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  #401  
Old 04-04-2010, 12:31 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

to me i would define 'jazz' by the chords/progressions and scales used. and the arrangement/accents/etc. ofcourse the drumming comes into too, but.
i mean ska-punk music uses brass/woodwind all the time, but that isn't jazz. i could be completely wrong, because i don't really listen to a lot of it, but that is what i would say.
if i'm wrong then feel free to shoot me. :)
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  #402  
Old 04-05-2010, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

The definition of jazz:

"Man, If you gotta ask you'll never know" - Louis Armstrong
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Don't worry, Johnny. None of us who actually listen to and play jazz regularly "have to ask " or define it.
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  #404  
Old 04-06-2010, 06:36 AM
Michael McDanial Michael McDanial is offline
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
All true. But such limitations are not limited to jazz.

Look how many posts blow off metal as nothing but "Loud guitars with some guy screaming "hail satan"" without realizing there are 101 variations of metal, some of which have the complexity and sensitivity of other forms of music.

Or how many people blow off all country as the bland twangy pop music on the radio, without looking at someone like Johnny Cash is also considered country.

Most of my generation was brought up that classical is boring back ground music to put on at nap time when in pre-school, yet the 1812 Overture would never qualify as nap time music.

Or the kids who think The Who are just that band that does the CSI theme songs.
I agree, but at the same time metal and country get a lot more exposure than jazz which allows for a much greater chance that people are going to be exposed to something in that style which will change their opinions.

The difference here is that you have something that is not jazz being labeled as jazz, which in turn has turned many people off to ever exploring jazz due to the fact that they think that all jazz music sounds like Kenny G. It would be different if they formed that opinion after hearing a little bit of Miles Davis from 'Kind of Blue' (one of my all-time favorite albums). It would be unfortunate that they would base their entire opinion of jazz on one or two songs they heard by Miles that they didn't care for, but at least it would be real jazz. So the conflict really comes from the fact that jazz is receiving a negative stereotype as being dull and boring in a lot of people's minds because of another type of music that isn't even jazz being labeled as jazz.

As I said before, just because something is played on a saxophone doesn't make it jazz, and that's really all that smooth jazz has in common with real jazz. It's like categorizing anything sung by somebody with a Jamaican accent as being reggae.


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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
Don't worry, Johnny. None of us who actually listen to and play jazz regularly "have to ask " or define it.

Couldn't agree more. You could spend the next hundred years trying to define jazz, and you still won't have an all encompassing definition. Maybe the problem is that our society is so obsessed with defining things and putting them in their own little box that people are missing the point entirely. I think one of the great things about jazz is that it CAN'T be defined. However, just because you can't write down a clear cut, one-size-fits-all definition doesn't mean that you can label anything that you want as being jazz. If you really know jazz, you won't have to question whether something is jazz.
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  #405  
Old 04-07-2010, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Originally Posted by Michael McDanial View Post

The difference here is that you have something that is not jazz being labeled as jazz, which in turn has turned many people off to ever exploring jazz due to the fact that they think that all jazz music sounds like Kenny G.

Couldn't agree more. You could spend the next hundred years trying to define jazz, and you still won't have an all encompassing definition. .
I think this is a contradiction,.We do live upon a big paradox, and a paradox or contradiction that I am okay with.

In order to say Kenny G is not jazz, you need to have a working conceptual framework or definition of what jazz is. Academic definitions are often not fortified enough to hold the tide when you really get a look into the music. But they do give a conceptual framework in which to work and in that sense they do deepens ones appreciation of the music. They are a starting point.


Wynton defined the jazz tradition the way he did largely because he was a black nationalist back in the day. Farrakhan actually likes Kenny G. It's interesting that when I was an undergraduate Ragtime was not considered part of the jazz tradition, where as now it often is. (I always thought it was.) Will r and b be seen as a part of the jazz tradition? Things change when you have enough hindsight. If you keep on spreading out what jazz is, it becomes harder to generalize a definition. If you don't define the core elements and make-up of the art form, you are left with anybody being able to say that anything is jazz.

Another issue is that the best of Jazz music will be remembered in one hundred years. In that sense you need to develop an understanding of why. I think Polly was right that their are different levels of jazz, a more popular level and a more serious level. The question to ask is when the popular level stops becoming jazz.

btw You can say the same for country as well. You have the tradition of the outlaws and highway men, as well as alternative country, that has reacted against the rhinestone mainstream. The former is the music that people remember in the long run.
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  #406  
Old 04-07-2010, 09:30 AM
aydee aydee is offline
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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
I think this is a contradiction,.We do live upon a big paradox, and a paradox or contradiction that I am okay with.

In order to say Kenny G is not jazz, you need to have a working conceptual framework or definition of what jazz is. Academic definitions are often not fortified enough to hold the tide when you really get a look into the music. But they do give a conceptual framework in which to work and in that sense they do deepens ones appreciation of the music. They are a starting point.


Wynton defined the jazz tradition the way he did largely because he was a black nationalist back in the day. Farrakhan actually likes Kenny G. It's interesting that when I was an undergraduate Ragtime was not considered part of the jazz tradition, where as now it often is. (I always thought it was.) Will r and b be seen as a part of the jazz tradition? Things change when you have enough hindsight. If you keep on spreading out what jazz is, it becomes harder to generalize a definition. If you don't define the core elements and make-up of the art form, you are left with anybody being able to say that anything is jazz.

Another issue is that the best of Jazz music will be remembered in one hundred years. In that sense you need to develop an understanding of why. I think Polly was right that their are different levels of jazz, a more popular level and a more serious level. The question to ask is when the popular level stops becoming jazz.
Great post, and Ken raises a good point. The transient nature of what is good will always keep us guessing where status quo stands. It might always be a moving target, though we will know in our hearts, what we believe to be good.

