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#1138971 - 03/07/05 09:06 PM Well that was... fun. :P
gregjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/05
Posts: 316
Loc: CA
We've had many workshops at my college, but this one was particularily interesting. Music students such as me formed small ensembles to play tunes for the person hosting the workshop to get comments and criticism. One of your more "hands-on" workshops, I guess you could call it.

So I played Peri's Scope (I'm play piano) with a bassist (great fretless bass player, btw) and drummer. Everything went well in the song. I did my best Bill Evans imitation when I played the head and solos. So guess who hosted the workshop? (I've been saving this part for later for emphasis) None other than Fred Hersch. Oh great, and he was literally sitting right next to my watching me play. Not fun at all. \:\)

He had a few comments, but what it really round down to is that I need to get into the music more. I mean, I was expressing myself well, and I made my solo interesting and all, but I was staying within the boundaries too much.

I do have places in songs where I'll play some out-there stuff, but I tend to play more melodic solos rather than weirder things.

So anyways, it's kind of discouraging because there's so much pressure for jazz pianists such as myself to play weirdness.

You know what, I think I will go with the flow and play wacky stuff. I think it'll be fun, we'll see.
Greg Schlaepfer
Orange Tree Samples

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#1138972 - 03/08/05 09:24 AM Re: Well that was... fun. :P
Spin Doctor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 262
Loc: Maryland, USA
Well, Bill Evans himself was criticized quite a bit for not playing outside so much. As far as I can tell his commitment was to get as much as possible from a song within it's basic harmonic structure.

I've studied Bill's music for a bit (and have a very long way to go) but I can see where he will pick some melodic phrase and twist and wring as much out of that one pharse as possible. The thing is that he does it so well that unless you really looked, you'd never know the phrase was the same. He did start to play differently toward the end of his life. His music became harder and more agressive. I mostly listened to his stuff from the 50's and 60's and have yet to really explore his stuff from the 70's and early 1980, which is when he died. Currently, I'm studying the four song suite he did during his "live at town hall" album. I know three of the four and am working on "Story Line". I'm basically treating it as a classical piece and trying to understand how his mind worked.

Anyway, I guess my point is that what he did do, he did beautifully and he never cared for weirdness just for the sake of weirdness. Maybe since jazz has "evolved" more since his time, playing outside the 32 bar form is more expected. Truthfully, I've not been that impressed lately with the newer stuff. I'll take Bud Powell, or Bill any day.

I've read a few articles by Hersch when he had that column in Keyboard Magazine, but that was a long time ago. I'm not familiar with his music, but I'm sure it's impressive. Might be a good idea to explore his suggestions. Congratulations on being critiqued by a master! \:\)

Greg, if you have recordings of your music, I'm interested in hearing them.
"Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage."

-- Winston Churchill


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