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When is "too soon"?
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject: When is "too soon"? Reply with quote

Would appreciate your opinions here, people.

A couple of years ago I left my own blues/rock band because I decided that it was "now or never" if I was ever going to play jazz guitar. Found myself a guitar teacher, started learning stuff. After a while, was lucky enough to find myself a guy who is a theory teacher and also a well-respected musician on the local playing scene, as well as being a known m.d. for theatre and a session player. Shortly after that I found a local Jazz Workshop kind of band which gives me the chance to play in a collective kind of thing with horns & keys. Then I kind of outgrew the first guitar teacher and found someone who is moving me onto the next level. And I bought the guitar that would lhelp me to do that.

So far so good. However, everyone was saying that it would be good to play with other people. So I've lined up a former bass-player, who knows a drummer, and linked up with one of the sax-players from the workshop band. We're kind of getting something together and the first full meet-up is on Saturday.

Except I'm really bothered that I don't know enough to call myself a "jazz guitarist" and I'm concerned that I'm going to make myself look stupid. I see the theory stuff on here posted by some very knowledgeable people - and I don't know a tenth of it. I don't really read very much and despite having been in various sorts of bands over the past 35 years, I'm getting stage-fright before the first rehearsal!!

Am I out of my depth? Am I out of my mind? I'm starting to think that I've gone too soon. Or is the only way to find out to try, and maybe fail?
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的t's like an act of murder; you play with intent to commit something" - Duke Ellington
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Jake Hanlon



Joined: 11 Jul 2007
Posts: 525
Location: Nova Scotia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isn't ever too soon. If you have some sort of facility over the instrument get out and play... AND get out and play with your betters. This is the only place to truly really learn this music and "get it".

Yes you might get beat up a bit and mostly that'll be yourself. If you explain to the guys that you're nervous or feel out of your element they will understand. They just want to play man, and you just want to play so you are all on the same page.

Theory and practice room knowledge is all well and good. I am at the point with my students that next semester I am forcing them to get out and play with rhythm sections, flat out forcing them too regardless of how ready they are. Reason is for me it was playing in those situations that made everything really click. Play-alongs, metronome practice, shedding scales whatever is all just a cheap substitute for the actual music.

So I say get out there and play. If you get your butt kicked then good, learn from the mistakes you make because you're always going to make them. I mess up every time I play at some point or the other. There's no perfect performance and we're all in this together.

Number 1 though, go in with a positive attitude and have as much fun as you can allow yourself to have. Because that's the purpose isn't it?
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jake, tho' I have to say that it was viewing the excellence of your website, inter alia, that got me into this state of panic in the first place!! Ironically appropriate that you're the first one back to me. Laughing
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Jake Hanlon



Joined: 11 Jul 2007
Posts: 525
Location: Nova Scotia

PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, don't worry about me. I completely know what the situation is like my friend.

We have this problem I think in Jazz way more then other styles of music where our aspirations and the bars are set so high by other players you perhaps know, or even more frightening by people you've never heard of that one may never feel ready. I dig that and I know what it feels like.

I'll tell you though, the proof is out there. I was once feeling very overwhelmed not to long about when I saw a video of Wes Montgomery playing Full house live and there was a smile from ear to ear. it made me remember that none of that ego stuff, none of the fear of playing ever matters and that we, you and I are so privileged to get to play this music. I'll never reach the level of what Wes played, and I'm totally fine with that. I've got what I've got and I do what I can with it, if I play well enough to inspire someone then my God that is a special thing.

Just make the best of it young Grasshopper. Get out there and play in the fields with the other grasshoppers. Have fun, be positive and you'll grow a lot faster then you will sitting at home worrying if you're ready or not Wink
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sunflower



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 581

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to add 2 cents

This pure theory thing is strange
A mate of mine , a pro Sax player , is a great improv-er
and can seemingly blow with abandon over anything
he knows many tunes and styles well

I was asking him about a theory question once
and he honestly didn't know what I was on about !
this made a big change in my approach

learn and play lots of tunes

Now I do use/need some theory, it does help me get my head around tunes and how they work , similarities bettween them etc etc

But you don't need much theory to play jazz
You've probably got all you need already

What you do need is to know lots of tunes
and to practice lots to get your facility up

Jem
learning Sunny Side of the Street
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sunflower



Joined: 09 Mar 2007
Posts: 581

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sory forgot to say ..........

Yeah go for it !
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thumbs Up!

Songs for the first rehearsal:

Wave
Tenor Madness
Summertime
Hide and Seek (Redman)

plus various other standards as we go.

Will post results, watch this space.
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there all,

Shocked

Confused

Surprised


I got me a group.

Awesome!

Didn't get Hide and Seek done, though did add Midnight Blue, also All Blues and Mercy Mercy Mercy, with pretty good results. All of us finished with smiles on faces and I got by, even though I know I could have done better. But that gives me something to aim at for next time.

