Originally Posted by Thaard
I got some feedback from the auditions. The positive: I was good at communicating, had a lot of good ideas and groove.
The negative: I was too "heavy" in my playing and I needed it to flow more.
I think this has to do with me not having enough "headroom" in my jazz-playing, so I'm always on the edge when playing. If I was playing fusion or funk, I would have lots of headroom and it would feel better. I was also crashing too much and using too much kick. Oh, and I fell out of time during an instrument fill thing which I had composed, which was pretty bad.
Another thing, is that many times, jazz is made out to be so academic(even if it isn't). It's hard to find cats to play with, even in big cities. At jam sessions, there's always these cliques of players that only play with each other, and if you're lucky enough to play with them, you'll never get anything out of it. No gigs, no calls, whatever. I feel that it's imperative to play with other people, so you can get experience.
What Anthony said.
I would suspect the "heavy" is a carryover from playing rock. With a teacher, you will learn the art of dynamics and a softer touch when playing jazz.
Something my first drum teach told me when I first started learning jazz was that the groove comes primarily from the cymbals in jazz whereas the opposite is true in rock, funk, etc. where the focus is mostly kick and snare.
You'll get the idea from listening to jazz. Absorb it. Even if you don't understand what's going on with comping, why the drummer is playing the hats vs the ride, or whatever, just listen to the dynamics; how softly the snare is chattering away under the spang-a-lang. And even though you can't always hear it, there's most likely a feathering of quarter notes on the bass drum. So, I don't think it's a headroom issue, but a dynamics issue. Apologies if I'm wrong--we haven't heard you play.
As for falling out if time during a break, I do that sometimes too, but it's usually in the woodshed. If you're trying to bust out a lick that you learned and throw it in without really knowing it you will probably mess it up 9 times out of 10 on the bandstand. That's sort of what I was getting at with my "playing Exercise 1...." comment before. It's great to have that independence but it's better to know WHEN to use it. You shouldn't just go up and regurgitate a 4 bar break that you learned without considering the context. That's like walking up to a group of people talking about movies and you say, "I like spaghetti!" It doesn't make any sense and it doesn't contribute to the musical conversation.
With that said, I do have a few licks that I like to practice...some of the classic phrases from the Riley material as well as transcribed stuff...but I don't always play them exactly during the gig. Part of them will seep into my playing and that classic lick becomes something new...something yours.
I've never actually experienced the 'clique-ness' with other cats that you described. Perhaps I've been lucky that I have had someone vouch for me in a few situations. My old drum teacher recommended me for my current gig; his previous piano player was looking for her own band. We had a guitarist with us for a while that had me fill in on his blues gigs on the side too. I would think that if you just had one little opportunity to get in, you'll eventually get more gigs.