I hear the The Beatles in hotel elevators all the time. The same four guys who re-defined the word music, let alone pop music just a couple of generations ago.

Keeping personal tastes aside, I found it intriguing that Metheny would slap KG so hard and publicly chastise him. That has to be coming from an invisible line that KG crossed. I think that line has more to do with honesty of purpose or the lack of ) rather than any of the other motives discussed here. Just my take on it..

This also reminds me of what Miles hoarsely whispered to Wayne Shorter when Wayne announced to him that he was going to form a band with Zawinul ( Weather Report ). He leaned over and said " Wayne, dont give anything away".



Ok, so how about a thread about why is Jazz so fiercely defended?

...

Last edited by aydee; 04-07-2010 at 09:48 AM.
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  #407  
Old 04-07-2010, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Keeping personal tastes aside, I found it intriguing that Metheny would slap KG so hard and publicly chastise him. That has to be coming from an invisible line that KG crossed. I think that line has more to do with honesty of purpose or the lack of ) rather than any of the other motives discussed here. Just my take on it..
I'm sure he does feel that way but IMO the main reason is that Pat resents Kenny's lowering of the bar and he doesn't want serious jazz people pressured into playing Kenny's wallpaper.


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Ok, so how about a thread about why is Jazz so fiercely defended?
Easy answer again. Jazz is a difficult genre to play well and it takes dedication to get good at it. Dedicated people are passionate people, and passionate people are annoying pains in the backside who get in people's faces. But we still love 'em because what they give via their art touches us.
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  #408  
Old 04-07-2010, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Keeping personal tastes aside, I found it intriguing that Metheny would slap KG so hard and publicly chastise him. That has to be coming from an invisible line that KG crossed.
Don't forget the specific reason Pat mentioned in the full written interview though! He said he talked specifically to some kids in a Polish tv appearance, or something like that. He wasn't aware the very excerpt would spread all over the internet.
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  #409  
Old 04-07-2010, 02:52 PM
Michael McDanial Michael McDanial is offline
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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
I think this is a contradiction,.We do live upon a big paradox, and a paradox or contradiction that I am okay with.

In order to say Kenny G is not jazz, you need to have a working conceptual framework or definition of what jazz is. Academic definitions are often not fortified enough to hold the tide when you really get a look into the music. But they do give a conceptual framework in which to work and in that sense they do deepens ones appreciation of the music. They are a starting point.


Wynton defined the jazz tradition the way he did largely because he was a black nationalist back in the day. Farrakhan actually likes Kenny G. It's interesting that when I was an undergraduate Ragtime was not considered part of the jazz tradition, where as now it often is. (I always thought it was.) Will r and b be seen as a part of the jazz tradition? Things change when you have enough hindsight. If you keep on spreading out what jazz is, it becomes harder to generalize a definition. If you don't define the core elements and make-up of the art form, you are left with anybody being able to say that anything is jazz.

Another issue is that the best of Jazz music will be remembered in one hundred years. In that sense you need to develop an understanding of why. I think Polly was right that their are different levels of jazz, a more popular level and a more serious level. The question to ask is when the popular level stops becoming jazz.

btw You can say the same for country as well. You have the tradition of the outlaws and highway men, as well as alternative country, that has reacted against the rhinestone mainstream. The former is the music that people remember in the long run.
So does that mean until we have a clear, strict definition of jazz, then anything can be considered jazz or anyone can be considered a jazz musician? Here is a post from one of the members on the jazz forum of which I am a member in a thread about smooth jazz:


"I think that if smooth jazz called itself smooth pop that no jazz fans would care one way or the other.

What if smooth jazz did not change at all as a music, but was marketed by the music industry with the name Smooth Metal, or Smooth Hip Hop--the fans of real metal and real hip hop would not like that. I think that jazz fans feel that smooth jazz has nothing to do with jazz, and don't like the use of the word jazz to sell it.

This defining issue is not the point. One could say, "hey, this smooth music has song forms, clearly defined beats, uses guitars, just like metal--so it's smooth metal. Now how do you exactly define metal to be able to exclude this music? You can't! So metal has no definition. So Smooth Metal is really part of metal."

At some point, a musical genre just isn't another musical genre. So it is with jazz and the stuff they have chosen to call "smooth jazz"."

So how come Kenny G's music isn't labeled as smooth metal? How come Metallica isn't labeled as a jazz group? Just because you can't put it in it's own confined little box doesn't mean that jazz music doesn't have certain characteristics that make it jazz. My ear let's me know if something is jazz, not a dictionary.
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  #410  
Old 04-07-2010, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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So does that mean until we have a clear, strict definition of jazz, then anything can be considered jazz or anyone can be considered a jazz musician?
No, just the opposite. :) But I think that clearly states why you need a definition.


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"I think that if smooth jazz called itself smooth pop that no jazz fans would care one way or the other.

I actually said the same thing some three pages ago; that in essence if smooth jazz were called smooth r and b no one would have a fuss. The reasoning to call it jazz is to give it artistic merit. But Pat thinks such meit needs to be earned like all the greats did.


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Originally Posted by aydee View Post


Keeping personal tastes aside, I found it intriguing that Metheny would slap KG so hard and publicly chastise him. That has to be coming from an invisible line that KG crossed. I think that line has more to do with honesty of purpose or the lack of ) rather than any of the other motives discussed here. Just my take on it..


Ok, so how about a thread about why is Jazz so fiercely defended?

...

