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#104444 - 11/16/06 07:28 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Kind of reminds me of the situation in the late 60's. Pop music consisted mainly of rock players (Les Pauls, Strats, B-3's) an one side and folk players on the other. Both got radio time. The folk players thought that the rock players were loud, obnoxious drunks playing music of no substance and chasing women all the time (sometimes true). The rockers thought that the folk players were faking sincerity to cover up their lack of ability (some were).

Jazz is an acquired tast, kind of like fine brandy. If you're not into it, you probably don't like it.

Some jazz players spend years refining a skill which appeals to a smaller and smaller audience. Jobs are scarse, and compensation is often not enough to live on.

The music, people, venues and money are different, not necessarily superior.

To me, that's just the way it is and we need to make the best of it, whichever side we're on.

Russ

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#104445 - 11/16/06 07:46 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
Esh Offline
Member

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 256
Loc: Hilton Head, SC, USA
Let me post a quick thought here...

There is a "middle ground" with jazz also that does appeal to a very wide audience. Some jazz is what I call "difficult listening music" and it takes a trained mind to appreciate it, sort of like jazz musicians playing for other jazz musicians. But the softer smooth-jazz (aka contemporary jazz or c-jazz) has a very wide audience and is nearly unversally accepted (except by the old school jazz musos but how many of them are in your average audience anyway?). It's quite easy to take the old standards and also some well known pop songs and jazz up the rhythm and melodies a little so they have a a new twist and present them as something fresh and modern. I pretty much make my living doing this and it gets positive reactions from young and old alike.

I'm in the process of polishing up my Christmas music which I start playing next weekend (already!)... and you can bet Santa's boots it'll be a C-Jazz Christmas once again...

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#104446 - 11/16/06 08:08 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Esh, you're absolutely right. Now that I think about it, that's what I mostly do, too. This kind of music appeals to the owners and patrons of many upscale restaurants. Many contemporary tunes are now being played on contemporary jazz format stations(smooth jazz). Think of Foreplay, Lee Retinauer, The Rippingtons and many more.

You have to watch volume and make sure lead lines are not too busy, but there's lots of lattitude to play tuens of significance, so both the player(s) and the audience enjoys themselves. It's all about attitude and interpretation.

There are always "hard-line" outlets (with little or no pay) to play Bill Evans, Monk, Chet Baker, etc.

I'm personally very glad for the opportunity you have identified, because starvation is not an attractive option, in my mind.

Esh, this is one of the best thought-out, well-articulated view on this complex subject I've seen.

Thanks,


Russ

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#104447 - 11/16/06 02:11 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
hellboy44 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 541
Loc: Australia
Esh, that soft middle ground Jazz (most likely done with a popular vocalist) doing more mainstream material was what I included in the "pop" material I spoke of - perhaps I didn't make that clear enough.

I am/was "hard line" enough to not consider that strictly "Jazz" but more a watered down version that appeals to that mainstream audience.
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#104448 - 11/16/06 02:16 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
hellboy44 Offline
Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 541
Loc: Australia
Captain Russ - I'm surprised that's what you do, because I got the impression in your posts that you catered for the more Hardcore Jazz aficionados.

You're certainly capable of doing more than that judging by your CV.

(I hope to have a CV like yours one day!)
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God I hate signatures.

BUT...

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#104449 - 11/16/06 03:22 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
I will compromise and play what I call smooth jazz, because I think that it's an art to be able to play a variety of good songs with a jazz attitude.

I'd like to be hardcore, but that just isn't possible around here; at least if you want to make a living.

I do smooth jazz about 50% of the time and appreciate the jobs and money.

The rest of the time, I play for me (25%-pretty straight ahead jazz) or for projects (film scores) I get my satisfaction from the WHOLE film project (writing, shooting editing, etc.)


I've been lucky...and PRACTICAL. the thing is, I want to DO IT as long as I can, enjoy myself, get paid and please whoever I'm working for (owners, promoters, organizations and individuals).


Russ

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#104450 - 11/16/06 07:48 PM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
SemiLiveMusic Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 2204
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Esh:
There is a "middle ground" with jazz also that does appeal to a very wide audience. Some jazz is what I call "difficult listening music" and it takes a trained mind to appreciate it, sort of like jazz musicians playing for other jazz musicians.


Yep. Bravo!

Most jazz, I could not care less and I know few people who could. That doesn't mean it's not good. But don't count me out because I think Hank Williams was the greatest songwriter who ever lived. Give me a song, a fiddle, a steel guitar with good players and I can challenge anyone NOT to like it. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. The second bet, if that one doesn't win, is... Give me cajun music and if you are there to experience it and don't like it, well, you are dead.

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Bill
Yamaha PSR2000
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#104451 - 11/17/06 04:12 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6703
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Quote:
Originally posted by SemiLiveMusic:

Most jazz, I could not care less and I know few people who could. That doesn't mean it's not good. But don't count me out because I think Hank Williams was the greatest songwriter who ever lived. Give me a song, a fiddle, a steel guitar with good players and I can challenge anyone NOT to like it. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. The second bet, if that one doesn't win, is... Give me cajun music and if you are there to experience it and don't like it, well, you are dead.



Bill, you're obviously very passionate about a musical form that I'm lukewarm (at best) about. You've also declared on more than one occasion, your distaste for "jazz" (however one defines it). I think that has a lot to do with what one is used to, and is comfortable playing. I also realize that there are extreme levels of quality and variation within each genre'. There is also probably something to be learned and admired in each of these musical forms if one is open-minded enough to stop and listen without prejudice. I love Willie Nelson's version of GEORGIA (nearly as much as Ray's), but I think that's because I love both the tune AND Willie's unapologetic image (I loved it when the cops found a stash of grass on his tour bus; what the heck did they expect ).

The thing is, all forms of music (except Schalager ) have something to offer in terms of ideas and inspiration. I do believe that some forms are more complex and therefore less-accessible, than others. But in the end, most forms have borrowed from others; jazz from blues, folk from country, blues from gospel, etc. Hey, it's all good.

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#104452 - 11/17/06 04:24 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
SemiLiveMusic Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 2204
Loc: Louisiana, USA
I got a little fired up, hope I didn't offend anyone. I have said before and I'll say again, I think jazz players are the most proficient players, musically. But I'm the type... you put someone like Kris Kristofferson or Hank Willaims on a barstool with a beat up acoustic guitar, singing three chord songs.. and I'd be in Heaven. They can't play well and they sing kinda raw, but... WOW. It's like old blues guys. Very raw and real.

There is some jazzy stuff I really like. But to listen to jazz a LOT is not for me. Much of it is just too doggone busy for me.

------------------
Bill
Yamaha PSR2000
_________________________
~ ~ ~
Bill

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#104453 - 11/17/06 05:59 AM Re: Piano bar, the worst gig around
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15566
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
While I applaud those who have mastered the art of playing various forms of jazz, I guess I'm just a down-home kinda' country boy at heart. As Bill said, a couple bar stools, guitars, three chords and a bit of creativity will get my feet tapping every time. When I'm where someone is doing an incredible jazz performance, I know the music is playing, but most of the time I'm just not inspired by what I hear--even from the best groups.

Cheers from an old, country boy,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
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