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Sage Wisdom

"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."



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October 9, 2011 | Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette

One of our favorite columns is Seattle musician and "All About Jazz" writer Bill Anschell with his crazy club observations of the challenges of the jazz musician in the form of a hilarious mock advice column, Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum You can find it on the All About Jazz website, or follow his Page on Facebook. We give you a taste below.

Dear Mr. P.C.:
Jazz is a finite resource, right? So when people write long compositions or take long solos, aren't they stripping the planet? What will be left for our children and grandchildren?
Saxophonists Against Future Exploitation

Dear SAFE:
Of course there are the jazz depletion deniers who say we can always find more. They want us to mine the music of remote aboriginal tribes, for example, then distill it and extract essential elements of jazz. Pentatonic scales, maybe, or out of tune vocals. But that's a short-sighted approach that simply postpones jazz music's extinction.

Rather than plundering the planet, we could do much better by modifying our behavior. We really don't need saxophonists who spit out hundreds of notes per minute; instead we can develop more note-efficient players able to coast on a whole note or even rest for measures at a time. And in the place of modern composers writing wasteful extended works for big band -- literally thousands of notes per piece! --we can go back to the sensible and economical model of lead sheets for trio.

But conservation alone won't be enough; we must turn to alternative, renewable sources of jazz. These, of course, are colleges and conservatories, which efficiently convert tuition dollars into vast numbers of jazz performers and composers able to crank out low-grade jazz in tremendous quantity. There's no end to the number of programs our planet can accommodate, and no limit to the number of notes their graduates will produce.

Problem solved! Anyone who tells you otherwise is in the pocket of the jazz industry ("Big Jazz"), a greedy monolith that squandered the abundant jazz resources in flusher times, and is now desperately clinging to its last vestiges of power.

Read entire September Entry

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FacebookLogo.jpg Mr. P.C.'s Guide to Jazz Etiquette and Bandstand Decorum

Posted by Ted at October 9, 2011 6:03 AM


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