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jjo--thanks for your tender mercies. I understand messing with harmonies to a certain point, but I stay pretty close to simpler harmonies. For instance--Rite of Spring, yes definitely. Les Noces--no, very definitely. As you may be aware, I am really into 19 10s and 20s pop (also old rocknroll), so not so many 13ths and flat 5ths there.

Re your other point--I made somewhat the same argument in a thread about original keys of songs--that we don't know what key the songwriter wrote his lead sheet in. But that's not the same as you are suggesting.

But, and I can't stress this enough, I think Richard Rodgers and Frank Churchill had pretty straight chords in mind. Rodgers for sure had no Schonbergian or postbop habits, even when given a long-form opportunity (Victory at Sea)--though I can't say what he played in private for his own amusement. He seemed pretty content to write in the style we know. Plus, as I say below, he had enough clout that he could have changed his style, being often both composer and producer, but he didn't change. Churchill is not known to me, but since he died in 1942, he didn't have the time to pick up annoying habits (heh).

So while their chords may have differed from the printed sheets, I daresay it was not a radical difference, and they surely had nothing in mind such as the above. Moreover, I doubt that Rodgers would allow any big changes--he had the clout to insist on his way. Churchill maybe not so much--he worked for Disney.

And, I never refer to Real Book or anything like it. Always official printed sheets for me. That way, the only problem that arises is when the composer recorded his own song, and it differs from the sheet--see Charleston, sheet vs Johnson's piano roll.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
But I have to disagree. For me, taking great liberties with the harmony can certainly make me feel like the original feel is lost. The sheet music reveals the original feel, and it does not include anything like the harmonies in these vids. So there's that. So I'm a literalist.
Not sure if you understand the spirit of jazz. Jazz is a freedom, a sense of the moment, a surprise.You have indicated the boundaries of your taste as a listener, which, of course, is your right.


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And once again, my question of modern jazz versions of upbeat 2/4 standards still stands. If you can play endless weird variations of I Got Rhythm, why not Swanee?

And again: a sense of style, appropriate or not appropriate to the genre, distinguishes between intentionally vanilla (Molto shmalzando) Swanee and lapidary rhythmic I Got Rhythm.

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Swanee - special for you :


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Completely forgot! I also recorded 33 years ago with the singer Swanee and I Got Rhythm, but I wouldn't call it amazing jazz solo - rather the opposite.

https://disk.yandex.ru/d/5Oc8sRhJXeIVbg
https://disk.yandex.ru/d/tisAhG001wyWlQ

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Pinocchio is a masterpiece, where the song first came from [img]
[/img] and I guess this is the original harmony, but I don't see why you can't enjoy both.

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Nahum, thanks for your replies, and--my god, you have recordings of yourself from 30+ years ago.

regarding your recording, I hear nothing even outside of Gershwin's original harmonies, so there's that.

As to Leonid Chizhik--while more abstract than yours, still nowhere near Clare Fischer. To my ears, barring the wonderful virtuosity, this is almost EZ listening.

You understand of course, that "Swanee" is easier to type than "Where did Robinson Crusoe go with Friday on Saturday Night", otherwise I might have included the latter as an example of what modern jazzers don't play, along with "Paddlin' Madeline Home", and so many others. In other words, the question is not about Swanee, it's about a certain genre defined by quick tempo, 2/4 time, publishing date probably between 1910 and 1925, meant for Vaudeville or Broadway variety shows, basically meant to be a hokey pop crowdpleaser, performed by a hammy song and dance person with big gestures, greasepaint, and exaggerated costume, NOT SUBTLE OR SOPHISTICATED--does this paint the picture?

So what I think you are saying with "a sense of style, appropriate or not appropriate to the genre, distinguishes between intentionally vanilla (Molto shmalzando) Swanee and lapidary rhythmic I Got Rhythm" is--if the source seems too schlocky, it's not cool enough for the sophisticates to bother with. Which kind of begs the question--DISNEY?? What could be schmalzier than Disney movies? Jessica Dragonette?

Not sure what you mean by lapidary?

Interesting that you try to define jazz. Of equal interest for me are 2 things I learned:

1: I played with a guy with a PhD in jazz, who defined jazz as "anything that sounds jazzy", which surprised me, but also kind of grossed me out. And to be fair, he plays trad jazz--no bop or later. I don't think he was flipping me off either, we knew each other fairly well.

2: I fairly recently learned that Armstrong quite often did not improvise--he had many pieces in which he played the same memorized thing. Which was pretty demoralizing for me.

3: and neither here nor there, I think we've both heard plenty of stuff we would call jazz, in which nothing surprised us. The "moment" you refer to is probably more felt by the player than the listener.

