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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. I've been trying to like jazz for at least 6 years now. Maybe 1 out of 1,000 jazz songs ever make my hairs stand up on my neck.

I agree that guitarists like Joe Pass and Pat Martino were/are impressive, but is it just me or does the neurotic form sound like complete crap?

Okay, so jazz is "good," maybe even "the supreme music of the universe." Why do people like hearing it? There's something about the crazy off-time and complex melodies that make me want to hurl.

There, I said it.:thumb:
 

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You'll probably find that as you get older and more advanced in rock and metal guitar licks, one day that style might start to bore you, because you will have heard everything there is to hear, and played everything there is to play. Jazz/Fusion opens up doors to new ideas that might let you escape from the box as it were. A lot of former heavy metal guitarists of the 80's are now playing Jazz/Fusion, or some variation thereof. Chris Poland, Tony MacAlpine, and Greg Howe come to mind.
 

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I kinda had the same problem with Jazz that you had...the albums that got me into Jazz are..."Headhunters" -Herbie Hancock, and "Bitches Brew" -Miles Davis. Both records bleed musical genius...I guarantee that both of these albums rank on the greatest records ever made. These records pioneered jazz, as well as any other genre influenced by African American music, in the western world...today.
 

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AtomicBomb said:
Hey everyone. I've been trying to like jazz for at least 6 years now. Maybe 1 out of 1,000 jazz songs ever make my hairs stand up on my neck.

I agree that guitarists like Joe Pass and Pat Martino were/are impressive, but is it just me or does the neurotic form sound like complete crap?

Okay, so jazz is "good," maybe even "the supreme music of the universe." Why do people like hearing it? There's something about the crazy off-time and complex melodies that make me want to hurl.

There, I said it.:thumb:

Wow, complete agreement with just about everything you said there.

For me, the basis of all "good" music is melody and composition. Call me stupid or musically challenged, but there really needs to be something I can hum along too in order for me to truly enjoy a piece of music.

The complexity or the technique behind a piece of music really don't impress me that much, they are simply a means to an end. If you can create a memorable melody using a crapload of technique (i.e. "For the Love of God"), more power to you.

One of the problem with a lot of jazz (and 80's metal) (and Dream Theater), is that the musical technique is no longer an means to an end. It is simply an end in itself. That is, the "better" jazz tune will be the one with the most pure technique thrown in. For the jazz world, this might sound something like: "Wow, so and so can play these notes over this progression, I never would have thought of using that mode, oh, and check out the notes he DIDN'T play there!". To appreciate a song on that level is fine, its just not something I can personally groove with (unless your name is Sun Ra).

Additionally, another problem with a lot of jazz is that it is meant to be played as an improv jam style of music. It is pretty damn hard to come up with a memorable melody on the spot.

But yes, I do like the more hummable genres of jazz (i.e. swing, smooth-jazz). Oh, and Sun Ra :)
 

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AtomicBomb said:
Hey everyone. I've been trying to like jazz for at least 6 years now. Maybe 1 out of 1,000 jazz songs ever make my hairs stand up on my neck.

I agree that guitarists like Joe Pass and Pat Martino were/are impressive, but is it just me or does the neurotic form sound like complete crap?

Okay, so jazz is "good," maybe even "the supreme music of the universe." Why do people like hearing it? There's something about the crazy off-time and complex melodies that make me want to hurl.

There, I said it.:thumb:
I also completely agree.

The only jazz i like is the older stuff from people like Wes Montgomery or Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" album. I also liked one particular collaboration between Paco de Lucia and John McLaughlin:rock: . I think that the really good stuff is in the large jazz ensembles. Last spring, i went to one at my university and was absolutely floored:rock: . I was pretty lucky because there was a famous saxophonist named Jeff Coffin who sat in and jammed:afro: which was friggin' awsome lol.

More obscure stuff like Allan Holdsworth or Frank Gambale is just something that i can't grasp or enjoy very much, though i have enormous respect for their musicianship.
 

