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RE: Loop Jams vs. Jazz Jams

"Guitar: Jazz guitarists are never very happy. Deep inside they want to
be rock stars, but they're old and overweight. In protest, they wear
their hair long, prowl for groupies, drink a lot, and play too loud.
Guitarists hate piano players because they can hit ten notes at once,
but guitarists make up for it by playing as fast as they can. The more a
guitarist drinks, the higher he turns his amp. Then the drummer starts
to play harder, and the trumpeter dips into his loud/high arsenal.
Suddenly, the saxophonist's universe crumbles, because he is no longer
the most important player on stage. He packs up his horn, nicks his best
reed in haste, and storms out of the room. The pianist struggles to
suppress a laugh. If you talk to a guitarist during the break he'll ask
intimate questions about your 14-year-old sister. "
Oh yes, this about describes it!  :)  I'd say the point about the
guitarist and piano player contains a sliver of truth in my experience
at jazz jams.  Actually, I've never impressed a decent jazz piano player
by playing fast, because what a decent key player can do with his right
hand (a flamboyant chick corea style player can play pretty damn fast)
while comping at the same time with his left hand is difficult to match
on a fretboard....however, I've achieved some doubletakes from piano
players by playing piano-like, tone cluster chords on the guitar.  At
one jazz jam, I got a big smile of approval out of a piano player by
playing some of these:

This is actually an interesting topic, that of guitarists and piano
players blending well together in jazz. I've been to a couple of clinics
on this topic, and it fairly common that guitar players don't play well
with piano players and visa versa...usually the former is the case: they
often times don't listen to what the piano player is doing or they play
altered/colorized chords over conflicting altered/colorized piano
chords, which  results in a cocaphony of bad bad tones. Or the guitar
player is blowing chops with a bunch of chromatic chord BS, that doesn't
relate to the harmonic structure whatsoever.  I've seen piano players
just stop playing and look at the guitar player as if saying "okay, you
want to do this? I'll sit out then."  I rarely see ameteur jazz guitar
players really listen to the piano player and stop playing when what
they are doing doesn't support or compliment what the piano player is
doing. They keep playing like they are centers of the universe and they
have ear plugs in. 

Of course this doesn't mean that the piano player has to rule all of the
time. It shold be a matter of teamwork. Basically, the good players sit
down and talk to each other before a gig or a jam and work a system out.
For example, the guitar player may choose to echo piano chords, or play
just the big band "chuck a chunk" quarter note style with basic dominant
seventh chords (no colorization or alteration).  Or they may decide to
sit out while one plays the dominant role. This is common. It is really
cool to have this relationship with a piano player, and see them take
their hands off the keys while you hold the fort down. For some reason,
some guitar players think they have to fill up every space with some
cool chord or seqence of notes, where you have some egomaniac asshole
playing a series of chromatic 13th chords, while the piano player is
actually trying to play something tasteful and support the
soloist....which brings up the next issue...that of supporting the
soloist.  Most great jazz pian player REALLY list to the solist and you
will hear them complement what the soloist is doing via their chords.
For example, if the soloist is playing outside a lot and using a lot of
altered tones, the piano player will do the same. Or the piano player
will use call and reponse, and echo some of the soloist's phrases, so
that it is like a conversation.  I rarely see young  jazz guitarists do
this...even some really good pro players!  It's quite shocking that
someone could be so self-centered in a jazz context. 

I sound like I am bashing guitarists here, but I am one and have been
guilty of some of these things when I was a beginning jazz guitarist. I
had my ass kicked a few times at jazz jams and learned to listen, play
nice with others, or just stop playing!  I guess this is why I hardly
ever find a jazz piano player that doesn't hold some degree of distain
for guitarists, but when they do find a guitarist who "gets it" they
really appreciate it. 

Probably the best and most famous depiction of a good relationship
between piano player and guitar player in jazz is Bill Evans and Jim
Hall, two legendary albums that lay down the standard: Undercurrent and
Intermodulation.  I highly recommend them!  There is a lifetime of
learning material in those two CDs.

Krispen Hartung 
View improvisational / real-time looping videos:
Interactive tour of my gear: http://www.boisemusicians.com/gear.htm

-----Original Message-----
From: Bernhard Wagner [mailto:loopdelightml@nosuch.biz] 
Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2005 4:17 AM
To: Loopers
Subject: Loop Jams vs. Jazz Jams

How does this compare to your last live looping jam: