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Ducatista47
02-14-2009, 10:33 AM
OK, I wasn't there. But as a huge appreciator and fan of the more powerful statements Jazz has produced over the years, this seems a pointless and wrong headed exercise in corporate and civic presentation of what was once great music. Believe it or not, this picture represents a performance of the album Giant Steps (John Coltrane). Kind Of Blue (Miles Davis, Coltrane, Bill Evans, etc) also got the treatment.

This is like, as I once said here, "Muddy Waters - the Broadway musical!" Jazz at Lincoln Center is a creature of Wynton Marsalis. Who happens to hate the later, more adventuresome works of almost all the best players Jazz has produced since 1945.

It never changes. The reviewer states,
And in “Giant Steps” itself, Coltrane’s harmonic — steeplechase — étude, the band took special pains to play with expectations, flickering between a ballad tempo and the tune’s proper fast pace. But all through the set were surprises: solos, duos, four-way collective improvising, bass-clarinet interludes. With disparate phrasing and tone, the saxophonists varied the moods, and where they actually tried to replicate Coltrane’s loud, hard cry, they chose carefully.


That keening almost always came from the fourth saxophonist, George Garzone, who could reproduce it without seeming glib, through a real understanding of Coltrane’s improvising strategies and his own modest gusto. It was good to hear, even better because he offered only a taste of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/14/arts/music/14mile.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

"Keening" is a nice term for me when describing a tenor sax tone, say Jan Garbarek's, but to this crowd it means "Irritating Noise." I also doubt that the bass clarinet work was of the bold, brilliant sort Eric Dolphy (another guy whose work Wynton loathes, by the way) became known for. (I could be wrong there. I in no way blame the musicians on the stage. It is the promoters of these events who are, for better or worse, responsible.)

In other words, we knowing Brahamans with our suits, donated money and expensively dressed audience in upolstered seats know that later Coltrane was crappy non musical noise and we will prove it by showing you how wonderful the sanitized, good taste version of it really is. :barf:

I say God help us, and get us to the small clubs and cafes where the real thing is still occasionally found.

If there is a room in hell waiting for me it will be a concert hall like this. And if there is one waiting for the suits who would enjoy that, it will be a never ending set by Albert Ayler. ;)

Happy Valentine's Day,
Clark

Ducatista47
02-14-2009, 11:30 AM
If you find the changes in "Giant Steps" confusing or not very musical, and you relate to formal analysis of music, here is a page for you. This recording, while based on work that came before, was groundbreaking for several reasons and is actually quite musical in all senses of the word. Interestingly, while many hear only unrelated groups of notes, the piece is very tightly structured harmonically.

http://www.songtrellis.com/discuss/msgReader$1996

I find it disappointing that much of the audience and so many critics who consider themselves educated and cultured in matters musical still utterly fail to grasp ideas prevalent in Jazz since the 1940's and the 1950's, and similarly innovative ideas in the "classical" music world around since at least 1912. It does not speak well for those who suppose themselves to represent our culture.

John Coltrane used this idea for quite a while after this initial sojurn. He lost some of the less adventuresome audience then and lost a lot more when he moved beyond this later. I can tell you that, love it or hate it, it is all music. In my personal experience, all that is required is an open mind and the necessary listening to get to the point where one actually "hears" what is going on. Then one grows with the music instead of rebelling against it.

If music sounds like noise because the musicians have no talent, repeated listening only brings further pain. We are not talking here about musicians who compose and play badly. This type of music is some of the most advanced ever written and performed. It can be rewarding beyond measure to listen to if one takes the trouble to learn to hear it. Better yet, it was/is played by some of the best improvisers who ever lived.

By the way, I believe the term and title giant steps refers to the major third jumps, indeed a giant step as compared to most compositions.

Edit: Visual aids! This is so cool! http://www.heplaysjazz.btinternet.co.uk/giants.html

Clark

jerry_rig
02-14-2009, 03:33 PM
If there is a room in hell waiting for me it will be a concert hall like this. And if there is one waiting for the suits who would enjoy that, it will be a never ending set by Albert Ayler.

I saw his band play in that hall in December 2007. My only memory of the show was a large JBL PA speaker sitting smack in my face. The complimentary tickets were front row, farthest to the left. And they had some of the PA speakers sitting right on the stage wings.

I know this is a JBL forum -- and I may get burned for this -- but I do not like this sound of their modern PA speakers. Can you say hard, explosive and fatiguing? So we had to get up and leave. A shame.

