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  #201  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:17 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
Jay, you are wrong, too. :)

The idea is that it is misguided to call Kenny G's music jazz. To call it jazz is wrong, just like calling a Cellica a Cadillac is wrong. You may prefer to drive a Cellica; but that still does not make it a Cadillac. It's that simple.

As far as Kenny's success the question really has nothing to do with it. But honestly Jay. do you really think that calling Kenny G's music jazz made a heap of difference for the jazz market. Did he sell more Kind of Blue records. maybe. But it seems what it does is give anyone who defends Kenny G ample ground to call anyone who doesn't a jazz snob.:)

Pat alludes to the greater implication of Kenny playing with the Louie film. It would be interesting to see what people believe some of those greater implications were, especially now that ten years have passed. In those ten years, you had the establishment of JALC, so now everyone has Wynton to hate. :)
See, I just don't see how it matters so much what Kenny G's music is called. It doesn't matter to me. I mean, look at all the music that has been called jazz over the years. These days a "jazz" gig could be an old lady singing Broadway songs to a room full of gay guys, or it could be a bunch of kids playing loud-as-hell electric "fusion" music, or it could be some old guys in a trio playing the same old tired standards in the lounge of a seafood restaurant.

I just don't see what the greater implications are. I'll tell you what I do know for a fact. I'm not going to sell any of my CDs to anyone other than those folks who like the music, and none of those people could give damn one about Kenny G, most probably. And the people who do like Kenny G sure as hell aren't going to like my music. Hell, they'll never even hear about it. They'll never know it exists, any more than they'll ever know about Eric Dolphy or the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Two different worlds. Two different universes, actually.
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  #202  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:22 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
Jay, you are wrong, too. :)

The idea is that it is misguided to call Kenny G's music jazz. To call it jazz is wrong, just like calling a Cellica a Cadillac is wrong. You may prefer to drive a Cellica; but that still does not make it a Cadillac. It's that simple.

As far as Kenny's success the question really has nothing to do with it. But honestly Jay. do you really think that calling Kenny G's music jazz made a heap of difference for the jazz market. Did he sell more Kind of Blue records. maybe. But it seems what it does is give anyone who defends Kenny G ample ground to call anyone who doesn't a jazz snob.:)

Pat alludes to the greater implication of Kenny playing with the Louie film. It would be interesting to see what people believe some of those greater implications were, especially now that ten years have passed. In those ten years, you had the establishment of JALC, so now everyone has Wynton to hate. :)
You know, the more you go on about this, the more I am of the opinion that you are wrong.

I fully "get" the idea your putting forth here. And of course, you're fully entitled to your opinion. But it really feels more like you're defending a religion.

It isn't a case of calling a Toyota a Cadillac. That's a bad example because those are objective items.

There are no universally accepted objective boundaries that contain all that is jazz. The genre has been around too long and fragmented into too many sub-genres, each operating on it's own set of "rules", that to try and say that there is a single set of criteria that makes it so just doesn't hold water. Especially since so many sub-genres include so much cross-over from other genres. The whole affair of trying to define it becomes this slippery mess.

It seems to me that the whole point of trying to define it to begin with is just so that you can exclude certain unpopular players. Any notion of "true jazz" just rings hollow because really, what is that?

When I listen to Count Basie (esp early '50s) I hear rock and roll. The songs all have catchy hooks with melodies that stick on the brain for days, and are cleverly arranged much like a modern pop song. The main difference seems to be that the rhythm swings and horns and piano are the dominant instruments.

Then there's the way out there stuff like Miles and Coltrane that was very different. And later came smooth jazz.

I really don't see how you're going to be able to devise a set of rules that includes these forms of jazz that can necessarily exclude Kenny G.

How come we can't be happy with two forms of music: the good and the bad and everyone gets to define them for themselves

Last edited by MikeM; 03-29-2010 at 05:42 AM.
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  #203  
Old 03-29-2010, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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I just don't see what the greater implications are.
The greater implications were that if record companies could market smooth jazz and sell 250,000+ copies, then why should they market other forms of jazz. The basic notion has to do with the reduction of value to commodity. Nothing new here; but there is a danger in it, esp for an artist like Metheny who could sell well and now could become pigeon-holed into making more under friendly smooth jazz music. If Monk had been held to a marketing standard would he have sold well?

The other question is that if properly marketed, forms of music that record companies may not readily understand might actually do better than one would think. As an early on fan or Metheny, I got taken through a world that included his work with Dewey Redman, Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich. I got to see him with Jack De Johnette in the NY clubs. It turned me on to a lot of great players. You can't put a price on that. His success is not only due to his talent; it is due to have record executives who knew how to procure it. I think Metheny understood what it meant to young artists who could also be pigeon-holed into making radio friendly music.

