 11/13/12 07:27 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: landorrano]
LoPresti Offline
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Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: landorrano
"A couple of critiques"?

Oops ----- I mean ----- Oui, for our French-speaking friends . . .
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#1986343 - 11/13/12 08:27 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
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Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Originally Posted By: LoPresti

So, let me put it this way: I BELIEVE that a great and timeless artist like Sonny Rollins always strives to improve. I BELIEVE that his retreat from “the far side” was driven by MUSICAL reasons, by CREATIVE reasons, and not by financial or popularity considerations. I BELIEVE that he was unhappy, or unfulfilled, playing the sort of far-out stuff about which a couple of critics have raved. I BELIEVE he sensed that he had gone too far, and that is why his more recent work has evolved toward more tonal and traditional harmonic lines. Perhaps more satisfying to him, and certainly more satisfying to my ears.

Ed


Again, it's rather presumputous to assume that moving on to new style=retraction of what you have done so far. Does that mean Miles Davis felt that the electronic stuff he did in the 80s was musically superior than all the great recording he made in the 60's? Or is it more likely that Miles just wanted to try something different?

Here's a recent interview of sonny rollins from Ktvu.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/entertainment/ktvucom-talks-jazz-great-sonny-rollins/nSMzJ/

"Sonny Rollins: Let me put it this way: my musical mind is an open palette. So if I hear something or hear somebody play something, I’m ready to embrace it to see what I can do with it. So I generally have no preconceptions of what I’m going to do and I can do anything. Because if I feel it, if I feel I can express myself, then I would do it. And I feel that way today, that I can do anything.

People want to pigeonhole you as a bebop tenor player. I mean, we had to go through that for a long time. But I’m fortunate enough to have that kind of a musical mind. I have some success and I’m very gratified that people have accepted what I’ve done over the years. But I do whatever I feel like doing. So I’m open to anything. If I hear something that I think is good, and by good I mean something that I can express myself with, then I’ll play it.

That’s why I have to have a band which is adaptive. I talked to a friend of mine the other night who said “Sonny, why don’t you play some stuff like you were doing in your ‘60s period?” So I tell him “No, that’s fine, but I’m not hearing that now.” I have a very open mind and all I have to do is express myself. I think people have given the freedom by liking me. And I so appreciate that and am very grateful for it. So if they like me, they should like whatever I do. So I feel like I can do anything that is going to satisfy me is going to satisfy them as well. And that’s sort of what I do. "

As you can see, Sonny playing more traditional has nothing to do with dissatisfaction of playing outside ; He is just doing whatever he feels like doing at this point in life... So don't be surprised if he goes back to playing outside in the future!!

Originally Posted By: LoPresti

I am interested in your metaphor of a “landmark” recording. Is it your feeling that this landmark is classified as such because it heralds the start of something quite new? Or is it a landmark because it represents the farthest, extreme point of discernable music? Or is it simply a signpost along the continuing road of jazz development? Or maybe something else?


I am not sure what to add to what Aaron Parks and other review has written, I think they described the greatness in that album very eloquently. The music is a significant departure of musical conventiion at that time, they are challenging the very idea of harmony and from, and doing it so in a very masterfully, and not as the nonsense you presume it to be. As others have pointed these people are playing the solos always with the from and harmony in the mind, and the lines have their set of logic/coherency to it that only a master improviser can achieve.

Also there is a wide consensus among top jazz musicians(not just couple of critics) that Paul Bley's solo is significant in the development of jazz (Mark Levine certainly does think so), and many even consider it to be one of his best solos.

In the end you can believe all you want about what music is supposed to be an dpeople's intention to mold your bias about music.. but maybe it's important to stop and think why so many great musicians we admire hold that music in such high regard?



Edited by etcetra (11/13/12 11:04 PM)

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#1986403 - 11/13/12 11:49 PM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: etcetra]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: etcetra
Originally Posted By: LoPresti
So, let me put it this way: I BELIEVE that a great and timeless artist like Sonny Rollins always strives to improve. I BELIEVE . . .

or maybe he just got tired of doing the same thing he's been doing for so long. Or in other words, the same reason he moved to playing outside in the first place. Again, it's rather presumputous to assume that moving on to new style=retraction of what you have done so far.

Key to my point here is the drive for constant improvement. So if Sonny Rollins, along with several others, chose to pull back from those excursions into “dark territory”; and if we believe that artists of this calibre constantly strive to play better; then it must be that they prefer turf that is a little more firm and established - that they consider it “better playing”. Otherwise, they would be doing something completely different.

Unfortunately, I have not followed Paul Bley’s playing, so I have no way of knowing what he did prior to this album, nor after it. The recording is from 1963. Two years after that, the Sun Ra Big Band was a guest ensemble at the music school I attended. The performances and master classes were open also to other students of the university who were not music majors. The reaction of (we) students was very interesting: Almost universally, the music majors rejected what we heard as thinly (and poorly) orchestrated cacophony. Indeed,
virtually all concert attendees left DURING the performances, many of them with great drama. On the other hand, there was a distinct group of non-music students who claimed to love the music and the presentations. Most of them were very vocal in their ardor and praise for this “new music”. Of course, not one of them could identify exactly WHY the performances were so superior, they just somehow knew that they were. We were looking for musical reasons to like the music, and these adherents did not offer any.

My “take” on it then, and my “take” on it forty-seven years later, is that the ensemble was deliberately playing harsh, disjointed, and UN-musical sounding, rhythmic noise, in a forced effort to be “new and different”. Reverting here to Dave’s excellent point about the context of the chaos, virtually every selection started loud and raucous, ended loud and raucous, and was pretty well loud and raucous in between. Sort of an A-A-A Form.

The non-musical affezionati of this “new stream jazz”, and their enjoyment, likewise seemed contrived and forced, as if they were reacting en masse to the more traditional fare offered at most concerts. It seemed like by “voting for” this “new music”,.they were casting votes “against” the more traditional. In each sense, with the players, and their “fans”, there was a hollowness of purpose, or so it seemed.

And this brings us back to Dave’s other insightful comment about “music has to mean something”. Perhaps – just perhaps – Sonny Rollins has returned closer to his roots because he wants his music to mean something once again.
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#1986428 - 11/14/12 12:53 AM Re: When have you gone too far? [Re: LoPresti]
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
LoPresti

Please, stop making all these false assumptions Sonny Rollins intent about music. You are not doing him any justice.

It seems like you took one sentence out of the entire interview to make a very narrow, selective point. Nowhere does Sonny says he "pulled back" because he felt inside playing is inherently better. I understand that you strongly feel certain way about the music, but what you are doing is with your narrative is pigeonholing Sonny Rollins as "bebop tenor player" who denounced outside playing in favor of traditional playing That's exactly what Sonny doesn't want you to do!!

Again your experience with Sun Ra Big band sounds a lot like confirmation bias. There are A LOT of really well known great musicians who love that kind of stuff. Bottom line is, the music does mean something to a lot of people.

If you read the interview, he says he is "Open to anything".He is playing more traditional because that's what he feels like doing right now, but there is no guarantee Sonny wouldn't go back to playing again to "improve his music". All I am asking is to have more open mind about this, like Sonny.

Btw you haven't answer my question about Miles. What is your explanation for him not going back to going to his roots?


Edited by etcetra (11/14/12 01:03 AM)

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