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It's funny, I've played in Jazz bands and visited with musicians that were die hard Jazz fans. They always say that the #1 rule is never sacrifice the grove for a fill. It's funny because many of them won't stick to this rule, especially when it comes time for one up the other guy.

I have Sirius satellite radio and have planet jazz on one of the presets. It depends on the song if I listen for too long or not. Occasionally I find a song with a great grove and I set back and enjoy. There are some runs and fills that boggle the mind but the great stuff will stick with you like Peanut Butter. Then again there are times I'll switch it back to blues or rock because it's putting me to sleep.

Listening to the 20th anniversary copy of "Surfing with the Alien" it surprised me how the best stuff on the disc is the humble harmonies that Joe came up with. Even the fast stuff fit the grove well and wasn't there to show off his technique.

I guess I'm in camp that The Ulnarian is in. I can listen to Dream Theater and be impressed for 10 minutes and then it starts to blur together. The new Velvet Revolver record doesn't have the same chops, but the hooks will dig into you all day long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the feedback fellas.

"Headhunters" -Herbie Hancock, and "Bitches Brew" -Miles Davis.
Wes Montgomery
I didn't think of Herbie or Montgomery when starting this thread. I can listen to Herbie Handcock all damnday. Wes Montgomery, I dig the tasteful melodies with the octaves, but I still don't know if I can get through an album.

You'll probably find that as you get older and more advanced in rock and metal guitar licks, one day that style might start to bore you, because you will have heard everything there is to hear, and played everything there is to play.
I see what you're saying, but I also think rock has always been open for new developments. I've even heard a sort of jazz/rock fuze that's all right.

You know, I grew up in the 90s so maybe it's just too late for me to understand how to groove to jazz. But... some of the stuff does blow me away occasionally.

...On a related note, something that really actually pissesmeoff is how tons of people in the guitar world thinks you suck just because you're playing something simple.

I read that comment about Satriani. I've heard guitarists rip on him, "Oh he uses that one-hand crap." Well, because to him it sounds better. How would Surfing with the Alien sound all shredded out? What if he didn't apply those simple memorable melodies here and there? You'd have a bunch of cocky BS.:wiggle:
 

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Maybe jazz groves aren't for you, AB. I've known lots of horn players that excelled at classical orchestrated music but couldn't feel the syncopation in jazz. The same might be said about other musicians that excel at jazz but are so bored with eighth-note oriented pop and rock that they lose the groove. I grew up with my dad blasting Count Basie and Frank Sinatra while I was in my room blasting the Beatles, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Maybe that's why I can fit into jazz and pop/rock grooves? I dunno - too psychiatric/psychological for my limited gray matter.

Have you listened to Jeff Beck's "Blow by Blow"? There's some jazz/fusion you might get into! If its a goal you want to meet, jazz will come to you. If you have no real incentive (or fav tunes) for jazz, it might just be boring.
 

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AtomicBomb said:
I read that comment about Satriani. I've heard guitarists rip on him, "Oh he uses that one-hand crap." Well, because to him it sounds better. How would Surfing with the Alien sound all shredded out? What if he didn't apply those simple memorable melodies here and there? You'd have a bunch of cocky BS.:wiggle:
Yeah alot of the super tasteless shredders guys dont like him because he does alot of legato. One reason he said that he developed it is because he always imagined a bunch of sixteenth/32nd notes when people speed picked. I guess it was just unnatural for him.

Personally, i agree with him. Ive heard some guys (no name dropping lol) that are blistering with the alternate picking, but it is so fast and so overdriven that the sound of the pick attack almost begins to dominate the sound of the actual note(s).

With Wes Montgomery, you should just check some stuff out of him on youtube if you havent already. There is some cool live stuff and the guy looks like he's sittin' on top of the world when he's playing lol.
 