As far as Smooth Jazz and Real Jazz. It's kind of a done deal that people recognize smooth jazz is not 'really jazz'. It brings up interesting debates about the role of pop culture in the history of jazz. Regardless of what my post may allude to, I wold be surely left of center in that debate, esp as opposed to traditionalists. As I said, I've longed listened to Joe Sample, George Benson, Chuck Mangione etc.You may not be able to objectively qualify what jazz is; but you can certainly say what it isn't. Black Eyes Peas, not jazz. Kenny G, not jazz.
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 03-30-2010 at 11:32 AM.
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  #204  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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The greater implications were that if record companies could market smooth jazz and sell 250,000+ copies, then why should they market other forms of jazz.
Well exactly. They're in the record business for goodness sake. Jazz records don't sell, they don't make any money, and I don't see how it makes any sense to blame that on Kenny G. I don't think it makes any sense to look for anyone or anything to blame. Jazz just isn't popular, jazz doesn't sell records, and that's all there is to it.
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  #205  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Jay, man did you read the whole post? this is certainly an example of quoting something that grants no context. :)
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  #206  
Old 03-29-2010, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Jay, man did you read the whole post? this is certainly an example of quoting something that grants no context. :)
Yes, I did, I read the whole post. I guess I just thought that the first sentence of that post summed up the rest of it. I apologize if I got it wrong.

See, if someone, a jazz musician, sees an opportunity to sell more units by making smooth jazz then isn't that up to him? The composers and musicians who do what they do because that's the only way they want to do it, they'll always be around. Maybe nobody in the general CD buying public will ever hear of them but they'll always be around.

To me the point is to like what you like, you know, buy the products you like, support the artists you like, listen to the music you like.

Nobody in their right mind goes into jazz expecting to get rich. And of course there's crap music out there, some of it is called rock, some of it is called R&B and some of it is called jazz, but so what?
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  #207  
Old 03-29-2010, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

You get no argument from me. The one thing I would say is that I think the smooth jazz format became to constricted for jazz musicians to really see it as an opportunity to do anything except make money, which isn't of itself a bad thing. Why not write pop tunes or work on Wall Street is you want to make money.

But if you want to do large grandeur projects where you take 8-10-16 musicians out on the road, like Metheny has done, funding becomes a big issue. Christoph Eschenbach's or Michael Tilson Thomas conduct orchestras with 60+ people in them . .. puts a lot of people to work. The performance of certain types of music or to have certain types of aspirations in music necessitates a lot of cash flow. Those types of projects are not going to generate the per capita income of a successful punk rock trio like Green Day. There is a cultural advantage of major orchestras and prominent jazz ensembles. You have to argue that other wise why bother. Everyone could spend their lives listening to The Ramones. But much great music was not profitable in the life of its composer. So even though I argue that, I also know it to be true. And I know that stands in the way of your Libertarian ideology. So be it.
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  #208  
Old 03-29-2010, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I think we need to consider how much music is crossover. For instance, if Grover Washington or David Sanborn is considered to be jazz, then why not Kenny G?

Kenny is playing pretty well the same genre IMO, just that the other guys are groovier. Maybe that's the difference? Kenny's playing is like David S under sedation :)

There is a jazz pathway - a lineage - that lead us to Kenny G. The music crossed over and crossed over until KG arrived, in what was a pretty logical progression. If KG didn't exist he'd have to be invented - he was inevitable when you look at the changes in the musical climate over the past few decades.

As an equivalent, Jimi Hendrix played rock. So does Green Day. The guitars and drums are still loud but that's where the similarity ends.

Just because the new kid on the block brings down the neighbourhood doesn't mean s/he doesn't live there. Rock is a little less exclusive because it has a lower musical status, so Green Day is "rock", although some gatekeeper types might disagree. To say "I'm a jazz musician" implies a baseline level of skill, and that "baseline" is pretty damn high! That's why people talk about jazz snobs lol

Definition doesn't entirely depend on public perception, it also depends on peer acceptance.

For instance, for a person to be considered Aboriginal in Australia they must be accepted as such by the Aboriginal community. So if a person only has an Aboriginal grandmother and is as white as can be, if they are accepted by the Aboriginal community then they are eligible for grants programs etc. It should be said that being accepted by the the Aboriginal community as one of them is not as easy as it may sound.

So Kenny IS a jazz musician if you talk about broader public perceptions but he is NOT a jazz player when it comes to peer acceptance. Paradoxes exist in this life. Think Schrödinger's cat :)

Trying to squeeze either/or cases into a neat box is both inaccurate and misleading - unless you're in marketing or politics of course, in which case it's all in a day's work :)
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  #209  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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When any artist bashes another artist...I tend to have a lower opinion of the guy doing the bashing.
+1. No matter how my opinion on Kenny G is (and I don't really have wone either, because I barely know him or his music), I'm quite disappointed by Pat. You don't hear and read serious bashing like that by artists of Pat's caliber. Seriously, he shouldn't have done that. People who like Kenny G will probably continue liking him, and at the same time have less respect for Pat Metheny than before.
It really is the same with a big part of pop music, which is a very rudimentary musical art form, but if it appeals to the majority, why not? I think the problem isn't the simple music appealing to many, but the frustration of those who are more sophisticated, but less appreciated by the masses.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:05 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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How come we can't be happy with two forms of music: the good and the bad and everyone gets to define them for themselves
Yes, please!!

