[Dixielandjazz] What's Perfect? - redux

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Wed Jun 22 14:48:53 PDT 2005

I teach music as the Woodwind Specialist at a Lutheran High school and I
like "Music is God's way of telling us we aren't perfect"

Larry - St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing" <sign.guy at charter.net>
To: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>; "DJML"
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2005 2:08 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Billy Joel "Just The Way You Are" coversion

> snip: I Agree except that I don't know what "perfect" is.
> In every human endeavor we are taught by religion that there is only one
> thing that's perfect.  Without getting metaphysical every human has his
> definition.
> To an obsessive compulsive there can never, to the point of being locked
> anything right.  To the Pollyanna everything is perfect.  Hopefully we
> somewhere in between.
> Again how high is high and how low is low?  It's again subjective and any
> definition will come up short because there are a lot of people that will
> and do say ok what about this.  There will be approximately as many "what
> about" or "I know this guy" as there are people.
> Perfect is what pleases me but I think Mozart, musically, would become
> pretty close in almost everyone's list.
> Musically it's what works and can it be improved upon?  I'm sure that
> Parton thought that "don't cry out loud" the way she did it was perfect
> couldn't be improved on.  Then enter from the wings Whitney Houston.  Only
> the bravest singer on Idol will try it because the only way that you can
> is down.  Does that mean the performance is perfect but to most peoples
> and their money follows what they like this is close.  I would have
> that Nat King Cole's rendition of Unforgettable was "perfect" then Natalie
> came along and "Improved" it.  Will someone come along that does better?
> don't know but maybe.  In music there is always someone ore something
> waiting in the wings.
> snip:>I Agree. I go further and believe that there are many Pop tunes
> written over
> > the last century that don't fit well. Especially those "obscure" ones
> > the "Artsy" folks love. But I also believe that there are many more
> current
> > songs out there that can be adapted quite well to the Jazz idiom.
> Absolutely but I just don't think that adapting this particular song will
> make it do anything but sound corny and speaking of that, I don't know
> actually but the Miller solos may have been played by someone and
> transcribed.  I think that the reason a lot of guys don't play the written
> solo that's in the mood is the range used.  It goes from the top of the
> to the bottom and those Bb two octave skips at any kind of tempo requires
> two things: a good player and a perfectly functioning horn along with some
> other considerations.
> I totally agree except for maybe the first person who did it it's
> not jazz.  Jazz when copied has a way of becoming trite or corny. I would
> say that almost always I don't like written solos and as the public that
> ever heard a Miller record dies off the more right you become.
> snip:We could play "Just The Way You Are" just like Joel does, however,
> > tonight we played it as Dixieland Jazz. It sounded just fine to my ears.
> That's what I'm saying it's subjective.  I think it doesn't work and you
> That has nothing to do with how many jobs we play a week  If it pleases
> and more important to a working musician, does it please your listeners?
> That's what's most important.
> All Jazz is fleeting and unless it's captured on paper or by recording it
> only registers in the listener's mind.
> Larry Walton
> St. Louis
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Steve barbone" <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
> To: "LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing" <sign.guy at charter.net>;
> <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, June 21, 2005 11:16 PM
> Subject: Billy Joel "Just The Way You Are" coversion to Swing/Dixieland
> > LARRY at sign.guy at charter.net wrote: (some polite snips)
> >
> >
> > > Of course anything is possible in music but sometimes you just
> > > muck with perfect.  It's a matter of taste.  Of course any tune with a
> > > harmonic progression can be "adapted" to anything and a jazz line can
> > > played with it and of course anything with a melody can have a
> > > countermelody, that I think, is a given.
> >
> > Agree except that I don't know what "perfect" is.
> >
> > > Sometimes things are improved, for example we Start Alice blue gown in
> three
> > > and kick it into 4 as a Dixie up beat tune and the last several bars
> a
> > > waltz.  It works.  I think most people would agree that Beethoven's
> just
> > > wouldn't work as a cha cha or waltz or even a Jazz tune but of course
> > > anything is possible, they turned it into a disco but I don't recall
> that it
> > > had any improv in it thus it wasn't jazz.  Another example is "Tea for
> Two"
> > > changed into a Cha Cha.  That works well and I think a lot of people
> prefer
> > > it that way but that doesn't make it jazz until you change it with
> chordal
> > > modification and improvisations on the basic rhythm/chord structure.
> >
> > Maybe so, but so what? We sometimes play Tea For Two as a Cha Cha and
> > Improvise upon it. Is it then "Latin Jazz", "Dixieland Jazz", "Jazz", A
> "Cha