It's also a funny aspect that jazz aficionados, those snobs, see this invisible line so clearly; whereas the average public doesn't see it at all.

I'm game for that thread. :)
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  #411  
Old 04-08-2010, 12:21 AM
Michael McDanial Michael McDanial is offline
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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No, just the opposite. :) But I think that clearly states why you need a definition.
Well, start a thread about defining jazz and I guarantee that you can get a thread a hundred pages long and still not come up with a clear, definitive definition of jazz. Trust me, this topic has been brought up several times on the All About Jazz forum where I am a member, and it's always had the same result. By now the regular members there have gotten so tired of it that when somebody new starts a thread on it they just post a link of the old threads and tell them to go there. Go on the forum and search for the threads. There are several of them on there.

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I actually said the same thing some three pages ago; that in essence if smooth jazz were called smooth r and b no one would have a fuss. The reasoning to call it jazz is to give it artistic merit. But Pat thinks such meit needs to be earned like all the greats did.
The main reason why smooth jazz got it's label was because many of the leading musicians were saxophonists. Saxophone was an instrument that was rarely used and not very respected before it started being used in jazz. Pretty soon the instrument pretty much became synonymous with jazz to a lot of people. This is why it was easy for the companies marketing this form of instrumental pop to associate it with jazz and call it smooth jazz with no problem among the general public.

Look at how many metal drummers out there use a double bass setup. Does this mean that Louie Bellson and Ray McKinley were the first metal musicians? Does anybody who writes/performs a song with rhyming lyrics automatically make them a rapper? This is certainly a characteristic of rap, just as improvisation is a huge part of jazz, but does that mean that a song without rhyming lyrics can not be a rap song? Can a song not be a jazz song if it doesn't involve improvisation? You see, here we're running into the same problem we run into when trying to define jazz. It's the same problem you'll see when you look at those defining jazz threads on the All About Jazz forum.


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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
It's also a funny aspect that jazz aficionados, those snobs, see this invisible line so clearly; whereas the average public doesn't see it at all.

I'm game for that thread. :)
Here we go with the whole snobbery thing again. I love how people always say it's wrong to stereotype, but they seem to have no problem doing that here with jazz musicians and aficionados. Jazz aficionados can see the line so clearly because they are very knowledgeable about jazz. They've listened to it/studied it so much that something which the average man on the street may have trouble recognizing, such as the difference between jazz and instrumental pop labeled as smooth jazz, is quite clear to them.

Isn't this the case with everything? Wouldn't anybody who has taken the time and effort to really learn about something be able to see any differences right away? A lot of people that are very well versed in art could easily point out or recognize a phony reproduction of a famous painting that I, or any other average joe out there would never be able to tell the difference between the fake one and the real thing. What you could easily convince me, or an average joe with little or no knowledge of art, as an authentic painting by a famous artist would have an expert in art laughing at you for even trying to pass off such a thing as being authentic.

So does that mean that anybody who has even the smallest amount of knowledge about something can claim to be an expert in that field? Does this mean that somebody who read one biography of Martin Luther King Jr. can now call themselves an expert on African American history? How about somebody with a basic knowledge on how to use a first aid kit to treat cuts/scrapes calling themselves a doctor? Would an African American history professor or a doctor be pissed off at people claiming these titles? You're darn right they would, and rightfully so. I'm a teacher and I get pissed off when some politician who has no experience working in my field acts like he's an expert in education because they have the power to make laws affecting the educational system. Do I have a good reason to be pissed off about this? I sure as heck think I do. Does it make the history professor, the doctor, or myself to be snobs for feeling this way?

A lot of country aficionados consider the popular country of today to not be real country, but just a form of pop music with some country influence, and they can get pretty heated about it. Are they right? I don't know. I'm not very knowledgeable about country music, so who am I to go and say they're wrong and just accuse them of being snobs? What might seem like a blurred line to me may appear to be clear as day to them.

Also, if you want to see some snobbery, you should see how some of the metal and rock musicians I have met have talked about country music. The way they talked about it you would think that country music had no right even being called music.

I'm not a country fan (other than listening to Johnny Cash), but I do respect it and the musicians who play it. I'm sure they're just as serious about their music as myself and other jazz musicians are about our music.

So why don't we just stop stereotyping jazz musicians and aficionados as snobs? Musicians and aficionados of other forms of music are certainly no better.

Postscript: An even better example is the number of people today who complain that modern day punk music is not real punk and that real punk is dead. I do like some punk music, but like country, I'm far from being any kind of expert on it. They obviously see a clear line being drawn from early punk and the music labeled as punk nowadays. I couldn't tell you the characteristics that make the two so different that they can recognize right away. Funny, but I never hear these people that claim that something is not real country or not real punk being labeled as snobs. That negative label and stereotype seems to be exclusively for the jazz musicians.

Last edited by Michael McDanial; 04-08-2010 at 12:54 AM.
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  #412  
Old 04-08-2010, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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The main reason why smooth jazz got it's label was because many of the leading musicians were saxophonists. Saxophone was an instrument that was rarely used and not very respected before it started being used in jazz. Pretty soon the instrument pretty much became synonymous with jazz to a lot of people. This is why it was easy for the companies marketing this form of instrumental pop to associate it with jazz and call it smooth jazz with no problem among the general public.
Smooth Jazz was a term coined by the Muzak Corporation in the early 80s, used to describe a genre of instrumental music/ of a jazz like configuaration/ they were attempting to sell in block proportions to the up and coming public radio stations, who at the time were upset that jazz listeners were not contributing enough money to their bi annual fund drives.