What continually surprises me is (and this is not limited to music at all), where we end up when we start down a road. So many possibilities for a negative outcome, a dead end, destruction, and worse. And yet we must go forth, for stasis is not an option. So many choices to make, and so many are wrong.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
As to Leonid Chizhik--while more abstract than yours, still nowhere near Clare Fischer. To my ears, barring the wonderful virtuosity, this is almost EZ listening.
EZ listening: American jazz after Soviet censorship .


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Not sure what you mean by lapidary?
A very clear and sparingly outlined melody.


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The "moment" you refer to is probably more felt by the player than the listener.
From experience I learned to determine when the student did not work on improvisation, when he prepared it in detail, and when the improviser caught the moment.

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I think I personally prefer the way Keith Jarrett plays solo piano ballads, more than Claire Fischer. Jarrett plays prettier.

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rogerzell: Where did you learn that Louis Armstrong "quite often" did not memorize? This is surprising because he's considered, both on trumpet and as a singer, as one of the founders of modern improvisation.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
l.

2: I fairly recently learned that Armstrong quite often did not improvise--he had many pieces in which he played the same memorized thing. Which was pretty demoralizing for me.
You may be referring to the historic West End Blues solo, but here's what might cheer you up:



The fact that the opening phrase in a solo is exactly repeated is even very desirable!

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jjo--on the web, where else? but here's an article by an Armstrong fanatic, who listened to everything I think--this is NOT where I first heard about this issue, I found it somewhere else.

https://dippermouth.blogspot.com/2009/11/indiana-revisited.html?m=0

I certainly didn't find this out for myself, I'm not that rabid.

It's funny how little music I listen to these days.

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Gosh, anybody care to analyze some of Claire's harmonic choices beyond the intro?


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris & Monty Alexander (1993-present)
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Play Like A PRO 72 piano arrangements with the professional touch. When You Wish Upon A Star arranged by Clare Fisher and one by Andy LaVerne two of the best arrangements of this tune that I have come across. Here is a you tube video of Clare Fischer with his son Brent and its got a bunch of insights into Clare thought process. Enjoy


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Nahum--I think your quick definition of jazz is missing several musical and non-musical points, and these points are the reasons I don't call myself a jazz player.

1: Swing is not my default, and I detest its universal application. It can mean plenty if it ain't got that swing.

2: blues is not my default, same as above.

Since jazz is seemingly rooted in blues and swing rhythm, I'm mostly out. But even so, I do play bluesy and swingy when the music requires, not reflexively, in everything.

3: There is an attitude of "cool" among most or many jazzers (and rockers, but jazzers more so) that can be very offputting. This attitude is, of course, not limited to musicians, but is more commonly found among them than in the general public. This attitude is easily discerned by their resolute refusal to play anything they deem uncool, in an uncool manner. Some examples might be (and I mean playing them straight, in the style they were written in, even with improv) "O Promise Me", "Indian Love Call", the above-cited 2/4 vaudeville songs, country/western, rock and roll. What makes it more obvious is odd exception, such as the relatively recent adoption of "The Flintstones" theme. Someone acceptably cool did it, and everyone jumped on.

And the slang is irritating.

But all in all, I get it--it's a genre, and all genres have limits and definitions. But it's nowhere near as cool, spiritual or intellectual as some practitioners think it is.

re this last, on youtube there is a clip of Johnny Carson talking to Buddy Rich. Rich says he hates country, it's too simple--"anybody can do it". He misses the point entirely:

1: that is the point--anyone can do it, and
2: anyone but Buddy Rich.

what makes it more fun is, the clip is from the 1970s, and everyone is sporting clothes and fashionable hairstyles of that era--the sleazy look. Sorry, 70s fans.

Can you imagine Buddy Rich discreetly tapping out a simple waltz? Carefully and quietly supporting everyone else? For an entire evening?

and re this-- you said "From experience I learned to determine when the student did not work on improvisation, when he prepared it in detail, and when the improviser caught the moment." You were familiar with your students' playing, and you're a player yourself. I meant (and should have said, my bad), the general audience, from the most rabid to the casual drop-in. From my experience, 80-90% of any random audience has no idea what is happening technically/musically--they just like or dislike.

and finally for now, you said this, re I Got Rhythm; "A very clear and sparingly outlined melody.", in opposition to "Swanee". I would respectfully point out that "Sophisticated Lady" for one does not meet that standard.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
and finally for now, you said this, re I Got Rhythm; "A very clear and sparingly outlined melody.", in opposition to "Swanee". I would respectfully point out that "Sophisticated Lady" for one does not meet that standard.
Is there some more parameters to place songs in focus of jazz or not. For example, I Got sits completely in the pentatonic scale, and Swanee - only the beginning.
However, here are some more facts: the Lullaby of Birdland Charlie Parker never played the tune, although it was written for him. At the same time he played with pleasure Laura. Why?