Labels are just for selling purposes. Stores need to categorize. Concert advertisers also do. Ads in general tend to. But why do musicians even have to?
I'm not too interested in style categorization myself. In fact, I'm rather bad at it. I just know if I love something, and I don't really care what the exact name for it could be...
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  #211  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

The sheer pleasure of slappin' a fool who had it coming, cannot be underestimated in these politically correct times.
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  #212  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

If I was fool enough to sell 50 million albums I'd happily take a good slapping!
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  #213  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Dumb ass rock drummer here again. I asked the question many posts ago, "what is real jazz". Considering all the jazz expertise here, not one reply, yet still plenty of reference to real jazz or KG not being a jazz muso. I'm starting to see why jazz has an accessibility issue. Non secular fans & musos staunchly defend their perception of the pure form whilst simultaneously rubbishing KG style stuff. This portrays an almost gentlemans club click that implies elitism and brands smooth jazz as worthless. Am I the only one who perceives smooth jazz as having significant genre gateway benefits?

All music genres have a section that appeals greatly to the musos and informed fans. A part of the genre that innovates, inspires & displays musical or compositional prowess. That's great, but doesn't mean that the wider appeal stuff is without value. Ok, it might be less wholesome, but it does draw people into the genre that would otherwise find the "pure" stuff too taxing to appreciate on first listening.

I get the pure jazz argument, I really do, I just don't think it's such a good idea for the promotion of jazz to a wider audience. Like all sales tactics, pull them in with the tag line then sell them on the detail. KG isn't a threat to anyone who wishes to pursue a deeper jazz career, but he is potentially a useful sales tool. Just like gateway drugs & art, pull people in with the easy to appreciate material. The ones who's inquisitive flame is offered oxygen will look further, others will pass onto something else.

Life is full of choices and musical direction is no different. Anyone who wishes to pursue a "pure", individual, innovative, etc, section of a genre must appreciate that their chances of commercial success are very limited. I don't like it, but that's the reality, and maligning someone who's taken the perceived technically easy route won't change that. It will, however, give the wider impression that you're bitter & precious. Offering an opinion on a forum such as this is one thing. Going public & getting personal is entirely another. I respect opinions offered on this forum, especially those with passion as their foundation, but the total dismissal of anothers work is counter productive IMO.

Wasn't Louis Armstrong the Kenny G of his day?
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  #214  
Old 03-29-2010, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Not being a jazz purist or expert, I'd say 'real' jazz has to do with staying true to 'jazz ideas' like striving for expertise in improvisation (if possible over rather complex harmonic structures, interplay, searching for the new (while still staying true to some dogmatic aspects of the idiom), and creating music on the spot.
Also, I think traditionally (think the earlier days' big names)jazz musicians are not looking for the big money or great success among the masses, but rather musical expression and uniqueness, and big respect among peers.

Wasn't jazz the pop and dance music of its glory days?

Today I see several lines of musical stylistics come together. I mean you can even hear the swing in most hip-hop beats, and 'jazzy' voicings in several styles. People who constantly talk about 'real jazz' are purists who only think of jazz in a traditional, dogmatic sense. It really is a matter of perspective. As stated earlier, to most pop music listeners, Norah Jones or Kenny G are pure jazz, to virtually all jazz musicians they are pop. If they are good musicians is another kind of story IMO, I'd separate those two issues.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:01 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Dumb ass rock drummer here again. I asked the question many posts ago, "what is real jazz". Considering all the jazz expertise here, not one reply, yet still plenty of reference to real jazz or KG not being a jazz muso. I'm starting to see why jazz has an accessibility issue. Non secular fans & musos staunchly defend their perception of the pure form whilst simultaneously rubbishing KG style stuff. This portrays an almost gentlemans club click that implies elitism and brands smooth jazz as worthless. Am I the only one who perceives smooth jazz as having significant genre gateway benefits?

All music genres have a section that appeals greatly to the musos and informed fans. A part of the genre that innovates, inspires & displays musical or compositional prowess. That's great, but doesn't mean that the wider appeal stuff is without value. Ok, it might be less wholesome, but it does draw people into the genre that would otherwise find the "pure" stuff too taxing to appreciate on first listening.

I get the pure jazz argument, I really do, I just don't think it's such a good idea for the promotion of jazz to a wider audience. Like all sales tactics, pull them in with the tag line then sell them on the detail. KG isn't a threat to anyone who wishes to pursue a deeper jazz career, but he is potentially a useful sales tool. Just like gateway drugs & art, pull people in with the easy to appreciate material. The ones who's inquisitive flame is offered oxygen will look further, others will pass onto something else.

Life is full of choices and musical direction is no different. Anyone who wishes to pursue a "pure", individual, innovative, etc, section of a genre must appreciate that their chances of commercial success are very limited. I don't like it, but that's the reality, and maligning someone who's taken the perceived technically easy route won't change that. It will, however, give the wider impression that you're bitter & precious. Offering an opinion on a forum such as this is one thing. Going public & getting personal is entirely another. I respect opinions offered on this forum, especially those with passion as their foundation, but the total dismissal of anothers work is counter productive IMO.