For those not aware, Muzak is much more than a genre of background music. It is in reality an insanely influential company based outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. And yes they are the same people responsible for the music in supermarkets, dentist's offices, elevators etc. In the beginning they used a large number of players from the non union PTL ministries, which at the time was the pinnacle of Christian broadcasting. PTL even once boasted the third largest amusement park in the world/ after Disneyworld and Disneyland/. And yes because of their tie in with contemporary Christian music, there were those kinds of saxophone and guitar players all over that region.

I was born 45 minutes from there and knew a bunch of that old crowd growing up. Their PTL leadership used to be two nutcases named Jim and Tammy Bakker who I hear were very famous in the 80s before they were caught up in a sex scandal.

Muzak Inc. supposedly engaged in a lot of research to discover what public radio people would and would not like. So they took a little of this and a little of that until they had this lab experiment that appealed to old 30 something 80s yuppies/mostly women/ while still holding on to peripheral jazz listeners who would check out David Sanborn/a great player btw/ but would never get into Coltrane etc.

It was no shock that the Southeast was one of the first places to accept this stuff. It's a complicated issue. But to say that product has/had anything to do with the evolution of jazz would be a mistake. It's simply an artificial music like product that has the word jazz included in its name as a way of hooking and cornering a tiny market/jazz/ that not that many people were paying attention to. Although the jazz market was small, they already had an infrastructure with decades of use set in place, making them an attractive target for a takeover of sorts. However, things got confusing when popular jazz-pop crossover guys gave up on calling their music something else and just accepted the smooth jazz term to get along. So in the end Muzak got everything it wanted including a ready made section in the CD store.

Strange business.
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  #413  
Old 04-08-2010, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

[quote=Michael McDanial;685806}



So why don't we just stop stereotyping jazz music.[/QUOTE]

Well, the snob thing was meant in jest. I was actually the one called a snob.

I teach Music Appreciation, and I get a classroom full of students who come in, many of whom would not know the difference between a soprano sax, an alto or an oboe, much less even an harmonica. By the end of the semester, hopefully they do and can start to distinguish these things. So to read the definition of a 'snob' as someone who believes that their listening is somewhat 'superior' to others, and to say that that is a bad thing is a joke in my book It is 'superior' to be able to distinguish instruments, never mind form, harmony or genre.

To me, it would seem snobbish to actually believe that all music or all listening is value neutral, as I have elucidated many times in my posts, or to believe that everyone gets an equal vote when it comes to musical aesthetics. That's what you get in forums and in the marketplace. But in the final draw, it is only the most knowledgeable of listeners who are going to go back and listen to music from yesteryear, never mind popular music from yesteryear. How many Stephen Foster tunes can most people identify, even musicians?

When a listener is listening to jazz, is that listener hearing the chromatic harmony, micro-tonality or the syncopation? Can the listener distinguish the melody? Does the listener know the difference between a drum set and a drum machine? Can the listener hear aspects of the form and understand what improvisation and which instrument is soloing and how, then maybe which artist? These are real issues you deal with when teaching music.

You need to define things because that is how you discuss them. There are core elements of jazz: improvisation, chromatic harmonic language, syncopated rhythms or use of certain instrumentation that you can identify. It is not going to say that every jazz piece is going to have these elements and in the same way any more then you can codify the use of sonata form and say every classical piece does this. It's uniqueness is what makes it art.

Jazz needs to be defined because that is how you teach it. You need to have a conceptual framework even to explain how certain artists have reacted against status quo. it needs to be defended because there are elements of jazz that make it a great art form, not only because of its history but because of its methodology, its way of making music. You want people to understand its greatness and how artists go about making great music. That's snobbery, that's life and that's something worth defending.

Nice post Matt.
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  #414  
Old 04-08-2010, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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But to say that product has/had anything to do with the evolution of jazz would be a mistake. It's simply an artificial music like product that has the word jazz included in its name as a way of hooking and cornering a tiny market/jazz/ that not that many people were paying attention to.
An "artificial music-like product". Matt, you have no idea what you have given birth to here. I love it! It describes so much of the cookie cutter crap that they throw at us today. Just like that cheese-like product that nobody can determine if it is liquid, if it is solid, or even more important, is it even digestible? Music is starting to emulate the fast food industry, sure enough!
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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An "artificial music-like product". Matt, you have no idea what you have given birth to here. I love it! It describes so much of the cookie cutter crap that they throw at us today. Just like that cheese-like product that nobody can determine if it is liquid, if it is solid, or even more important, is it even digestible? Music is starting to emulate the fast food industry, sure enough!
And this is where the G thing comes in.

The legend is that Kenny Gorlik was quite the serious musician in his up and coming late 1970s days. My grandfather says he once heard him at a place in Minneapolis called the Riverview Supper Club, where his playing was so hot that people were standing on their chairs cheering. And most of that was for his bebop playing, where according to that generation he was playing a mostly hard edged tenor, a soprano in the style of Coltrane and most especially a flute that everyone raved about. When I first got serious about jazz, I heard the story again and again of Gorlik's amazing 20 minute versions of Cherokee. Supposedly he was one of the true bright stars of the future and was entirely accepted by the jazz community.

Then around 1980 he joined Jeff Lorber's pop oriented fusion band, but because of his original homage to bebop, jazz guys sort of gave him a pass with Lorber, and truth be known a lot of puritan jazz guys enjoy Lorber but don't always share it. In that band he was still a very exciting player, full of originality while rarely repeating his improvisations.
OK the jazz puritans said. All's still cool. After all even Sonny Rollins once played a Dolly Parton song.