Ducatista47
02-15-2009, 10:29 AM
I have heard Jazz both ways, and I personally find a PA to get in the way of the experience. These are acoustic performances and are best heard that way. Small clubs and cafes usually didn't use a PA; I am lucky to live in a town where some still do not. When there were many such places hosting Jazz combos the experience was quite different from what we now get in concert halls and outdoor venues. Jazz instruments have good volume and dynamics. It is only singers who really need amplification in a small club.

The system works really well. Those who want to talk sit further back and those who want to listen sit closer. Everyone is happy. :)

When you go to the symphony you can hope to hear it directly. Those big ensembles were designed to project and worked just fine before amplification came to the scene. Try to find your Jazz in the same circumstances. Here we have several cafes, some restaurants, recital halls, and park district facilities indoor and out that do not use a PA. If Peoria, considered (by most not living here) a cultural backwater, can offer all this then it cannot be that hard to find.

Clark

Krunchy
02-16-2009, 05:43 AM
That keening almost always came from the fourth saxophonist, George Garzone, who could reproduce it without seeming glib, through a real understanding of Coltrane’s improvising strategies and his own modest gusto. It was good to hear, even better because he offered only a taste of it.

That is pretty friken amazing, have the musical sensibilities of our society become so watered down that this is what people will accept as genuine jazz? you gotta be kidding me. All that american idol crap has got something to do with this, dubming down the masses with a no talent, 15 minutes of fame tv show.
The whole musical state of affairs was/is in pretty bad shape but this is pathetic (not to mention the readers of the NY times). :barf::barf::barf:

hjames
02-16-2009, 07:15 AM
Nah, this kind of thing is OLD ... think of the Pat Boone covers of little Richard songs ... non-threatening pablum for the sheeple ...

edit: I don't mean a black vs white thing ...
I just mean the extent of pushing the edge ...
insiders vs outsiders ...
accepted group vs "the other" ...

(the revolution will not be televised ...)


That is pretty fricken amazing, have the musical sensibilities of our society
become so watered down that this is what people will accept as genuine jazz? you gotta be kidding me.
All that American Idle crap has got something to do with this, dumping down the masses with a no talent,
15 minutes of fame tv show.
The whole musical state of affairs was/is in pretty bad shape but this is pathetic (not to mention the readers of the NY times). :barf::barf::barf:

JeffW
02-16-2009, 07:56 AM
If Peoria, considered (by most not living here) a cultural backwater, can offer all this then it cannot be that hard to find.

Clark

My only cultural encounter in Peoria was Big Al's, slipped over there from the hotel when I had to do some work in the ADM plant several years ago.

Ducatista47
02-16-2009, 11:15 PM
Krunchy, it isn't so bad because New York is not the world and The Establishment does not reach locally in most places.



(the revolution will not be televised ...)

Oh, Heather, thank you so much for that. Ideas like that kept me from suicide or murder during the last eight years. Well, that and great music.


My only cultural encounter in Peoria was Big Al's, slipped over there from the hotel when I had to do some work in the ADM plant several years ago.

For those not familiar with the local cultural references. "World Famous Big Al's" is the local ecdysiast's emporium. A strip club. ADM is Archer Daniels Midland, here represented by a corn to alcohol plant built right over the former world's largest distillery (Hiram Walker) just south of downtown. Since crops to alcohol is an ecological disaster, a really low point in the scheme of things, this is obviously not a source of pride for me. (Big Al's, at least, is probably harmless unless you are an Andrea Dworkin type feminist.) I will say that as one of the few non employees to walk freely through the plant, I found the view upon emerging from the riverfront office, deep within the plant, a stunning invocation of the best photographs of Charles Sheeler.

But let me tell you what else we have, what I was referring to as the local resources.

Last Tuesday after work I stopped by Panache, a cafe where very healthy yet tasty food, tea green, herbal and black, and coffee, wine and beer are served in a very nice atmosphere. Mixed drinks are available if that is what you need to invoke the real deal Jazz club experience. Most importantly, I came to hear Kevin Hart (http://www.kevinhartjazz.com/) play piano and his long time cohort Mike Nellas play bass. A very nice drummer was there to play too. Kevin is so talented that I would drive a long way to hear him anytime. He may be the most talented musician I have ever heard in person. This being Peoria, he is on my way home from work every Tuesday. Kevin is also an ungodly four mallet vibes man and by all accounts a great Jazz drummer. Not to sell Mike short; Mike Nellas goes toe to toe with Kevin without even thinking about it, and I love the way he plays. I have only heard him play guitar on a CD, but it leaves me wanting to hear much, much more.

The house instrument at Panache is a Yamaha baby grand. John, the owner, has supported live Jazz there for at least eleven years. He is trying to weather the current economic storm and I have feeling he must be reaching into his own pocket sometimes to carry the Jazz these days. I hope your town has a John Valentine.

