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RinTin Offline OP
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I would love to discuss the similarities and the differences between the melodic phrasing when playing solo piano renditions of ballads from The Great American Songbook, as played by masters Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. What phrasing and timing characteristics do Jarrett and Evans have in common and what differentiates them when playing the main melodies in their personal styles.


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This article about Bill Evans touches on this:

https://www.allaboutjazz.com/remembering-bill-evans-bill-evans-by-scott-pollard.php

It mentions the "floating pulse" approach, which is something I've always heard of Bill Evans. I'm less familiar with Keith Jarrett, so I'm not sure to what degree that would apply to him as well.


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I think it's worth comparing pianism of BE and KJ in general. There is no doubt that KJ continued to develop the pianistic school of BE, and during the 80s there was some kind of pianistic improvement in each of his albums.
Sound: BE's sound quality is shaped by his history of studying the violin and flute; as well as extensive work on the classical piano repertoire.
KJ can be proud of that, that he achieved the longest piano sustain in jazz; he is able to transform a single sound into a long sausage, which he cut as he wanted. Even a short sound felt like a fragment of a long sausage.
His concept of sound is eclectic: the piano can sound like an organ, a harpsichord, a wind instrument, brass, a human voice, a sequencer and more. He did this on the level of the outstanding classical pianists of the orchestral type, but in the field of non-classical music.

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I once called Bill Evans Mr. Triplet. While studying his rhythmic concept in ballads, I found the following palette:
Two halves in the bar, triplet of halves in the bar, 4 quarters and 6 quarters; 8 eighths and 12 eighths at the bar, throwing a bridge to swing feel;
Straight sixteenths, sixteenth sextuplets, throwing bridge to swing feel in the double time.
In the improvisation B.E. and his drummer go into a triplet feel, also in a double time, while the bassist stays within the ballad feeling.
In the improvisation B.E. and his drummer are going into a triplet feel, also in a double time, while the bassist stays within the ballad feeling.
He uses little rubato, but a lot of very detailed dynamic changes.

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Keith Jarrett in his youth preferred very long passages, avoiding long notes, what reminded McCoy Tyner, although chord textures were often borrowed from Bill Evans. His 70s were devoted to research, also in the field of free jazz; where mastering parlando manner of playing later left an imprint on his ballad performance - along with a focus on sound quality.
The manner of melodeclamation created a unique approach to rhythmic changes - agogics, where the rhythm of performance was built not only within 1-2 bars, but also over large groups of bars; which requires a very stable inner rhythm. K. J. had no problems with that: he played drums as well, and professionally enough for whole gigs.
When he started to train intensely in the songs performance on the piano, , he learned to breathe naturally on instrument , so much needed for ballads.

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No two notes have the same duration. The notes have an elastic quality. I hear Jarrett melodicizing sort of with a reticent feeling, perhaps a searching quality. His solo piano melodic timing on ballads from The Great American Songbook is interesting to me as a ballad player. I’m referring to his most intimate solo piano album of ballad standards “You, The Night, and The Music “ rubato : freely: accelerrando and ritardando... the wave effect...subtlety, reverence

Erroll Garner’ distant relatives, they Russian Dragon ... gas pedal time ...

Last edited by RinTin; 05/20/21 04:10 PM.

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Originally Posted by RinTin
I’m referring to his most intimate solo piano album of ballad standards “You, The Night, and The Music “ .
You mean "The melody at night, with you". Pure melodies, sometimes with little embellishments, no improvisation, everything is played on the left pedal, and probably with the instrument lid closed. When I heard this album for the first time, I felt something familiar; took a while before I grabbed: resembles Shearing's album "My Ship". The feeling turned into confidence when I discovered that K.J. reproduces a version of Peggy Lee singing in Don't ever leave me in concert with George Shearing's quintet.

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Great call, Nahum. George's "My Ship" had Debussy in mind. Played in Gb for easy access to pentatonic sweeps, clever.





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Originally Posted by RinTin
Great call, Nahum. George's "My Ship" had Debussy in mind. Played in Gb for easy access to pentatonic sweeps, clever.
I meant a little different: the approach to playing the melodies of the album. I took from here an abundant use of passing chords.

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How would you describe the way Jarrett renders the melodies (rhythmic timing of each phrase) on “The Melody At Night, With You” ? I would say he plays it with a reverent and searching quality.


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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Originally Posted by RinTin
How would you describe the way Jarrett renders the melodies (rhythmic timing of each phrase) on “The Melody At Night, With You” ? I would say he plays it with a reverent and searching quality.
I took the first 8 bars from Don't ever leave me as an example, adding one click for every bar, and a second time -click for every 4 bars:

https://disk.yandex.ru/d/7vDGIPj3fB1B2Q

This is how you can understand Keith Jarrett's fantastic rhythm organization. His internal gyroscope never stopped!

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Hi

It's worth mentioning that the main reason "The Melody at Night with You" has so little embellishment and improvisation is because Jarrett was still recovering from ME (the illness he had in the late 90s).

The recordings were made as a Christmas present for his wife, and don't believe were originally meant to be released.

Cheers


Simon

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Originally Posted by Simon_b
Hi

It's worth mentioning that the main reason "The Melody at Night with You" has so little embellishment and improvisation is because Jarrett was still recovering from ME (the illness he had in the late 90s).

The recordings were made as a Christmas present for his wife, and don't believe were originally meant to be released.

Cheers
Sumptuously! Thanks for the info, Simon!

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I think this is another example of Shearing channeling Debussy and Ravel.

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Originally Posted by Nahum
https://disk.yandex.ru/d/7vDGIPj3fB1B2Q

This is how you can understand Keith Jarrett's fantastic rhythm organization. His internal gyroscope never stopped!
[Linked Image]


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