Then about a year later, Columbia or Warner Bros. gave him a record deal and that was the beginning of the change. Apparently he was willing to accept handlers to get to the next step while improvisations were now often the same solo every night, which is a big no no in jazz.

Then it was somebody at the record company's bright idea to feature him as one of the stars of tommorrow on of all places The Oprah Show. He was apparently the hit of the program and Oprah christened him one of the new stars of the world. I've seen video of this show. It was even once on youtube. He played some pop tune and circular breathed some phrase for like a minute and everybody went nuts. Supposedly, he had also used circular breathing in his early jazz days as a way of effectively extending his original phrases. But this was the first time he did it just to show off. As you can see all the signs were already out there, and in the eyes of the jazz puritans the devil was in fact beginning to show his horns.

My dad says he used to love the guy, and actually tried to impress my David Sanborn loving mom with tickets to one of the early G shows, when they were still dating. Story was that Dad was shocked when G walked out on stage minus his trademark coat and collared shirt and was instead wearing a red jumpsuit. He played soprano almost exclusively and had obviously gone to great lengths to drastically change his tone. See, after the Oprah show he got new management, and supposedly one of the guys was from Fort Mill, South Carolina which is the Charlotte suburb where Muzak Inc is located.

It was all too coincidental and soon the stories were out/true or not/ that G had direct ties to Muzak, which of course tied him right into their Smooth Jazz market, and ready made network of public radio stations that soon spilled into the adult contemporary market. Soon Smooth Jazz had two formally small but well organized markets, and the G cult following was able to grow very quickly, especially when he was also the As seen on Oprah guy.

When that one G solo CD sold all those millions of copies, CD stores saw the word jazz and thought they could at last get rid of those stupid jazz recordings that they felt weren't selling enough. Soon those Dexter Gordon reissues were in the cutouts and G's Smooth Jazz was there in its place. Soon, people tried to copy the G success and actually intentionally tried to copy him to make money. Then of course some other clever guys saw all that Sanborn, Brecker Bros, George Benson CTI crossover stuff from the 70s and just threw that into the same rack to cop on a kind of fake lineage that never actually existed.

In my opinion this is where the G hate comes from. Not only was the term jazz redefined by Muzak chemists and sold as the real deal. It was forwarded willingly and deliberately by a guy who had true jazz apostle potential, which is in some people's way of thinking the true definition of a sell out.

And in the mind of a jazz puritan selling out guarantees you a one way ticket to hell.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:10 PM
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Nice post again, Matt. That puts everything in perspective. I think that a true great would have been able to bridge both worlds, and that would have abeen a god send for jazz in the '80s.

It would really be nice to hear some of your thoughts on some of the other issues this question brings.
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

First off, I didn't realize you were being sarcastic Deltadrummer. It's much harder to tell when reading it in writing as opposed to speaking to somebody face to face, where your tone of voice can make it obvious that you're being sarcastic.

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You need to define things because that is how you discuss them. There are core elements of jazz: improvisation, chromatic harmonic language, syncopated rhythms or use of certain instrumentation that you can identify. It is not going to say that every jazz piece is going to have these elements and in the same way any more then you can codify the use of sonata form and say every classical piece does this. It's uniqueness is what makes it art.

Jazz needs to be defined because that is how you teach it. You need to have a conceptual framework even to explain how certain artists have reacted against status quo. it needs to be defended because there are elements of jazz that make it a great art form, not only because of its history but because of its methodology, its way of making music. You want people to understand its greatness and how artists go about making great music. That's snobbery, that's life and that's something worth defending.
Well, we're in agreement in that we both feel that there are certain characteristics of the music (like improvisation, the influence of the blues, and the swing feel) that help to identify it. My point was that we're not going to get a clear definition of jazz with strict lines being drawn where we can just say "this is what jazz is", because there are always going to be cases where there are exceptions. What will really help people to identify jazz would be to listen to a lot of jazz from all eras. This will help people to hear those things that make jazz what it is. As I said in my previous post, somebody with a lot of knowledge of jazz who has listened to many, many hours of jazz and put in much effort in studying it, will see the line drawn between real jazz and smooth jazz clear as day. Yet, at the same time, people with very little to no knowledge of jazz have a difficult time distinguishing the two.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I don't think that we are in disagreement about anything, Michael.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Matt, that was an outstanding and valuable post. Loved it.

I found it hard to imagine how someone could play at his level without being passionate at least at one time. That's filled in what was, for me, the missing pieces. It looked like a lineage to me before but now I can roughly see where the dividing line lies.

Thing is, The G is still apparently wedded to his Selmer so there must still be some passion left. It would be interesting to know how he feels about it, whether there is still a side to him that wistfully looks back on the days when he only played for love or whether the multi-millions he's made compensates. Very few of us ever have even the remotest chance of winning the musical lottery and when you have a family the temptation when such an opportunity arises must be huge.

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An "artificial music-like product". Matt, you have no idea what you have given birth to here. I love it! It describes so much of the cookie cutter crap that they throw at us today. Just like that cheese-like product that nobody can determine if it is liquid, if it is solid, or even more important, is it even digestible? Music is starting to emulate the fast food industry, sure enough!
Doctor, the term "music-like product" cracked me up too. We could open up a whole new can of worms. Never mind the "is it jazz?" question ... is it real music? Maybe good for another dozen or so pages? :)
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:02 AM
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I don't think that we are in disagreement about anything, Michael.
Sorry, didn't mean to imply we were on different sides. We were just elaborating on our points in our own way. I think it was just how we were explaining our points that caused some confusion as to what we were saying in our posts.

