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#2065486 - 04/16/13 11:49 AM Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa?  
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Nikolas Offline
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So?

I'm having an online argument which is fun in general (I'm kinda trolling there! grin), but I'm wondering...

I think that, with some exceptions the two different idioms are not easily reachable by the other camp:

The classical pianist can't really groove (even if they can improvise), while the jazz pianist can't reach the touche and techniques for a Rach concerto (for example)... There are exceptions of course, but still...

EDIT: In fact I'd say that playing the keyboards, might be difficult for both classical and jazz pianists... Thanks Mark

Your comments?

Last edited by Nikolas; 04/16/13 11:57 AM.
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#2065488 - 04/16/13 11:53 AM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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It varies. Some yes, some no. And vice versa. smile

It also depends on what you mean by "jazz" and "classical." Is Keith Jarrett's usual stuff "jazz"? I sure think so. And I know he can play classical and play it extremely well, because I've been to one of his classical recitals. I also have friends who can go back and forth very well. I, however, can't. And from what we see publicly, most jazz pianists and classical pianists don't, which means either that they don't think their 'crossover' is very good or they're just not interested.

BTW I think you might have made some mistake in that last paragraph....

#2065489 - 04/16/13 11:55 AM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Keith Jarrett seems to have successfully bridged both worlds, among recent pianists. I'm sure Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum would have been fabulous classical pianists had they chosen, and someone like Cziffra could have been a terrific jazz pianist. Pure speculation on my part, though.


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#2065490 - 04/16/13 11:57 AM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
BTW I think you might have made some mistake in that last paragraph....
Probably have... heh... I hope it's semi-clear though... I'll try to edit it now...

But yes, as I said there are exceptions, but I'm not sure I know more than 4-5 pianist that cross over genres that easily... :-/

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#2065492 - 04/16/13 11:59 AM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I still don't understand the last statement.

#2065495 - 04/16/13 12:04 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by JoelW
I still don't understand the last statement.

Yeah -- it looks exactly the same to me as it did before. ha

Maybe we need another thread: Can composers TALK, and vice versa? grin

#2065498 - 04/16/13 12:07 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I think a lot of it has to do with training. If you are trained in classical technique, but spend most of your time improvising, then I think you would have an easier time making the crossover than someone who had been improvising with no trained technique.

I also think it would be easier for a jazz pianist to learn classical, than for a classical pianist to learn to improvise. Not saying the classical pianist wouldn't have the fingers. Obviously, they would. But improvisation requires getting out of the score, to go places that aren't "written down", and for their entire training, classical pianists are taught to play it the way it's written. A jazz pianist, on the other hand, may need to brush up on technique and possibly learn to read notes, but I think it's easier for the mind to get "stricter" than "freer".


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2065502 - 04/16/13 12:10 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
I think a lot of it has to do with training.

Don't you think it's more about talent? grin

#2065505 - 04/16/13 12:11 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Derulux
I think a lot of it has to do with training.

Don't you think it's more about talent? grin


Oh no. Please no!

#2065506 - 04/16/13 12:12 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by JoelW
I still don't understand the last statement.

Yeah -- it looks exactly the same to me as it did before. ha

Maybe we need another thread: Can composers TALK, and vice versa? grin


LOL!

#2065508 - 04/16/13 12:12 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Last sentence, last attempt: If we assume that apart from jazz pianists and classical pianists we also have keyboard pianists (like one who plays on bands, with lots of various keyboards, synths, workstations, etc) then all three are difficult for someone not used to the genre/idiom/whatever...

bleh :P

#2065509 - 04/16/13 12:13 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Hey!

This thread's moving faster than I can post! grin

#2065510 - 04/16/13 12:15 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
Last sentence, last attempt: If we assume that apart from jazz pianists and classical pianists we also have keyboard pianists (like one who plays on bands, with lots of various keyboards, synths, workstations, etc) then all three are difficult for someone not used to the genre/idiom/whatever...

bleh :P


Ahh, now I understand. I thought you meant keyboards as in real pianos. Yes, I think keyboards, at least the ones without weighted keys, would be difficult for a classical pianist. I've tried playing on them. Can't. Ragtime, yes, but not classical. I don't play jazz so I have no idea about that.

#2065519 - 04/16/13 12:25 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
I think a lot of it has to do with training. If you are trained in classical technique, but spend most of your time improvising, then I think you would have an easier time making the crossover than someone who had been improvising with no trained technique.

I also think it would be easier for a jazz pianist to learn classical, than for a classical pianist to learn to improvise. Not saying the classical pianist wouldn't have the fingers. Obviously, they would. But improvisation requires getting out of the score, to go places that aren't "written down", and for their entire training, classical pianists are taught to play it the way it's written. A jazz pianist, on the other hand, may need to brush up on technique and possibly learn to read notes, but I think it's easier for the mind to get "stricter" than "freer".