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I prefer to listen to smooth Jazz,,,,,the guitar/acoustic work is really pleasant and its nice to hear real musicians, I mean musicians that can read music. Its always good to relax your soul. Acoustic Alchemy comes to mind. Google it.
 

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An interesting topic and interesting discussion. I grew up playing in the late 70's and early 80's and have been a die-hard metalhead my whole life. Having said that, my father is a jazz afficionado and I did 2 years at Berklee so have come to love jazz as a form of music. Having said that, there are plenty of genres within the context of jazz that strike me as a bit absurd, or better yet, out of sorts with my palete. In music to each their own, I was a huge fan of shred in the 80's, Yngwie to Michael Angelo. Now, I still enjoy it in moderation but love the way certain players (Greg Howe for example) have elevated their technique by way of their melody and musicality. Satriani was a key figure I think in giving the instumental guitar/shred movement a new direction to follow.
Jazz has so many dialects, Pass, Montgomery, Hall, Carlton, Miles, Coltrane, Metheny, Martino and on and on, they all come with their own ideas and that is the beauty of jazz. the more you listen, the wider your exposer the greater your understanding and perhaps you may find some that you enjoy, or not. Nothing wrong with that either, taste is taste and no one person's likes and dislikes are superior than anyone elses...
 

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Try listening to keith jarrett's koln concert. Jazz for me works both as background music or intense listening. Jazz is romantic, its like a women - u may not understand it but as u mature it all fits together. Also check out tuck andreas, great guitarist.
 

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i cant say i enjoy listening to jazz. but i love to play jazz, i just use my modified strat and play alot of jazz jams with my band. Its fun to use all those chords everyone ignores most of the time.
 

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I have to say, that while I can recognize true talent in jazz musicians and I wouldn't knock anyone for liking jazz, I have never found it pleasing to the ear. To me it seems to ramble on forever and I tire of it quite quickly. But that's just me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Been listening to some jazz guitar the last couple days trying to like it again. Thoughts... Pat Metheney so-so, Frank Gambale amazing but unpleasant, Wes Montgomery is pretty relaxing and soulful, Alan Holdsworth really cheesy, Joe Pass has his moments, Django Reinhardt awesome but still sounds like crap to me...

Been messing around with some Wes Montgomery licks. It's kind of neat playing some of these melodies because I find that, like the Charlie Christian I've heard, he has some repetitive and memorable parts.

Even so, I have to turn up the distortion and tare it up after a little while.
 

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So are you looking for jazz guitar stuff or jazz in general to make your hair stand on end? Like techno music, its a pretty wide spectrum to find the gems, especially coming from a guitar playing perspective.

I personally enjoy jazz as calming background music, so that endless easy groove and feeform chaos helps create a particular mood that I find great for sundays while reading the paper or painting. I was lucky to grow up under my fathers jazz influence - he's been collecting jazz since the 50's and that helped my appreciation. Have a candlelit romantic dinner planned? Are you honestly going to throw Allan Holdworth onto the CD? Put on some late night jazz like Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Nat Cole, Billie Holiday. Looking for some music while you study? Try the greats like Miles Davis 'kind of blue', John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakely, Dexter Gordon, Horace Silver, Cannonball Adderley (there are some super early Cannonball live recordings around) - they're timeless and there's a lot to discover in the music. Blue Note records is the stuff to dig. Best of blue note jazz would be some easy disks to score.

Jazz guitar has traditionally been a rhythm instrument, so the best jazz is usually fuelled by other lead instruments like sax. Most of the virtuoso lead guitarists end up in fusion which is IMO always the same at the end of the day, or are just playing rediculously fast all the time like Holdsworth and John Mcglaughin. I could also never get into Pat Metheny. I had him on a mixed chill jazz/folk CD and would always find myself listening to the windham hill groups and shadowfax tracks, which did make my hairs stand up despite being conservative. So maybe from a guitarists point of view there's a wildness missing from jazz guitar, many people have possibly tried to change that and its never really worked often in the mainstream. I just get bored with all the Al Dimeolo speed and percussion big brass weirdness. For me the best jazz is often the simplest, the most erotic or the right on funkiest.