Kevin's wife Cassie holds forth there each Thursday night. She has as good or better tone on her Selmer Paris Mark VI alto as I have ever heard and plays with consummate skill and a fairly mellow presentation. She brings along various musicians for the ride. Once a month Kevin plays piano with her group, usually the last Thursday of the month I think.

I had to pass on Thursday this last week but went back to Panache Saturday night to catch some more people I know. Each Saturday Bridget's alto and her friend Eric's trumpet lead a group. Sometimes Dave Hoffman sits in. While Bridget and Eric are young and still coming up, Dave is world class already. For the last thirteen years of Ray Charles' career, Dave was the composer/arranger and trumpet/flugelhorn soloist for his orchestra. I found out Saturday he is also capable of absolutely breaking my heart with the cornet. Dave plays a gig every Friday night there but as it is a Happy Hour time slot I am always at work. In any case, it is great to hear Dave sit in but Bridget & Eric supply my Jazz fix just fine all by themselves. Their drummer is a bonus. I have seldom seen a drummer enjoy playing more, and it shows. Everyone in the room paying attention picks up on it.

Sunday night was the monthly Central Illinois Jazz Society (CIJS) (http://www.peoriajazz.com/home.php http://www.midil.com/cijs.html ) concert at a local hotel. They have been putting these on for twenty years, but this was my first. I discovered these dedicated people when I finally asked who they were at Panache. They sit at a front table almost every Tuesday and Thursday and I am after all curious. If I sit two feet from the same people for a couple of months I guess I feel the need to break the ice at some point. :D

What did my seven dollar ticket buy? The concert was fantastic. The guests were the Western Illinois University Jazz Studio Orchestra, a seventeen piece outfit that gave lie to all my negative prejudices concerning large Jazz ensembles. Led by Dr. John Cooper and joined for the night by Dave Hoffman, the JSO used none of the Basie cliches I hate, instead playing solid real Jazz, combo Jazz with more pieces really. There was no resemblance to a swing or dance band. It was outstanding. Exciting! Doc Mark, if you are reading this I have to tell you they played the best charts I have ever heard. Some were by Dave as he has written a lot of material. I wish I could remember the other names, as Dr. Cooper gave everyone credit. We are talking four trombones, four trumpets, two altos, two tenors, a baritone, drums, guitar, stand up bass, and piano. Whenever the baritone came in it had so much authority I wonder how anyone gets along without one. Talking to John afterward, he said there were no bari solos because his man was new to the band. This outfit was so good the only way you could tell it was a college outfit was the solos. They were nice but not what you might hear from veterans. Still, I had to keep telling myself these were kids even though I sat right in front, perhaps five feet from Dr Cooper. Dave Hoffman's horn bell was three feet directly in front of me! (We sat around tables.) I am not shy about taking the good seat. :) There was a sound board and a PA, but in my seat I could not hear it. And let me tell you the sound was wonderful, nearly blowing me out of my chair. Pure heaven.

Between the wonderful sets by the JSO, the CIJS house band played. I am never going to willingly miss these guys again. Drums, bass, guitar, piano and alto (by the leader, Larry Harms). Dave sat in for the session. A few highlights. I had only heard Larry sit in on piano at Bridget's gig. He is her teacher. His alto playing is not to be missed. I seriously mean that. I was stunned. Larry had just hurt his leg and showed up in a wheelchair, and I am so glad he made the effort. The drummer is very serious and just right. Always. The piano guy is new to the band, plays a style I could listen to forever and plays it damn well. The guitarist plays the prettiest instrument I have ever seen and plays a style I have craved for decades but had not found until now. Believe it or not, he is a chemistry teacher at a local college. The bass player, Randy Emert, is another local guy I had only heard goofing around sitting in. He is a real showboat, meaning not in the showing off sense but having a lot of fun, but he delivers the goods. In fact, one of his solos, understandably in a piece he composed, was the best put together bass solo I have ever heard. If all bass solos were like that, there would be no jokes about them. And there was the guest, Dave Hoffman. When a guy is world class he shows you why with every note. He can't help it. Phenomenal. Dr. Cooper also sat in and is a great trumpet player, it ends up.

Next month the guest band is Larry Harms leading his college band, the Illinois Central College Hard Bop Jazz Band. With that description I think it will again be free of Basie cliches.

I have to add that at every gig I have mentioned I had no trouble sitting five feet or less from the musicians. Try that in New York. Another thing Midwestern, all of the people I have mentioned are very, very nice and really down to earth. Heck, they even talk to me! All of these settings are extremely informal.