> > Cha", or "Pop Music?" Labels are so very confusing. :-) VBG. Where is it
> > written that one must modify the chords, or improvise on the basic
> > rhythm/chord structure in order to make a tune into "Jazz"? Tea For Two
> Cha
> > Cha as we do it qualifies as Jazz as far as I'm concerned. Using the
> > Chords, Different Rhythm, + Improvisation. And we're not trying to
> > anything by playing a song as jazz. We are merely communicating "Cosa
> > Nostra" (our thing) to the audience.
> >
> > > I guess I didn't make myself clear.  I was referring to the basic
> > > rhythm style and chord structure not that it couldn't have
> improvisations on
> > > the melody line.
> >
> > > Don't confuse improvisation and Jazz with the basic structure of a
> > > They are not the same.  Changing the style of a tune isn't Jazz or
> > > improvisation any more than changing the key is.  It's of course
> permissible
> > > to do those things but I never heard anyone say "Wow did you hear the
> way he
> > > rushed his solo" or "That guy blew me away by his key changes."
> >
> > I don't confuses them and never said or implied that changing the style
> a
> > tune made it Jazz. By the same token, I have heard, many times, jazz
> > musicians state what you say you have never heard, with both key
> > modulations, and changes of key that are written into a tune by the
> > composer. For example the bridges in Cherokee, or Have You Met Miss
> > in effect, employ key changes. Going up a step, or a half step, or down
> > step, or a half step is . . . changing the key. There are lots of key
> > changes written or implied into tunes that blow listeners away (mostly
> other
> > musicians or listeners with EARS) when played by competent Jazz
> >
> > > All music can be improvised on but IMO there are limits.  I think that
> Billy
> > > Joel's interpretation is pretty good.  A  bossa rock has nothing to do
> with
> > > improvising.  You can still keep the chord structure and the basic
> rhythm
> > > style.  I'm not aware that playing Jazz has anything to do with meter
> key
> > > and there  is no obligation to change the background rhythm patterns
> > > (example rock to swing).  While you may change those things and many
> people
> > > have done just that, it really begs the point at times and doing it
> not
> > > constitute jazz in any definition I have ever heard.
> >
> > Yes, all music can be improvised. In fact most of the music over the
> > 2000 years was improvised. Not much was written out until about 200
> > ago. I think Billy Joel is pretty good too. But I'm not sure I
> > you. Peggy Lee changed the rhythm of "Lover". I would call her version
> > "Jazz". We could play "Just The Way You Are" just like Joel does,
> > tonight we played it as Dixieland Jazz. It sounded just fine to my ears.
> And
> > I consider myself a JAZZ MUSICIAN, better yet, one who today makes a
> living
> > as a "working" jazz musician.
> >
> > > it's my feeling that this particular song is not a good choice
> > > for trad Dixie styling or swing.  There may be many of his tunes that
> might
> > > work out well but a tune that has been done in a more or less strict
> duple
> > > time is kind of quaint as swing and just doesn't fit quite right.
> >
> > I respect, but disagree with your feeling. The song in question worked
> very
> > well for our band as a Dixieland Jazz Tune. As did many pop tunes of the
> > 1920s and 30s for bands during that time period.
> >
> > > Sometimes a solo becomes so ingrained in the public's mind that to
> change it
> > > just doesn't make it.  IMO an example of an ingrained solo is the sax
> solo
> > > in "In the Mood" as well as some other Miller things.  I have heard
> > > guys including the current Miller band improv through that solo and
> again
> > > IMO it takes something away even though they were well done.  That's
> coming
> > > from a guy that really doesn't like written solos very much.
> >
> > Disagree again. The public (most of it, that is) has, IMO, no idea what
> the
> > Sax Solo in "In The Mood" sounds like. Personally I hear it as corny.
> > only that, but since it was written out, it may not really be jazz
> according
> > to your own prior reasoning. Another example; I love the Picou High
> Society
> > clarinet obbligato solo, but I no longer play it as an exact copy. Not
> only
> > that, but neither did many reed men who are far more competent than I.
> > Bechet's versions differ. Ditto for Albert Nicholas, Omer Simeon and a
> whole
> > bunch of others. They all added to the original, some, like Bechet,
> changed
> > it quite a bit.
> >
> > > I just think that there a lot of tunes (many modern rock) that just
> don't
> > > fit very well as Swing or Dixie and really don't lend themselves to
> anything
> > > but what they are.
> >
> > Agree. I go further and believe that there are many Pop tunes written
> > the last century that don't fit well. Especially those "obscure" ones
> > the "Artsy" folks love. But I also believe that there are many more
> current
> > songs out there that can be adapted quite well to the Jazz idiom. And it
> is
> > these "familiar" songs that the audience responds to. Perhaps that is
> I
> > am one of a very few "working" Dixieland Jazz Musicians who actually
> a
> > living performing it?
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Steve Barbone
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Steve Barbone
> _______________________________________________
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list