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Posts Tagged ‘Django Reinhardt’

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Duke Ellington phrasing, make it swing.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The chords for this little exercise are as follows:

G, Am, Bm, C, D, Em, D7, G
G, D7, Em, D, C, Bm, Am, G

Jethro Burns published this a while ago as a way to get your playing swinging. < - -, < - -,.... < means strong or accented, - meaning weak or not accented, Think: STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG, weak, weak, STRONG This can be used with a band or a metronome to accent your favorite melody or any playing one wants to get away from the straight 8th notes feel.

Every player has rhythmic nuances that literally need to be heard to understood. Books and notation can only touch the surface. Think of Clarence White in the bluegrass world, or Wayne Shorter in the Jazz world. Playing right in front, or or behind the downbeat of a tune can really make a song chug along or glide smoothly. Wayne and his band create lots of movement with the phrasing of his horn and the comping of the piano and bass in the backdrop. They don’t change the tempo as much as they play, “around,” the beat not right on top of it. Below Horace Silver really gets it on piano!

In terms of lead playing, Miles Davis as well as guitar greats like Charlie Christian, Pat Martino and Django are great guys to listen to for new poly-rhythmic ideas to wrap one’s ears around. In terms of piano playing and comping, Horace Silver as well as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett are players with great senses of time. Below is a video of Wayne Shorter playing some Ellington-esque phrasing, as well as some other ideas I must call all his own. Altered timing is a great way to reveal one’s own unique voice, while dodging the ever tempting trap door of playing too many notes. One clear convicted voice is the goal, don’t be afraid to borrow from your favorite players. Use the stepping stones provided, but remember to tread your own path along the way.

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Posted in Videos of Jake | Comments Off on Duke Ellington phrasing, make it swing.

Music without genre classifications

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Some of acoustic musics greatest contributors are often overlooked, usually from a lack of material that is easily marketed and turned into profit. This is no coincidence, this is a symptom in the nature of our times. Music is it’s own language, in and of itself. We must move past using names like, “Country, Bluegrass, Jazz and classical,” to define what is an art form with it’s very own vocabulary.

Players like Jordan Ramsey, Dave Peters, and Tim Connell often play multiple styles within a single song. In terms of genres this music must fall into, “all of the above.” What makes music hard to define is exactly what gives it more interest and intrigue. No more pigeon holed definitions are needed.

Chris Thile just released an album, which consists only pieces composed by the great J.S. Bach. Before the release of this album Thile was not considered a classical player, nor we he be in the future. But his classical mandolin playing is up there with the best I have ever heard. Do you see the problem here? I can same the same for Mike Marshall’s/strong> playing of classical music. Another player not considered in the classical genre.

Both have devoted lots of time and effort into this particular style. Naturally, after a certain amount of time a new style, or composer is needed freshen things up. An example of this would be Marshall’s change to playing Brazilian music. Another good example is Tony Rice’s movement towards Jazzier playing, and away from what we call bluegrass. Bluegrass is unique in that it is a genre created by a single man, the master Bill Monroe. There is one and only Bill Monroe. “So it goes,” as Kurt Vonnegut would say.

Jethro Burns called many names, but never a conformist, broke all the right rules. As a musical revolutionary, he lead the way for David Grisman’s Dawg music, as well as all that was labeled Newgrass, and jazzgrass, over the years. Well before that players like Dave Apollon played music beyond definition.

Dave Apollon a Russian mandolin player wrote and performed beautiful music, later called Gypsy Jazz. Django Reinhardt’s very own musical genre creation. Not bad company, but their music must speak for itself, two words do not do it justice. Don’t listen to me, or any other critic for that matter, listen to the emotional, and powerful music they played.

Every artist named is in bold print for a reason. The reason being so one can listen to these artists and draw his or her own conclusions. No one song, or name, can suffice in revealing the broad, yet strong foundations these men have built for future generations of musicians. With inspiration from the masters of the past, one’s own unique voice can be found and expressed.

We must adapt and continue building onto an art form that has luckily been built to last. The ones most willing to adapt, and change with the times, are in my opinion the most fit to be truly original and innovative.

“What is in a name?” Just that, nothing more. Do not mistake the name for the thing it represents. Be it a person, place, or thing, let your heart do the deciding. Your analytical rational mind will always be there to fall back on. Music is beyond names, it evokes emotion not logic, inspirational not instructive, feelings not answers.

We all could be a little less critical and more accepting in thoughts and actions. This is a ticket that can unleash creative prowess beyond imagination. Tapping into the true source, as many before us have.

Paying homage to the traditions of the past holds huge importance. The assumption that the builders wanted us to carry these traditions unchanged, like relics of the past, is inevitably impossible. Build off of traditional music in ways that feel good to you, and chances are it will have the same effect on others. Trust your gut, and play from your heart.

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Posted in General, Inspiration | Comments Off on Music without genre classifications

Nuages or something inspired by it?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

I set up my recording gear yesterday and put down a few tracks. Look out for many more to come. At some point I pretended to play Django Reinhardt classic, Nuages.

Nuages

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Posted in Recorded Music | Comments Off on Nuages or something inspired by it?

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