I was going to say essentially the same thing, but D said it better.

It is with the training, very much so.

BTW, I have had several rather accomplished Classical pianists come for lessons in Blues and Boogie-Woogie.

(I am classically trained, and love Classical, and also New Orleans music, Blues and Boogie-Woogie.)

So these Classical pianists all basically fell on their face when trying to play a simple groove with their left hand, and a melody, or counter-groove with the right hand.

This despite their claims that "This will be easy, its just 3 chords, a simple repeating rhythm, way easier than Classical, etc". Ok...try to play it correctly, with the nuanced groove.

Not that it cannot be learned, but it is a different world, different in a great many things, including how you learn (score or no score), LH/RH rhythmic co-ordination, etc.

Classically trained Jazz/Blues players include: Keith Jarrett, James Booker, new hotshot Luca Sestak, Eeco Raap, (me laugh )etc.

here is Eeco's site: check out his bio, and play the first song for a good example of a BW groove:

http://www.eecoboogiewoogie.com/


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2065554 - 04/16/13 01:07 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: rocket88]  
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A Curtis/Juilliard alum, Matt Herskowitz, is a jazz pianist living in Montreal. Here he is performing a variation on Chopin Etude Op. 10 No. 1.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5u2vlh8hh90

#2065559 - 04/16/13 01:11 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Most jazz artists have at least some classical training. I do not think that most classical artists have jazz training.


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#2065563 - 04/16/13 01:19 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I play both styles fairly easily, but I learned to play by ear and improvise before I learned to read, so that could give some credit to the idea that Jazz folks have an easier time crossing over. It did take a bit of time for me to really get "complete" with my reading where I wasn't adding notes, playing my own dynamics as I saw fit, etc.

I also play keyboards with bands....soo......

I do find that classical people have the hardest time ever learning to get out of the score and REALLY improv, but Jazz pianists have a hard time playing only what's written cause that's "boring"


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#2065568 - 04/16/13 01:26 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Derulux
I think a lot of it has to do with training.

Don't you think it's more about talent? grin

HAHAHAHAHA touche! laugh

Originally Posted by JoelW
Ahh, now I understand. I thought you meant keyboards as in real pianos. Yes, I think keyboards, at least the ones without weighted keys, would be difficult for a classical pianist. I've tried playing on them. Can't. Ragtime, yes, but not classical. I don't play jazz so I have no idea about that.

I find non-weighted keys to be a nightmare regardless of genre. There is oneexception: when you're playing a chord and holding it for an indefinite period of time. Then, it's fine. wink

Originally Posted by rocket88
I was going to say essentially the same thing, but D said it better.

To quote Bob Costas, "Dubious, but I'll take it." wink

I see we share some similar interests at the keys. smile

I think some of the issues classical pianists have is the anticipation of what you need to play. When you memorize a piece of music, you must spit it out verbatim. Where you are going is expected, known, well-trodden ground. But when you're improvising, the next note is virgin territory. That can cause many who have never been there to balk. Of course, once you get over that, the learning goes much easier and more fluid, but that's a pretty daunting hurdle to one who has never tried to jump it.

And, btw, I checked out Eeco's site.. enjoyed those riffs very much. Thanks for sharing. When are you going to post your recordings for us to listen? smile



Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2065574 - 04/16/13 01:33 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux

And, btw, I checked out Eeco's site.. enjoyed those riffs very much. Thanks for sharing. When are you going to post your recordings for us to listen? smile



On the bottom of my posts there is a link to a free tune from my CD. The tune was a warm-up ad-lib jam in the studio, but it sounded so good we kept it for the CD.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#2065581 - 04/16/13 01:50 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I play both -- not amazingly well, but I'm told I'm competent smile. Technically, it's not really an issue. Mentally, it can be tough to switch back and forth -- you have to put yourself in the right 'head space'. I find myself focusing on one or the other for long periods of time.

I spent my first 7-8 or so years of piano study playing classical music, then the next 14 or so years, I primarily played jazz, pop and latin styles. I just returned to classical studies a few years ago and found that my LH technique had suffered a bit. Now, I'm trying to keep up both classical and jazz, but it's tough -- there are only so many hours in a day to practice!

I have a weekly jazz gig starting in June, plus a couple classical performances that same month, so it should be interesting. I'll try not to emphasize 2 and 4 in my Bach smile.

Church organists do a good amount of improvising, but in a classical style. I just recently started lessons on the pipe organ, and so far, improvising is the only thing I'm any good at! Damn pedals!

#2065595 - 04/16/13 02:47 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I dunno, but here's a pretty fantastic video of Herbie Hancock playing Ravel's Piano Concerto in G.