I almost forgot. A week ago Saturday was the annual WGLT Jazz Masters Concert, a forty minute drive to the east. That is the public radio station in Bloomington (and here with a co-transmitter) that plays Jazz and Blues instead of the usual classical mix.

Last year it was the Bill Charlap trio and this year it was Sara Gazarek and her band. Tickets were general admission (sit where you want) and cost $25. Most of the cost is underwritten by a local accountant/law firm. Again, try that in New York. She was a lot of fun, really good and her band alone was worth the price.

It can't be just luck. I think if you search you will find a lot of local opportunities.

In case you might think I am making this all up, here is a picture of Bridget. If her alto looks as large as a tenor, she can not be taller than five feet, if that. Unlike Cassie, she plays it like a tenor and I have little doubt that is where she will end up. She is hard core. She turned me on to Eric Dolphy, for heaven's sake.

Clark

JeffW
02-17-2009, 08:19 AM
For those not familiar with the local cultural references. "World Famous Big Al's" is the local ecdysiast's emporium. A strip club. ADM is Archer Daniels Midland, here represented by a corn to alcohol plant built right over the former world's largest distillery (Hiram Walker) just south of downtown. Since crops to alcohol is an ecological disaster, a really low point in the scheme of things, this is obviously not a source of pride for me. (Big Al's, at least, is probably harmless unless you are an Andrea Dworkin type feminist.) I will say that as one of the few non employees to walk freely through the plant, I found the view upon emerging from the riverfront office, deep within the plant, a stunning invocation of the best photographs of Charles Sheeler.

Clark

I remember them saying the plant was once a distillery, I didn't realize it was Hiram Walker!

The huge building that used to hold barrels of whiskey had been converted into, they told me, a fish farm. They were feeding fish the residue of the corn after it had been rendered into alcohol. I didn't actually see this operation.

And if it's any consolation, the unit I worked on was a "beverage grade alcohol" unit, they called the product "100 Proof Vodka". That's not to say it didn't get used as fuel anyway, and it was a far cry from anything Hiram Walker ever made, but I was led to believe I could have done a couple of shots without going blind. This being the morning after Big Al's, a couple of shots mixed with tomato juice, Tobasco, Worchestershire, and a celery stalk would have been right welcome.

Krunchy
02-18-2009, 05:40 AM
Krunchy, it isn't so bad because New York is not the world and The Establishment does not reach locally in most places.Clark

Very true! There are plenty of little clubs where one can still access a jazz experience, lets just hope they stick around.

Ducatista47
03-07-2009, 11:01 AM
:( I am very sad to report that the Tuesday and Thursday gigs at the cafe Panache have been terminated after an eleven year run. Keven Hart, Mike Nellas, Cassie Hart and their ad hoc bandmates will now be much harder to catch in Peoria. I applaud John Valentine for supporting the nights for so long and mourn the end of an era.

The Friday and Saturday gigs survive. My bad luck that I found out about all this only last Fall, and that the Friday night gig is when I am working. I had been wanting to see Kevin and Cassie again for more than a dozen years; please seek out your local opportunities. You never know when they will end.

Clark

herki the cat
07-31-2009, 02:06 AM
I saw his band play in that hall in December 2007. My only memory of the show was a large JBL PA speaker sitting smack in my face. The complimentary tickets were front row, farthest to the left. And they had some of the PA speakers sitting right on the stage wings.

I know this is a JBL forum -- and I may get burned for this -- but I do not like this sound of their modern PA speakers. Can you say hard, explosive and fatiguing? So we had to get up and leave. A shame.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

My two cents

This not a JBL speaker problem It is usually poor overloaded cheap microphones and inadequate amplifiers set up & managed by incomptant operators.

I have old Adage: Never roll over & play dead__if the electronics is too loud in a house PA ask the manager to turn it down & if it is the musician's PA, talk to the musician in charge of the PA. We have this problem every where including our "over 50's ", call it "over 70's & 80's" Ski Club spring diner dance events. I once asked a little musicians group to turn it down & it was a disaster. They were very poor musicians hiding under a horendous, excruciating PA sound level.

Take a Radio Shack sound pressure level meter with you to demonstrate the hearing-damage sound pressure levels. Make it sound like the speaking person is standing three feet to your side with a soft voice. That would be RCA Engineering Sound Quality. :applaud:

Church PA instalations by amateur technitions are atrocious & boomy, Usualy there is a funky cheap horn speaker that sounds like the product is coming -
out of a bucket & this is totaly unecessary. The usual requirement is for some unobtrusive private hearing wireless system for the hearing impaired people.
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cheers, herki the cat

Allanvh5150
07-31-2009, 02:53 AM
It is also proof that 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and 13ths shouldn't be added to every chord just because you can. Jazz is best apreciated by other people.