Cheers
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:17 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Kenneth Bruce Gorelick.................
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Old 04-09-2010, 10:59 AM
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I think that a true great would have been able to bridge both worlds, and that would have abeen a god send for jazz in the '80s.
Well you know Ken, unlike you I wasn't around then, but wouldn't that person have been Pat Metheny had not Smooth Jazz showed up?

After all here was a guy with incredible crossover potential/the Lyle Mays recordings/ and was just as comfortable and real with jazz puritans like Bill Stewart, Ornette Coleman and many others. Thing is, I don't think Metheny's recordings have ever done him justice. I once heard him live and I thought he was going to tear my head off.

When Metheny made those statements a while back, I completely agreed with him. AND I could also understand how in his eyes he had something deprived him that in his eyes should have belonged to him. IMO this made him the most likely of all the big names to go after G in such a big and public way, although everybody knows that most jazz musicians had been saying the same things about him privately and in small public venues for years.

And yeah Polly, I do think he probably has regrets, although I don't see him giving back any of the money. And to be fair, making at least good money has been an unfair rap on G the overall guy. After all, Miles Davis and others went after that money themselves at various times during their careers. But it was more like a comparison between say Sanborn and G, where Sanborn/who is cool with the jazz community/ makes a quarter of million dollars most years doing quality work, whereas G squeezed into a jumpsuit and made a fool of himself for the 20 million, when that same very comfortable Sanborn money was also available to him without all the spiritual consequences of taking that final step. I think jazz musicians are cool with making a good wage, but selling out is a different ballgame.

How could you not have regrets about your status with the jazz crowd when you were once one of the main guys on a very different path? Now those same people see him as Satan incarnate. He is never invited to jazz events and is entirely blocked out by what is left of that community. Entirely true or not, he's seen as the sell out who killed what was left of any real jazz market once and for all. There is even a famous Far Side cartoon that portrays Charlie Parker's life in hell, locked in a recording studio, with Satan playing an endless stream of Kenny G records.

How could he like that?

I've been witness to the jazz life since the day I was born and it's something I'm proud of. Although I love other genres too, I feel the jazz and I'm proud of my heritage. I know there are a lot of people on forums who say I bring up my pedigree with all this too much, and I always answer that people who make this criticism are mostly people who don't have it. It's like this secret handshake or some club that you join for life. I think it just takes a whole lot to walk away from that, and when you do there are consequences.

After all, what's the use of all that other stuff if you don't have the respect of the people you used to care about the most?

I don't think that anyone if given the opportunity would know for sure what they would do if shown the same door G walked through.

It must have been tough for him. At least I hope it was. But he still did it, and I would like to think there's still enough regret left for laughs all the way to the bank not to apply.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:41 PM
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Well you know Ken, unlike you I wasn't around then, but wouldn't that person have been Pat Metheny had not Smooth Jazz showed up?

After all here was a guy with incredible crossover potential/the Lyle Mays recordings/ and was just as comfortable and real with jazz puritans like Bill Stewart, Ornette Coleman and many others. Thing is, I don't think Metheny's recordings have ever done him justice. I once heard him live and I thought he was going to tear my head of.

Part of the problem may be that people see Kenny G as a crossover artist and I am not sure that is the case. I haven't listened to his total discography to come up with an opinion. Pat is a crossover artist. In the late 1970s, Metheny was a guy that young people talked about in the same breadth as Dicky Betts or Peter Frampton. There are so many great crossover artists and even drummers like Lenny White and Steve Gadd, so to think that anyone is actually deprived of anything may be showing just how spoiled rotten we can be.:)

There is a tradition in American commercial music of giving people exactly what they want to hear. One could argue that it is the artist's role to create music the challenges their audience. But one has to be realistic about the fact the most listeners are not listening attentively to the music. It is background while driving, working, partying, eating or relaxing, etc. Rock and hip-hop have always exploited that. Also no matter how loyal a 16 year old is to an artist, that loyalty dissipates after marriage and children. People have other priorities.

Whether of not the 1980s were a low point in music (exemplified by Kenny G. :P) there were major differences among mainstream listeners. In the 1970s, people would go to concerts like Yes, The Dead or The Allmans and expect the band to jam. By the late 1970s, bands like Rush, Styx, Journey or Boston would come out and perform letter perfect renditions of their album cuts, and that is what people wanted to hear. They all had great singers. The audience cared less for improvisation and they wanted songs they could sing along too. That's really what rock music is about. I like that you can go to a Pearl Jam show and everyone knows the words. But when that is all that the audience wants, that really paves a difficult road for instrumental music. I would suggest that the preference for letter perfect renditions and sing along songs have been as serious impediment to jazz. It's a different model that blends aspect of classical and folk culture. and perhaps the legacy of The Beatles and progressive rock.

Speaking of crossovers and classical models, the other crossover artist of the 1980s was Wynton; that's a different story. But it still outlines this changing perspective of American music.
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Old 04-09-2010, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Matt, ff The G was once a jazz up-and-comer I assume he would have been right in key at the time. I wonder what prompted him to play sharp, as Pat M notes? Is there some allure to the average ear?

All this is conjuring up images of Faust :) What you say about G Man being ostracised makes perfect sense but he would enjoy good relations with his band members so he'd at least have some peer connections.

A red jumpsuit seems a bit over the top, though :) Wearing gear like that was more Freddie Mercury's caper; I saw Freddie perform in a white jump suit in the 70s. But Freddie still had cred. Now I'm thinking of Sun Ra and his wild getups. He had cred too. Of course G and Sun Ra's music is on, um, different planets :)



Actually I've not seen a pic or vid of Kenny where he's wearing a jumpsuit. He might have gotten over that phase fast?