#2065597 - 04/16/13 02:54 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: rocket88]  
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Derulux

And, btw, I checked out Eeco's site.. enjoyed those riffs very much. Thanks for sharing. When are you going to post your recordings for us to listen? smile



On the bottom of my posts there is a link to a free tune from my CD. The tune was a warm-up ad-lib jam in the studio, but it sounded so good we kept it for the CD.

Thanks for pointing that out.. I don't typically read people's signatures. (I think my eyes just got used to skipping them over the years of seeing the 'same thing'.) wink

That was a great jam session.. very nice! Sounded like you guys were having a lot of fun with that one. smile


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#2065599 - 04/16/13 02:57 PM Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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Hi Nikolas,

Checking in late again - I believe the LEVEL of performance has a lot to do with your subject.
CAN the jazz player learn to perform classical? If s/he is a good musician, and chooses to, then yes s/he can.
CAN the classically trained learn to improvise and play jazz? Again, with real musicianship, and with focused work, then yes.

But the problem rests in DEGREES of "good". The jazz player will need to stifle certain impulses, and surpress certain "natural" urges, to become a convincing classical player. Similarly, the classical player will need to abandon in-grained habits, and ignore some very cornerstones of her/his training, to excel in jazz.

So, maybe the correct question is, Will s/he ever become really good at a completely different genre?

Andre Previn comes immediately to mind. He is an excellent jazz pianist, and an orchestral conductor (think, Philadelphia!). By MOST mortal standards, he is wonderful at both. Yet, if one were to compare his work to THE VERY BEST in either of those diverse worlds, he comes up a little short in each. His prodigious talent lies in the fact that he can bridge both so very convincingly!

Ed


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#2065601 - 04/16/13 03:00 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I can think of only three pianists who were considered excellent or famous in both classical and jazz: Jarrett, Previn, and Gulda. Even among those three each was much more famous for only one type of music. I'm not sure any of them would be considered terrific in their "secondary" genre.

I find most classical pianists who improvise quite boring...even pianists like Cziffra or Katsaris. This is because I think what I would call the "classical style" improvisation doesn't work. As amazing as Cziffra or Katsaris is technically, to me their improvisations sound like a series of the same arpeggios, octaves, tremolos etc. I do very much like transcriptions by Cziffra and Katsaris because these works seem far more substantial and interesting.

Here are some Katsaris and Cziffra improvisations on YouTube. I'm curious about other posters' opinions of these.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIS3W-1ffGY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fwn0Y0wJvM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd4nwO7acEQ

Last edited by pianoloverus; 04/16/13 03:23 PM.
#2065609 - 04/16/13 03:24 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Nikolas]  
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I know a couple of classically-trained pianists, fine performers they are, who teach (and play) jazz.

I think it's a hypothetical question the answer to which might also be based on interest and inclination. There may be classical pianists who, if they had the will to study jazz, could become fine jazz pianists. There may be jazz pianists who could, too, become fine classical pianists if the will to do so were a priority.

It may well be that some classical, highly-dedicated-to-their-art pianists have neither the time nor the inclination to study jazz. Does that mean that they could not become fine jazz performers?

Regards,


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#2065677 - 04/16/13 06:32 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I can think of only three pianists who were considered excellent or famous in both classical and jazz: Jarrett, Previn, and Gulda. Even among those three each was much more famous for only one type of music. I'm not sure any of them would be considered terrific in their "secondary" genre.

I find most classical pianists who improvise quite boring...even pianists like Cziffra or Katsaris. This is because I think what I would call the "classical style" improvisation doesn't work. As amazing as Cziffra or Katsaris is technically, to me their improvisations sound like a series of the same arpeggios, octaves, tremolos etc. I do very much like transcriptions by Cziffra and Katsaris because these works seem far more substantial and interesting.

Here are some Katsaris and Cziffra improvisations on YouTube. I'm curious about other posters' opinions of these.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIS3W-1ffGY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fwn0Y0wJvM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd4nwO7acEQ

The last was the most tolerable. I've heard the Cziffra before, and really couldn't stand it.

Best part of the 3rd video: 1:10-1:13. hahaha laugh


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#2065712 - 04/16/13 08:37 PM Re: Can a jazz pianist play classical music and vice versa? [Re: Derulux]  
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Originally Posted by Derulux
Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Derulux

And, btw, I checked out Eeco's site.. enjoyed those riffs very much. Thanks for sharing. When are you going to post your recordings for us to listen? smile



On the bottom of my posts there is a link to a free tune from my CD. The tune was a warm-up ad-lib jam in the studio, but it sounded so good we kept it for the CD.

Thanks for pointing that out.. I don't typically read people's signatures. (I think my eyes just got used to skipping them over the years of seeing the 'same thing'.) wink

That was a great jam session.. very nice! Sounded like you guys were having a lot of fun with that one. smile


Thanks! Yes, we had fun!


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.

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