Wasn't Louis Armstrong the Kenny G of his day?
...

I dont have the answers to the questions you raise in this post, Andy.. but the guy who came closest ( to my mind ) to answering the "what is Jazz" poser, was a member called Jazzgregg who seems quite a rarity here lately, after he moved from Toronto to the UK. He said Jazz isn't about the music, its a lifestyle, an attitude, an ethic . An approach to life..

On the gateway thing, I think you are right, wider acceptance is a huge issue with jazz, but someone ( I think it was Steamer or Ken ) questioned that very premise itself. Why should everything be so easily accessible? and does anything that is that accessible ever be that special?

On Duke, I thought his dream was to have his music viewed and percieved as modern Classical music. This was also about an acceptance of sorts and needing to be on the same mantle as Bach and Mozart. Ken can expand on this, I'm sure.

...
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  #216  
Old 03-29-2010, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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He said Jazz isn't about the music, its a lifestyle, an attitude, an ethic . An approach to life..
If I was being cynical I'd say that those claiming that jazz buffs are like religious followers were on to something. Certainly the intensity is there.

Really, by that definition, it's sounding more like a philosophical doctrine. Or, given the exclusivity, maybe more like a men's club or Freemasonry.

For a non-jazzer like me, it's all about the music. I take "jazz" literally and my take on the spirit of jazz is "to jazz things up". Attitude and instinct play a role - the refusal to be staid, to be "square". Over the years, the jazzing up of things has become a fine art with huge levels of coordination, dexterity and control required to get anywhere near the state-of-the-art.

Yet, impressive and fun as that stuff is, the jazz that I like best doesn't rely on that stuff alone but has a sense of lyricism, it tells a story, it takes you on a journey, at times it's playful (something I don't hear happening enough of in jazz these days) ... it talks to you ... and with the yummiest of sonics.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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...


On the gateway thing, I think you are right, wider acceptance is a huge issue with jazz, but someone ( I think it was Steamer or Ken ) questioned that very premise itself. Why should everything be so easily accessible? and does anything that is that accessible ever be that special?

...
Thanks Abe, I hear the general message, but I don't see how accepting "jazz lite" as a gateway to the genre takes anything away from "jazz pure". The good stuff can still be special, revered even, whilst harmoniously existing alongside performances of less depth. How can something ever be regarded as special when there's nothing to compare it to? In my experience, especially with younger people starting their musical appreciation journey, an interest is sparked by something attractively transient. Once a surface interest is established, many are motivated to look deeper in a never ending search for greater gratification. It's along that journey that newcomers to the genre eventually encounter the best of performances & concepts. It's the barrier at the start of the journey that would worry me if I had an interest in the future of jazz.

Imagine, if you will, that all jazz lite material was wiped from the face of the earth. Only the purest, most progressive, most competent material remains. A younger listener with no previous exposure to such material is likely to find it, as a minimum, perplexing, and at the other end of the scale, dismissed as rubbish. Why, because to those with simplistic taste, either by age or preference, there's no hook, no discernible melody.

The likes of Kenny G offer something that is easy to access. It might not be great, but it does at least offer an introduction to a different sound than the electro puke computer processed garbage that rules the airwaves. Real instruments played by musicians and a "flavour" of jazz is surely preferable to the younger generation regarding jazz as untouchable technically motivated stuff played only by those permitted into the inner circle.

I think that jazz, as many other minority interest genres such as classical, can only exist by evolution & that can only happen with new blood. New people and new ideas are essential to progression and keeping the genre fresh & challenging. Gateway music has a vital part to play in that IMO.
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  #218  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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In my experience, especially with younger people starting their musical appreciation journey, an interest is sparked by something attractively transient. Once a surface interest is established, many are motivated to look deeper in a never ending search for greater gratification. It's along that journey that newcomers to the genre eventually encounter the best of performances & concepts. It's the barrier at the start of the journey that would worry me if I had an interest in the future of jazz.

Imagine, if you will, that all jazz lite material was wiped from the face of the earth. Only the purest, most progressive, most competent material remains. A younger listener with no previous exposure to such material is likely to find it, as a minimum, perplexing, and at the other end of the scale, dismissed as rubbish. Why, because to those with simplistic taste, either by age or preference, there's no hook, no discernible melody.

The likes of Kenny G offer something that is easy to access. It might not be great, but it does at least offer an introduction to a different sound than the electro puke computer processed garbage that rules the airwaves. Real instruments played by musicians and a "flavour" of jazz is surely preferable to the younger generation regarding jazz as untouchable technically motivated stuff played only by those permitted into the inner circle.

I think that jazz, as many other minority interest genres such as classical, can only exist by evolution & that can only happen with new blood. New people and new ideas are essential to progression and keeping the genre fresh & challenging. Gateway music has a vital part to play in that IMO.
I hear you, Andy. Let me share with you two personal instances. One that backs your point and the other, mine.

