Saxophone Forum

by knorter
(205 posts)
18 years ago

The Changing Times

After participating in several discussions regarding the recent "chop heavy" styles of younger or more recent players I thought it would make a good topic. It seems that more current players have a tendency to play more technically and rhythmically complex solos. While I certainly understand the argument that a nice melody should be at least a starting point for a good solo, I also feel that the music is evolving into a different phase. This is also true of athletes. Think about professional athletes 50 years ago. They are not in the same physical shape of today's athletes. I'm not saying either is better just different. If I were advising serious young students about a career in jazz today I would absolutely advocate for a strong technical ability. While I think most of us agree that a good ear and great theory chops are necessary I would argue that it's not possible to play in today's climate without all of the tools. I'm speaking specifically about the top percentage of players in the world. There will always be a place for old school jazz but to be competitive in the jazz world a player really has to think about being the total package.

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  1. by jamterry
    (573 posts)

    18 years ago

    Re: The Changing Times

    Kristy I couldn't agree more!!!! I was born with an ear but technique is what brings that ear to fruition. The theory I learned came from playing so many years with older players. I was fortunate enough to meet Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt who took me under their wings. I put some licks on here for practice aids, but nobody responded. You younger people need to build you finger dexterity up now. I see some older hobbyists here talking about that they don't like flying fingers, but that is like having a fast car. You don't drive it flat out all the time, but you have the speed and power when you need it. You kids should not worry about how many mouthpieces and ligatures you have, but rather how you get around the horn. You have your tongue and your fingers that you need to workout every day. Another thing is don't get hung up on too much old stuff. Get to the point where you play YOUR licks. I would never limit myself to jazz only. When I go to foreign countries i pick up some cool stuff jamming in the clubs.; look at the big picture and use stuff you hear from other genres. The bottom line is to keep your body strong and your fingers and tongue tuned up. I saw all those people here falling all over themselves because they can solo on a cover song that was written 50 years ago. Take off the training wheels and get on your own stuff !!!! All the best :) Terry

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    1. by swingstreet
      (315 posts)

      18 years ago

      Re: The Changing Times

      I suppose that if you wanted to be a full-time musician, it would be a good idea to learn all forms and idioms of music. As a full time musician, you'll be doing gigs for other bands, doing studio work, commercial jingles, Broadway pit orchestras, etc. Nobody with any sense would argue the fact that it is technique that helps express what the ear and the inner mind hears. However, my gripe has always been with the players who had the chops, and still could not play a simple song, or couldn't swing. As for me, I'm not a full-time muisician. I am a full-time music student. I just love to play. I am a semi-professional because I have a group I work with on the weekends or odd weekday, while I spend the rest of my time slinging cocktails and beer. However, this gives me the freedom to play the music I like playing to people who want to hear it. Do I regret the fact that I may not be able to play like a Sonny Fortune? No, because he can't play like me, and I don't mean this in an egotistical or disrespectful way, because Sonny is a friend and one of the more original improvisors I've seen live. What I am saying is that the way I play my horn is not the same as he does, and that's the way I like it. Jazz is supposed to be about originality. As for the top percentage of players, who are they? I know names that you might give me, but if they're the best in what they do, they wouldn't be best at everything, only in what they do. Music should not be compared to athletics. If it's only about who can run the fastest and jump the highest, then the music will suffer, and it will only become a competition, wth players only playing and excelling not for the love of the sport, but for the big money, like modern athletes.

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