I can understand the temptation (seeking fortune, not the jumpsuit) but what I don't get is that there's no sign that he's making cool music on the side (home tapes?). The impression I have is he's now more into family, golf, flying planes and cutting business deals, as though music was once a soulful activity for him but at some point his passion cooled.

Ken, yes, listening habits are changing - because people are now more time poor. Once they'd be listening to music as a focused activity but now listening is multi-tasked - while driving, doing chores, dancing, studying ... incidental music on TV. I expect fewer people have developed "listening chops" now than in the 70s. They don't want music that challenges; the music now needs a function. Maybe that will change but I can't imagine what could happen to make that change.
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:14 PM
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Doctor, the term "music-like product" cracked me up too. We could open up a whole new can of worms. Never mind the "is it jazz?" question ... is it real music? Maybe good for another dozen or so pages? :)
Don't get me started..............................I just might! ;-}

I am always teazing my kids about this gooey cheese-like substance they sell everywhere in the states these days. It doesn't need to be heated - it flows at room temperature. We have been wondering for years if it is really even food at all, or perhaps even a metamorphisized glue-like substance with flavoring and color added to it. We all call it an "arificial cheese-like product".

Now adding that same analogy to music, holy God, I believe we have opened a new can entirely!
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Old 04-09-2010, 06:51 PM
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Don't get me started..............................I just might! ;-}

I am always teazing my kids about this gooey cheese-like substance they sell everywhere in the states these days. It doesn't need to be heated - it flows at room temperature. We have been wondering for years if it is really even food at all, or perhaps even a metamorphisized glue-like substance with flavoring and color added to it. We all call it an "arificial cheese-like product".

Now adding that same analogy to music, holy God, I believe we have opened a new can entirely!
I don't like the direction you're going.....This will force people(me) to take a hard look in the mirror.

Confession: I was on the Pearl website and happened upon a video of Lady Ga Ga live at some big festival........and.........I liked it. I didn't want to like it, but I couldn't help it. The crowd going crazy, the energy of the performance......I hate myself......I think about 90% of the music was pre-recorded, but there is something there. I can't put my finger on it, but it's like some nasty drug I keep going back to.

What does this say about me?......I'm very troubled.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:33 PM
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I don't like the direction you're going.....This will force people(me) to take a hard look in the mirror.

Confession: I was on the Pearl website and happened upon a video of Lady Ga Ga live at some big festival........and.........I liked it. I didn't want to like it, but I couldn't help it. The crowd going crazy, the energy of the performance......I hate myself......I think about 90% of the music was pre-recorded, but there is something there. I can't put my finger on it, but it's like some nasty drug I keep going back to.

What does this say about me?......I'm very troubled.
Don't feel bad - she is actually on of the few pop idols that came up as a musician and not a karaoke superstar through American Idol. She even writes her own stuff, albeit the know-it-all producers strip it of it's humanity with programmed drums, bass, and probably keyboards too, even though she plays keyboards.

All the others - Miley Cyrus, Brittany, Beyonce - they just splice their voices into music that was written by no telling who in the Greater Music Machine and have their perfect ingredients - a pretty face behind a catchy tune. Pop Music has finally cloned itself to the rediculousness of Nashville.
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Old 04-10-2010, 02:35 AM
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Don't feel bad - she is actually on of the few pop idols that came up as a musician and not a karaoke superstar through American Idol. She even writes her own stuff, albeit the know-it-all producers strip it of it's humanity with programmed drums, bass, and probably keyboards too, even though she plays keyboards.

All the others - Miley Cyrus, Brittany, Beyonce - they just splice their voices into music that was written by no telling who in the Greater Music Machine and have their perfect ingredients - a pretty face behind a catchy tune. Pop Music has finally cloned itself to the rediculousness of Nashville.
If there is a line between music and music-like products it's a blurry one. After all, GD and Bob and other musicians enjoy G Man's music (MLP?), so it's not a total blank. While the idea of MLPs amuses me, it's all ultimately music. I mean, people said that Cage and Stockhausen wasn't music either.

Ever heard Frank Zappa's Prelude to an Evening with a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask? (the version on Weasels Ripped My Flesh is less tonal still. Is it music? When I first heard that track my heart said no but my head says yes. Here's why:

Punk wasn't music. The Beatles weren't music. Benny Goodman wasn't music to some in his day. Even defining "real music" as something played with spirit and/or heart is dicey. Whose spirit or heart? If you don't relate to it you might think there's none. So I define music as anything that is presented as such. Qualitatively, I can only see two poles in music - music I love and music I don't enjoy - with most of it landing somewhere in between.

Some might see that as postmodern, but the whole point of postmodernism IMO is inclusiveness, acknowledging that there's always someone who thinks differently to you. That's why so many of us see G Man's music as uninteresting, yet he has the highest selling instrumental album of all time. I'm into music in and around the Canterbury Scene yet most people find it horrible. When your tastes are way in the margins you become pretty sensitive to the existence of minority views.
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Old 04-10-2010, 12:32 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

G was apparently a clever guy from the start. A lot of people might not know that he actually started with the 70s soul singer Barry White when he was a teenager while he was already playing serious jazz gigs in Seattle. At the same time he studied for a major in accounting at the University of Washington and graduated with a degree. Then he played some more jazz, then hooked up with Lorber. Story was he was then heard by Clive Davis when he played some instrumental version of an AABA song.

I always figured he must have been looking for the bucks all along, and never really planned a long term jazz career, or was already the kind who was going to go that pop way given the chance. Or maybe he was going to just make some money then go back to jazz, but never did. Whatever he decided sure set a lot things in motion. That's for sure.