My entry into jazz was by way of Chick Corea and Weather Report. Not what you'd call the purists picks by any stretch. I was basically a rocker who got totally seduced by the displaced rhythms and the crazy chords.
I then went backwards to discover Bitches Brew and Miles and further backwards to Ornette and Coltrane and Monk all the way back to Parker, Lester Young and then forward again to some of the crazy wonderful modern stuff thats going on now... so did I come in through a wider access point like you recommend? - YES!

My 16 yr old loves and listens only to jazz. No overt influencing on my part in the least. All his friends are head bangers and metalheads ( obviously ) and he's the odd one out. He loves Charles Mingus, Archie Shepp, and Sun Ra. For the uninitiated, these arent the easy listening variety. No trainer wheels were needed for him to find the road to the music that spoke to his heart..He found his own access point. Probably the only 16 year old Jazzsnob in the world.

Ying & Yang. : )

...
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  #219  
Old 03-29-2010, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Imagine, if you will, that all jazz lite material was wiped from the face of the earth. Only the purest, most progressive, most competent material remains. A younger listener with no previous exposure to such material is likely to find it, as a minimum, perplexing, and at the other end of the scale, dismissed as rubbish. Why, because to those with simplistic taste, either by age or preference, there's no hook, no discernible melody.

The likes of Kenny G offer something that is easy to access. It might not be great, but it does at least offer an introduction to a different sound than the electro puke computer processed garbage that rules the airwaves. Real instruments played by musicians and a "flavour" of jazz is surely preferable to the younger generation regarding jazz as untouchable technically motivated stuff played only by those permitted into the inner circle.

I think that jazz, as many other minority interest genres such as classical, can only exist by evolution & that can only happen with new blood. New people and new ideas are essential to progression and keeping the genre fresh & challenging. Gateway music has a vital part to play in that IMO.
That feels like the situation to me. Keeping the sound out there. But it's a double-edged sword. What if people get used to the sound and decide that jazz = elevator music? Caught between a rock and a hard place.

Nu jazz and some of the more organic hip hop would strike me as better gateway music because it's usually less soppy and sometimes downright cooking.

Kenny's a bit TOO accessible. He ought to get some enthusiastic musos behind him and slip a bit more pepper into his albums. An old friend used to play David Sanborn's Hideaway album on a loop - ideal to get very relaxed with at his beach house. Similar genre but there's more starch in the shirt. The sooky tracks were a bit less sooky than Kenny's and I remember a great little funk number, Anything You Like, and another track with a lovely, sleazy, oozy feel whose name escapes me.

If Kenny's going to open the gate he ideally should make the effort to have some goodies on his albums with a bit of oomph - it doesn't have to be like RTF or Herbie - just a bit of edge. In fact, he might even revitalise his waning popularity by releasing something more lively.

Go on, Kenny! Get out there and show 'em that ya got it!
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:26 PM
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Wasn't Louis Armstrong the Kenny G of his day?
This is the crux of it right here. No Louis Armstrong was not the Kenny G of his day, and this again is one of the greater issues that Pat is talking about. General musical confusion. When you're talking about Pops, you are talking about an incredible musician with impeccable phrasing, tone, pitch, invention never mind personality. He created the role of the soloist in jazz and popular music in general; and influenced generations of instrumentalists and singers a like. Kenny G knows that.

Why is jazz so special? Why is Fletcher Henderson, Ellington or Bill Evans so special? As Abe pointed out music that is is accessible is usually not as special. Jazz has a rich harmonic language for one that in the case those mentioned above did not come out of the bluebut out of their assimilating the harmonic language of Debussy, Ravel, Bartok and even Schoenberg to some regard. I am a drummer, I don't solo in the same way a sax or pianist does, and my harmonic knowledge is limited. I do know that these harmonic changes create great vehicles for soloing, The blues scale can be a very interesting melodic and harmonic device because it has a major and minor intervals as well as a tritone at its disposal. From there you have the modal basis of musical theory that includes the addition of melodic characteristics. When you are soloing, you have to understand the melodic character of the changes, the scales that they are based on and this helps point you in the direction you will go.

In Smooth jazz the harmonic vocabulary is more limited. Kenny G, as Pat pointed out, uses a lot of pentatonic melodies. One of the things about pentatonic melodies is that it is hard to write a bad one. Take you fingers over the black notes of the piano, "Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise." Everything sounds nice. That is because in a pentatonic scale there is no dissonance. There are no interesting intervals like a tritone, a minor sixth or minor seventh. There is no chromaticism. Everything is at least step a part. This creates no drama, no tension and no interest. Most folk melodies are based on the pentatonic scale. The argument is that as such, smooth jazz does not use harmony or even the blues scale as the great jazz players employed it; but relies on very simple harmonic exploration for its soloing.