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Pay attention to the ratio of melody pitches and chords ; there is much more dissonances in Laura. "Lullaby" consists of bebop formulas assembled into a successful foxtrot for dancing.
As for "Lady", the melody has an instrumental character, not a vocal one. In addition, all seventh dominants contain the ninth step. All together create an atmosphere of impressionism, which was so suitable for the jazz of that period.

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Hi Rogerzell

The 3rd of your points (which I doubt) can be applied to almost any form of music. It's as true of serious Opera singers/fans as it is to the sort of music you like, which perversely you demonstrate aptly by continuing to try and denigrate a form of music you don't like, or listen to, and repeatedly claim you know nothing about.

As it happens I can't stand serious Opera, but I don't spend my time on singing forums discussing it, or attempting to put down the huge talents in that genre, because it's not in line with my taste in music.

And why would one of the most technically gifted drummers that's ever lived on this planet want to play a simple country waltz?

Cheers


Simon

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Hi Nahum--while I have seen the pentatonic scale cited as being useful, or at least awareness of it being useful, I never thought it was inherently jazzy, not any sign of a jazz influence, nor a necessity for jazz.

And Parker liked dissonances, apparently more than consonances. I take your word for that, I have never really listened to him. And I have no issues there, except what's so bad about consonances that you can't bring yourself to play them? The question would be more like, why didn't he play "Going My Way"? And I actually play Lady, have done for decades, I find the long rangy melody interesting, but it's not simple, terse or pentatonic, which I guess is neither here nor there really, because they are not the reasons to consider them jazzy.

Simon b--my 3rd point cannot be applied to opera, because they do not define themselves or their field as "cool". Grand, powerful, height of artistic endeavor, and other such terms maybe, but not "cool", or God forbid, "hip". And maybe more to the point, many opera singers have sung pop music, and jazzy numbers, in concert and on records, with varying degrees of success, tho I admit I don't think they sang "Doggie in the Window".

and besides, I do like jazz, tho I rarely listen--pre-bop, and maybe even a little boppish--Adderleys come to mind, and Brubeck is a fave. Is he considered boppy?

But as I also said, every genre has its adherents, cognoscenti, and elitists, and I've skipped thru a few in my years, and none was more tightly clannish than jazzers, even on the low levels I've played at. Perhaps oddly, the most open were the classicals. Never played with a country band tho.

I admit here that it could be me.

As to discussing--I confess I'm sorta hoping that someone will say something that may deflect me from this path, if only a bit. And while I can understand some fairly abstract classical stuff, and have played it, and written it, such stuff as Ferneyhough completely escapes me, as does Fischer, for much the same reason, tho obviously there are others.

And as to why would Rich play country, he wouldn't. As to why he might find it enlightening, a few things come to mind:

1: for the pleasure of a different kind of audience? see #4 below.
2: to give himself a rest?
3: to see if he could?
4: to get a feel of the depth possible in the genre? and maybe understand that there's a reason why it's so simple anyone can do it, namely a very direct emotional connection?
5: maybe get to understand that not just anybody can do it, and why that is? And maybe how that might help him?

I admit, I have some nerve--the advice I've ignored to my detriment is a big pile. BUT--I like country music, so that's a plus.

But too late now for Buddy.

but wait--here he is in a movie with Eleanor Powell, very nifty scene: There's a longer version, with the leadin to this bit. He is featured at the beginning and end.


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Originally Posted by rogerzell
Nahum--while I have seen the pentatonic scale cited as being useful, or at least awareness of it being useful, I never thought it was inherently jazzy, not any sign of a jazz influence, nor a necessity for jazz.

Here is an additional meaning of the expression Rhythm and Blues: the moment a melodic line turns into a sequence of riffs, it will necessarily be based on a pentatonic or blues scale. You can even call the Rhythm and Pentatonic. It doesn't have to be jazz; and even country music loves the pentatonic scale.
By the way: country music is my first love; I was the first in my city who tried to play this music; and one of the first in the USSR. I listened to country music playing on the piano on the radio; but the name of Floyd Kramer I only learned 10 years ago.

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Nahum--Russian c & w, wow. That's great. If you were the first, how did you find a band? or did you play solo?

I will admit--most of my attempts to play country have been unsatisfying. Partly because so many have so few chords, and I'm loath to add too many. Partly because so many are guitar-based, and I've never been able to fit into that. I can't play a boogie-woogie left hand, stride doesn't fit, and I'm not satisfied with just playing LH octaves.

western swing gives more opportunity, and Cherokee Maiden and Rose of San Antone work well with stride.

Some slower stuff works pretty well though, like You Don't Know Me--fantastic.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
Nahum--Russian c & w, wow. That's great. If you were the first, how did you find a band? or did you play solo?
https://soundcloud.com/jazzman1945/russian-country

I participated in a jazz-pop group; before that I played only at home.

Last edited by Nahum; 05/18/21 12:06 AM.
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