Still buzzin'. Hope it continues to feel this good.

Thanks to Jake and Jem for your encouragement.
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jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 968
Location: SanAntonio , Tx

PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good for you! Keep going.
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: When is "too soon"? Reply with quote

MangoTango wrote:
Except I'm really bothered that I don't know enough to call myself a "jazz guitarist" and I'm concerned that I'm going to make myself look stupid.


Well, that was a few weeks ago. And now, I have a gig with the workshop band just before Christmas. And I'm getting some kind of a repertoire together for the quartet.

But I've also promised to play with some members of my old blues-rock band for the bassist's 50th birthday party. The drummer won't be able to play due to ill-health, so we got in the keyboards player's current guy to rehearse. Chatting to him as we were setting up, he asked what I'm doing now. Without thinking twice, I replied "I play jazz now" and I meant it. As if to prove it, during a solo on "Kiss" (yep, the Prince almost-a-12-bar funk thang), I went from a jazz blues scale in A and slipped up a semi tone, outlined a Bb7 arp, then went to the V chord. With the FX I was using, it sounded pure Sco. And I didn't do it to be flash, it's just...that's the kind of thing that I do sometimes, these days. 'Cos I play jazz now. Wink

Except I'd never have done that when I was in the band before. It's down to having two good teachers, learning loads from them and loads more from some great people on here and on another (Belgian) jazz Guitar site, getting some time in playing Jazz with other people and developing the confidence to play what I hear in the head. Even a few weeks ago, as can be seen from the above, I wasn't sure that I had the faith in myself to do that. Funny how your attitudes shift, huh? And as we all know....shift happens.... Twisted Evil

Of course, a nice new guitar helps too. Cool
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have my first gig as a Jazz Guitarist tonight, people, with the Southend Jazz Co-Operative band. It's a workshop kind of group, comprising a drummer, 2 pianists, bassist (maybe 2), 2 trumpeters and a flugelhorn, 5 altos, 5 tenors, potentially 3 other guitarists...and Mango, nervous as hell. And, given the season, possibly a partidge in a pear tree.
Venue - a Church Hall in Leigh-On-Sea, near Southend, Essex, UK. Likekly audience - friends, families, maybe a few waifs and strays who have seen the flyers and advertising.

Set list:

1. Birdland
2. Saxes With Attitude
3. Sugar
4. Mercy Mercy Mercy
5. The Weasil
6. Blue Monk
7. Well You Needn稚
8. In Walked Bud
9. Doxy
10. Theme from Alfie
11. All the Things You Are
12. Laird Baird

I'm likely to get a feature on Donald Byrd's "The Weasil", bit of funky wah-wah stuff; maybe get to blow on a couple of others. Guitars and pianists take turns on comping (note the word "Co-Operative" in the title?)

Wish me luck! (Confused nervous Mango!)
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Gorecki
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 62518
Location: Davis, CA

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MangoTango wrote:
Wish me luck! (Confused nervous Mango!)


Good luck! Wink

Let us know how it went.
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, guv'nor!! Very Happy

Full report, doubtless to be in excruciatingly dull detail for the rest of you, to follow in due course.
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synchromatic



Joined: 12 Dec 2008
Posts: 23
Location: Montgomery, Alabama

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howdy all, I'm new to the list. Here's what I've found, after spending 19 years playing rock, country, and blues, I've really taken to playing swing era jazz for about 1 year now. I'm not great, and I hate to ever tell anyone that I'm a "jazz" player because I know I'm not up to par. But the average listener at the bar doesn't know any difference. I fake it, just like my wife. I'd feel uncomfortable playing for real jazz musicians, but for entertaining the general public, it's fun to fake it and I'm learning at the same time. I don't think it's ever too soon to play with a group.
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MangoTango



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 307
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Well, I did it! The band numbered 24 in the end (one guitarist dropped out, but we had an extra tenor and 2 , count 'em 2 baritones), so didn't get to play on every tune, and only soloed on 3, plus shared out the comping duties between the 3 guitarists (alternating songs with the 2 pianists, and then taking turns on the "guitar" songs) but still enjoyed the whole thing.

Did my funky wah-wah thing on Donald Byrd's "The Weasil", and ripped it Cool ; had a crack at Mercy Mercy Mercy but wasn't all that pleased with the result (tried to superimpose a Cm7 over the Bb/Eb changes in the verse, for a little bit more interest, and though the notes sounded OK, the phrasing was a bit iffy Confused ; and then had a chorus on "Doxy" which went OK Smile . Arps up, scales down. Got good sounds during the concert - buying that D'Angelico was the best thing I ever did Very Happy .

All in all though it was a fairly gentle baptism, but at least I've done it. Now to get the quartet up and running!! That will be different gravy and much more demanding Shocked , but I can't wait to get going on it!!

Thanks to all for your support.
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