From there you have the interplay of a great jazz ensemble, the counterpoint, the nuance, the drama comes into play. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jFL1KuvSyo

Again, a keyboard player would more readily give a better analysis.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

All us "serious" jazz musicians are all outsiders and crazy folks anyways not much interested in wider public acceptance as individuals or as ensemble players or for the music we love in general....speaking for myself and what i've seen and experienced. Part of the outsider's and jazz musicians code of order and ethics....:}.

Jazz is a very personal expression that touches you in a deep and special way at ANY age, no special handshake for membership is required. It can start at one place {tunes/standards} and as you dig deeper as your ears and emotions get more hungry for more personal creative expressions within the "jazz tree" can lead to "out jazz" {free improv} many times. Some may dig and do one or both or some other variation from the root tree in the mix...no judgements what you choose it all music. Whether you stay closer to the core of the family jazz tree {tunes/song forms/changes} in a more straight ahead swing based setting or it like to wander out on its many branches it's all interconnected in the greater scope to the mother jazz tree from my take on what I both like to listen to and record and perform since I do both since that's where my creative juices have directed me in a natural manner and way. Whether folks dig the stuff on the outer branches or closer to the inner trunk one over the other means nothing to the one living the music in the middle of the ever evolving personal jazz journey.

What is real jazz? well the answer to that that's gets very personal and close to home to some of us. With well over 3000 post here in my own personal way i've answered that question in some detail in the past from my personal perspective and life living reference point as a example. Many others have offered there own take on that question but many of those don't post much here anymore, only a very small handful still do. I covered it...others covered it from their own personal place and perspective on the subject when the question was asked before. Sometimes the clear direct answers from a jazz musician perspective to this question have led to some truly lively debates...... doesn't change in any way how the jazz musician plays, records and lives the music.

Bottom line the jazz outsiders in the trenches do it better in actions {playing the music} rather than any mere words can better express.

"What does jazz or what is real jazz really mean?" everyone has a different answer and take to that based on where they sit on the subject of the music in question in their own life.
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Old 03-29-2010, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

For those who haven't heard the tune, you can get a laugh out of these lyrics, as witty as a Pollyanna post.

I Agree With Pat Metheny
Richard Thompson

I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny
He deserves the crap he's going to get
'Overdubbed himself on Louis
What a musical chop suey
Raised his head above the parapet

Now Louis Armstrong was the king
He practically invented swing
Hero of the twentieth century
'Did duets with many a fella
"Fatha" Hines, Bing, Hoagy, Ella
Strange he never thought of Kenny G

A meeting of great minds, how nice
Like Einstein and Sporty Spice
Digitally fused in an abortion
Oh, Kenny fans will doubtless rave
While Satchmo turns inside his grave
Soprano man's bit off more than his portion

Brainless pentatonic riffs
Display our Kenny's arcane gifts
But we don't care, his charms are so beguiling
He does play sharp, but let's be fair
He has such lovely crinkly hair
We hardly notice, we're too busy smiling

How does he hold those notes so long?
He must be a genius. Wrong!
He just has the mindlessness to do it
He makes Britney sound like scat
If this is jazz I'll eat my hat
An idle threat, I'll never have to chew it

So next time you're in a rendezvous
And Kenny's sound comes wafting through
Don't just wince, eliminate the cause
Rip the tape right off the muzak
Pull the plug, or steal a fuse, Jack
The whole room will drown you in applause

Yes, Kenny G has gone too far
The gloves are off, it's time to spar
Grab your hunting rifle, strap your colt on
It's open season on our Ken
Yet I await the moment when
We lay off him and start on Michael Bolton

Oh, I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny
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Old 03-29-2010, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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You get no argument from me. The one thing I would say is that I think the smooth jazz format became to constricted for jazz musicians to really see it as an opportunity to do anything except make money, which isn't of itself a bad thing. Why not write pop tunes or work on Wall Street is you want to make money.

But if you want to do large grandeur projects where you take 8-10-16 musicians out on the road, like Metheny has done, funding becomes a big issue. Christoph Eschenbach's or Michael Tilson Thomas conduct orchestras with 60+ people in them . .. puts a lot of people to work. The performance of certain types of music or to have certain types of aspirations in music necessitates a lot of cash flow. Those types of projects are not going to generate the per capita income of a successful punk rock trio like Green Day. There is a cultural advantage of major orchestras and prominent jazz ensembles. You have to argue that other wise why bother. Everyone could spend their lives listening to The Ramones. But much great music was not profitable in the life of its composer. So even though I argue that, I also know it to be true. And I know that stands in the way of your Libertarian ideology. So be it.
"Libertarian ideology?" I hate the Libertarians! Well, not hate as in "hate," you know, but theirs' is a philosophy of let the white rich people run everything and the rest of us can all go to hell.

Nope, no Libertarian ideology in this drummer.

Edit: I apologize for my brief political editorial.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

keep it simple, You asked the question "What Is Real Jazz?"
Capetown Ambush By Monk is what I consider to be Real Jazz. Man, I love that tune!