Funny too that in his Wiki entry he now cites his main influence as pop jazz icon Grover Washington when it was seemingly Coltrane back in the day.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I can't help but chuckle a bit as I read this thread and then see the quote in Matts signature, ..When people complain, that means you're doing it right.
Miles Davis
....Maybe Kenny G is doing it right. Who knows what right is?? Sure are a lot of people complaining.!!!
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:24 PM
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I think every artist has to deal with the reality of his or her own marketability if you want to cut it as a professional musician. Duke had Strayhorn, which may have helped him to bridge the gap between his artistic ambitions and the popular world of music.

Often management will encourage artists to record music that would not have recorded otherwise, like in the case of Hello Dolly or What a Wonderful World. I think Pops knew the difference between Hello Dolly and a great jam session with Duke. I don't know, what do ya think?:P

I think knowing the difference is the issue. I know how Matt's dad feels about that. It is sad when artists are forced into the corner of producing music that they may not want to produce to make money. But it is a reality nonetheless. On the other hand, you have a host of folks who are just in it for the money. I don't see why they should be given a free pass in the name of artistic license.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:14 PM
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I can't help but chuckle a bit as I read this thread and then see the quote in Matts signature, ..When people complain, that means you're doing it right.
Miles Davis
....Maybe Kenny G is doing it right. Who knows what right is?? Sure are a lot of people complaining.!!!
Miles said complain. That's not the same thing as condemn to an eternity of flesh searing hell =)
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:05 AM
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I think knowing the difference is the issue. I know how Matt's dad feels about that. It is sad when artists are forced into the corner of producing music that they may not want to produce to make money. But it is a reality nonetheless. On the other hand, you have a host of folks who are just in it for the money. I don't see why they should be given a free pass in the name of artistic license.
There will always be people who are just in it for the money.

There will always be people who only care about the artistic level of performance.

There will always be people who play certain music because it allows them the cash flow to play the music that they really want to play.

Even the classic composers had to write music that they were told to write by the nobility of the time. Music has worked this way since the beginning.
You have to play what the people want to hear if you want to eat well.

Some people will play the system and just make music for a bank account.
Some won't! They will only play what they want to play.
Some will walk back and forth on both sides of the line.

Why should we be angry about this?
I just accept it as a fact and I don't really think about it much.
It doesn't matter what I think anyway! Nothing will change.

Being a pro musician is no different than any other job, If you don't do certain things you will not be promoted or you will be fired.
That's just the real world as it is.
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Guys, better just hit your practice rooms already!! ;)
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I still want to know why Miles told Joe Zawinul "Not to give the store away. "
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:20 AM
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I still want to know why Miles told Joe Zawinul "Not to give the tore away. "
"the tore"? Is this a typo? The core? The tone? The lore? The store? Google says there is a Tore ritual but it didn't delve.
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Old 04-13-2010, 05:44 AM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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I still want to know why Miles told Joe Zawinul "Not to give the tore away. "
Ken, are you referring to my post # 406?

The story is that MIles told Wayne Shorter to 'not give anything away' to Zawinul/Weather Report. This is a story told by Shorter himself, and I dont have a clue why Miles said that. I assume at some level he didnt trust Zawinul's musical direction..

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Guys, better just hit your practice rooms already!! ;)
I agree. This baby has been put to sleep. We can all go and have some milk now.

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  #438  
Old 04-13-2010, 05:58 AM
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Deltadrummer Deltadrummer is offline
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Ken, are you referring to my post # 406?

The story is that MIles told Wayne Shorter to 'not give anything away' to Zawinul/Weather Report. This is a story told by Shorter himself, and I don't have a clue why Miles said that. I assume at some level he didn't trust Zawinul's musical direction..



I agree. This baby has been put to sleep. We can all go and have some milk now.

...
Sorry for the typo. I thought we had moo-ved on and this topic had been milked for all it was worth.

yes, I was referring to that post, which stuck in my craw. And of course we know that food is meant for baby birdies.

I would think he trusted Joe Zawinul's musical direction as you look at who wrote a good deal of music for In a Silent Way and Bitch's Brew. I 've never heard the first WR album; but from what I've read, it's pretty straight ahead acoustic jazz ensemble work. I think Miles meant that if certain musical paths are not developed properly, they do not blaze a trail for those who come later. A musician has a sacred oath to open up doors for his descendants. You also don't lock yourself in a box. There is also a responsibility to cultivate an audience. I wonder what the musical landscape of the 1960s would have been like had Miles decided to take up rock and roll, and as controversial as the Miles electric period was, look at the doors it opened musically.
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 04-13-2010 at 06:38 PM.
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  #439  
Old 04-13-2010, 11:48 AM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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A musician has a sacred oath to open up doors for his predecessors.
Yes, I expect our predecessors would appreciate us opening doors for them - it's the arthritis, you see :)


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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
You also don't lock yourself in a box. There is also a responsibility to cultivate an audience. I wonder what the musical landscape of the 1960s would have been like had Miles decided to take up rock and roll, and as controversial as the Miles electric period was, look at the doors it opened musically.
Just as that fine monument of modern music - Our Kenny - has done ... MWUU HAHAHAHA
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

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Yes, I expect our predecessors would appreciate us opening doors for them - it's the arthritis, you see :)




Just as that fine monument of modern music - Our Kenny - has done ... MWUU HAHAHAHA

Can I change my answer to descendants?

Now we can get into the fine subtleties of cultivating an audience for the enjoyment of great music, as opposed to marketing. Did Kenny create anew audience or market himself to an audience of muzak listeners?
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 04-13-2010 at 06:39 PM.
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