Jazz sounds cool out of context - like jazzy breaks in early Black Sabbath songs (symton of the universe, supernaut etc) or someone like Sting's later albums where he uses haunting jazzy timbres.

I know Keith Jarret is not everyones cup of tea, definately an aquired taste, but his album 'the koln concert' recorded live in 1975 is still one of my fav albums that I can always come back to. Its just him and piano and he's one with that thing...slow to intense... its truly organic. He was ill during the concert and thought he played terrible but the soundman recorded it anyway and it went down as a legendary recording.

Billy Cobham - amazing drummer...Ive got a live DVD from the late 70's and their guitarist is killer given that time period. Lots of unkown and session guitarists in jazz unfortunately.

Herbie Hancock's best stuff for me is his groove period which is basically funk. Early Acid Jazz. One acid jazz band from the UK you have to check out is Corduroy. Their music rips and is fun.

About 12 years ago this jazz guitarist Barney Kessel came to my small hometown. His gig was practically unannounced, only on late night jazz radio (which only old quiet chaps like my dad listen to). He turns up at this little cafe looking like an eccentric history professor in a velvet shirt and brown jacket with patches on the elbows. He fumbled around for his guitar and borrowed fender twin and then started to play. Wow.Ive listened to him on record and its kinda homogenes. But live he did things with the guitar that would make Vai weep and all with old school tools. I guitar, 1 amp and some nice homely reverb. Barney had been a session musician and own recording artist with almost all the greats in american jazz and here he was in the middle of nowhere. The essence of Jazz is difficult to capture through an ipod. The crazy avart garde jazz is for philosphy and art students who wear berets. Id rather listen to crazy techno like Shpongle.

Different types of music obviously evoke different fantasies. When I listen to 60's rock like Hendrix or the doors I dream of going back and hanging with those guys and teaching Jimi how to play eruption or jamming the blues with Clapton. If I listen to CVH Im dreaming of being in a epic stadium late 70's after seeing the 1st screening of star wars with eddie's wizardry and Dave Lee Roth frisbying me a backstage pass. 80's music snapshots me to my childhood. Other forms of music might clearly suggest landscapes or relationships. For jazz I don't really ever dream of anything specific - its more of a cool background wallpaper or ambience and maybe to appreciate it requires listening to it in a different context to what you have for the last 6 years. Anyway what am I doing rambling - a few more names for ya
 

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Anybody listen to Weather Report? First time I heard Nubian Sundance I was blown away. Amazing musicians all the way thru their their career.Formed by Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and several other amazing musicians came & went thru the band. Jaco Pastorius became the Superstar he is while in this band. In fact their were 5 different editions of Weather Report, with Zawinul & Shorter leading the way. I would recommend the Mysterious Traveler CD and go from there. It's just amazing music, by some of the best jazz musicians around. Trust me, sample some, you'll love them. This is music that always inspires me.
 

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AtomicBomb said:
Hey everyone. I've been trying to like jazz for at least 6 years now. Maybe 1 out of 1,000 jazz songs ever make my hairs stand up on my neck.

I agree that guitarists like Joe Pass and Pat Martino were/are impressive, but is it just me or does the neurotic form sound like complete crap?

Okay, so jazz is "good," maybe even "the supreme music of the universe." Why do people like hearing it? There's something about the crazy off-time and complex melodies that make me want to hurl.

There, I said it.:thumb:
The definition of insanity is trying to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you don't like jazz, don't listen to it. Either you get it or you don't. Don't sweat it.

Jazz isn't for everybody and that's okay. It doesn't sound like complete crap. It's just you. Again, don't sweat it. As you have stated, complex melodies and crazy-off times are not for you. It is best that you stick to simple melodies and 4/4 stuff for the sake of your own sanity and your own health. Life is too short to go around hurling due to music.
 
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