I also have the ability to like smooth Jazz. Perhaps I am a misfit! If so, then so be it!
I feel that there is room for both Real and Smooth jazz in the world.
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Old 03-29-2010, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Capetown Ambush By Monk is what I consider to be Real Jazz. Man, I love that tune!
Good tune, yes, but it's by T.S. Monk, Thelonious' son, who's the drummer on that track.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Good tune, yes, but it's by T.S. Monk, Thelonious' son, who's the drummer on that track.
I haven't been able to find out to much about that Track except that It was written in part by Thelonious Senior and finished by his son and performed at The Monk Jazz Institute.
If someone can clarify, I would be grateful to know the true answer.
TS was the drummer I believe.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Pat. M is coming to town. I may go see him.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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I haven't been able to find out to much about that Track except that It was written in part by Thelonious and finished by his son and performed at The Monk Jazz Institute.
If someone can clarify, I would be grateful to know the true answer.
TS was the drummer I believe.
Aha. Found it here. It's on T.S. Monk's CD "Take One."

"Cape Town Ambush" was written by Donald Brown, a piano player who once played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:38 AM
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Aha. Found it here. It's on T.S. Monk's CD "Take One."

"Cape Town Ambush" was written by Donald Brown, a piano player who once played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
That tune was sent to me from a friend from Berklee along with several other Monk tunes.
I guess that I got the story wrong.
Thank you.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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That tune was sent to me from a friend from Berklee along with several other Monk tunes.
I guess that I got the story wrong.
Thank you.
Bob, considering how right you always get stuff you're entitled to get one little thing wrong every once in a blue moon, bro.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:36 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Speaking of inferior forms of music that masquerade as jazz.
I really like the drumming in this crap piece of work!
I hope that you all can bare your way through it.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
This is the crux of it right here. No Louis Armstrong was not the Kenny G of his day, and this again is one of the greater issues that Pat is talking about. General musical confusion. When you're talking about Pops, you are talking about an incredible musician with impeccable phrasing, tone, pitch, invention never mind personality. He created the role of the soloist in jazz and popular music in general; and influenced generations of instrumentalists and singers a like. Kenny G knows that.

Why is jazz so special? Why is Fletcher Henderson, Ellington or Bill Evans so special? As Abe pointed out music that is is accessible is usually not as special. Jazz has a rich harmonic language for one that in the case those mentioned above did not come out of the bluebut out of their assimilating the harmonic language of Debussy, Ravel, Bartok and even Schoenberg to some regard. I am a drummer, I don't solo in the same way a sax or pianist does, and my harmonic knowledge is limited. I do know that these harmonic changes create great vehicles for soloing, The blues scale can be a very interesting melodic and harmonic device because it has a major and minor intervals as well as a tritone at its disposal. From there you have the modal basis of musical theory that includes the addition of melodic characteristics. When you are soloing, you have to understand the melodic character of the changes, the scales that they are based on and this helps point you in the direction you will go.

In Smooth jazz the harmonic vocabulary is more limited. Kenny G, as Pat pointed out, uses a lot of pentatonic melodies. One of the things about pentatonic melodies is that it is hard to write a bad one. Take you fingers over the black notes of the piano, "Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise." Everything sounds nice. That is because in a pentatonic scale there is no dissonance. There are no interesting intervals like a tritone, a minor sixth or minor seventh. There is no chromaticism. Everything is at least step a part. This creates no drama, no tension and no interest. Most folk melodies are based on the pentatonic scale. The argument is that as such, smooth jazz does not use harmony or even the blues scale as the great jazz players employed it; but relies on very simple harmonic exploration for its soloing.

From there you have the interplay of a great jazz ensemble, the counterpoint, the nuance, the drama comes into play. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jFL1KuvSyo

Again, a keyboard player would more readily give a better analysis.
Ken, if you're going to weigh up the other Ken with Miles, how about Miles's cover of a pop tune, which is ostensibly smooth jazz: Time After Time?

I've found a sound clip of Kenny's band live playing Midnight Motion.

The main differences apparent to these untrained ears are the voicing, phrasing and dynamics. Miles's playing is more sensitive, emotional and vulnerable. Not that that necessarily denotes "jazz" since there are many jazz solos that are like technical fortresses. Miles's backing in that tune is more jazzy, whereas Kenny's crew is more funk-oriented. Of course Kenny doesn't use space like Miles, but who does?

Really, for all the flak the ole Ken receives, he and his band are a pretty damn slick unit, whatever anyone wants to call the music. Not my style but if that band's crappola I'll eat my hat.
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Old 03-30-2010, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I don't know why Kenny G would even be mentioned in the same breath as jazz.
I had to laugh when he once boasted that Miles Davis had personally told him that he (Davis) thought that he (Kenny G) could really play.
I just imagined how Miles must have forced himself to keep a straight face, if he indeed did mention something like that. He might have meant that Kenny G could indeed play his instrument, but he can not play jazz.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Ken, if you're going to weigh up the other Ken with Miles, how about Miles's cover of a pop tune, which is ostensibly smooth jazz: Time After Time?

I've found a sound clip of Kenny's band live playing Midnight Motion.

The main differences apparent to these untrained ears are the voicing, phrasing and dynamics. Miles's playing is more sensitive, emotional and vulnerable. Not that that necessarily denotes "jazz" since there are many jazz solos that are like technical fortresses. Miles's backing in that tune is more jazzy, whereas Kenny's crew is more funk-oriented. Of course Kenny doesn't use space like Miles, but who does?

Really, for all the flak the ole Ken receives, he and his band are a pretty damn slick unit, whatever anyone wants to call the music. Not my style but if that band's crappola I'll eat my hat.
I actually liked when Miles did Cyndi's tune. My friend in college used to study with her vocal coach. I got to head a lot of first hand stories about what a diva she was and how difficult she could be. She would show up to lesson in a limousine. But Cyndi has some pipes and she had a five octave range back then.

Whatever Miles does, it is still Miles doing it and Miles making a little money was surely someone who deserved to make a little money. Like I've said, I am not the guy who hates popular jazz. I am not the guy who hates it when Herbie or Manhattan Transfer have a hit. I don't get all bent out of shape. I certainly don't have a problem with musicians making money. The original of the Cyndi cover is a little bit uninteresting; but this live version does perk it up a bit.

There has always been a problem with artists crossing over to the pop arena, like that guy Dylan. Ella had the same problem and the song books were a way of .doing a more popular repertoire. That was a good marketing idea. I like some of the song books; but they tend to be hit or miss. But Ella with Basie was quite good all around.

It's funny to listen to the bass on the Kenny track and it sounds like warmed over Stanley Clarke. The thing about smooth jazz again is that it was a marketing label, a bunch of suits researching that people like the word 'smooth' for a genre and of course jazz would give it some sophistication. It is not a genre developed by jazz musicians. I have pretty good pitch; but to a lot of musicians, probably with better pitch than me, think Kenny's pitch is sharp and they think his tone is poor. I am not so arrogant that I am going to say well they're only great jazz artists what do they know. I know better what defines jazz than great artists who perform it for a living, scholars who spend their life studying it, and people who make the sacrifice to do what they love in this life.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

The funny aspect of what is jazz and what is pop, is that many so-called jazz standards were original show tunes, pop tunes or Broadway tunes, that were adapted by jazz bands.

I can't stand Kenny G, but this whole argument that he can't be considered "jazz' because he's "pop" is silly based on how much jazz comes from other sources. And so much jazz was the "pop" music of it's time.

Or are we going to say Buddy Rich's "West Side Story" doesn't count either?
"Summertime" is one of more recorded jazz standards, with versions done by everyone from Duke Ellington Miles, Blakley, to Coltrane. Yet it came from George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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The funny aspect of what is jazz and what is pop, is that many so-called jazz standards were original show tunes, pop tunes or Broadway tunes, that were adapted by jazz bands.

I can't stand Kenny G, but this whole argument that he can't be considered "jazz' because he's "pop" is silly based on how much jazz comes from other sources. And so much jazz was the "pop" music of it's time.

Or are we going to say Buddy Rich's "West Side Story" doesn't count either?
"Summertime" is one of more recorded jazz standards, with versions done by everyone from Duke Ellington Miles, Blakley, to Coltrane. Yet it came from George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess."

Because it not so much the choice of the tune but more of the whole meat of the matter on the conceptual end that helps greatly with defining the parameters of the jazz content within. Again from a jazz musicians education, experience and overall musical background with those ears it's a easy one to answer based on that knowledge base of the core elements coming from the very jazz "root" tree however extended on the outer branches it can get.

It's not the tune but the content within on the individual player end or an ensemble or arranger/composer approach that the answer to the question is given......... at least for this actual jazz musician it does. As I said recently the true answer lies on where your own take on your personal experience on the subject of jazz sits.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:42 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Because it not so much the choice of the tune but more of the whole meat of the matter on the conceptual end that helps greatly with defining the parameters of the jazz content within. Again from a jazz musicians education, experience and overall musical background with those ears it's a easy one to answer based on that knowledge base of the core elements coming from the very jazz "root" tree however extended on the outer branches it can get.

It's not the tune but the content within on the individual player end or an ensemble or arranger/composer approach that the answer to the question is given......... at least for this actual jazz musician it does. As I said recently the true answer lies on where your own take on your personal experience on the subject of jazz sits.
Fair enough.

But early Benny Goodman? Woody Herman? A lot of early swing and big band was very "pop" for it's time period.

(and no, I'm not comparing their skills).
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Fair enough.

But early Benny Goodman? Woody Herman? A lot of early swing and big band was very "pop" for it's time period.

(and no, I'm not comparing their skills).
But is it Jazz? Haha, you just stepped in it...........................sorry, couldn't resist............;-}
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Wasn't "The Charleston" considered to be a Jazz tune in the Roaring Twenties?
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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But early Benny Goodman? Woody Herman? A lot of early swing and big band was very "pop" for it's time period.
Yes... the actual content, inner details and concepts within can be directly traced back to the root {jazz} tree.
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