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acoustic Jazz

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Mahal
(@mahal)
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Topic starter  

Who are the jazz players, especially "smooth jazz" genre who primarily play acoustics? Everybody I can think of play nylon or hollow body electrics for the most part.


   
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rpcruab
(@rpcruab)
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are you talking about steel string acoustics specifically?


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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"Smooth Jazz" is a term largely applied to soft adult contemporary and/or easy listening radio. It's a product of 1980's studio producers, and while you will sometimes hear real Jazz on such stations (guys like Wes Montgomery) it is largely filled with the likes of people like Kenny G. There are a lot of jazz musicians who simply do not consider this genre so much jazz as marketing (and obviously I am one of them). "Jazz" sounds sophisticated, 'easy listening' sounds old. But calling something jazz doesn't make it so. (Though people like David Sanborn and George Benson are very much serious jazz musicians who sometimes get lumped into this genre as well).

So, while I don't even pretend to know much about who plays in that arena, there really are few people playing acoustics in jazz generally, and none that I am aware of in that genre specifically.

As for the field of Jazz generally, the most important steel string acoustic players have been folks in the Gypsy jazz / Hot Club genre and flaminco. Folks like Django Reinhard

Sometimes very talented contemporary flamenco guitarist (guys like Armik) get lumped into "smooth jazz" because their music fits the radio marketing format of those stations. Flamenco is decidedly an acoustic guitar heaven, and you can find some great guitarists playing acoustics in that arena.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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jasonrunguitar
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Kingpanzer makes a great point. The term 'smooth jazz' tends to imply a specific brand of music that took some of the sounds of jazz and made them into an easy-listening format for commercialization. However, if you like that sound, there is lots of good jazz out there that you can still dig into. Wes Montgomery and George Benson are two of my favorites when it comes to guitar, but one of the cool things about jazz is how easily it transcends instruments. All of the greats: Miles Davis, Dizzy gillespie, or Louis Armstrong (though most of his stuff is anything but smooth) have recorded/written songs that have been played on every instrument in the bandstand (sorry about the lack of diversity of my examples - I was a trumpeter in a previous life). So you can still practice the that kind of music on an acoustic. If you ever want to sound more standard you can buy another type of guitar, but all of the scales, chords, and riffs will transfer right over. And if you don't, heck, maybe you'll be the next be innovator with your acoustic jazz!

-Jason
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To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach


   
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Rahul
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Kingpanzer makes a great point.

Kingpanzer....a king tank or something ? LOL, Couldn't resist... :lol:

By the way, I love the jazz played on a classical guitar or the archtop/semi hollow guitar. The sound is just so mellow and soothing to ears. My favourite players - Chet Atkins and Django.


   
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pab
 pab
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a number of people credit george benson with starting smooth jazz as a format, and specifically consider his song "breezin" as the start. i think i've seen earl klugh use an acoustic for some smooth jazz but i think he mostly uses a classical guitar.

while i love smooth jazz, i find it very different from regular wes montgomery type jazz and feel that there is a world of difference between the two. i do not consider smooth jazz to sound "old", although some people certainly do and I respect their opinion on it. i also find it very different from listening to easy listening music, such as barry manilow, anne murray, neil diamond, john denver, or others that get lumped into that genre.

to me smooth jazz has a very distinctive sound to it. Some typical examples are Earl Klugh, Chuck Loeb, Ken Navarro, Wayman Tisdale, and some Rippington songs. Of the non-guitar variety, Boney James, Euge Groove, and Dave Koz.

Great Music if you ask me.

if you hear of anyone who uses mostly acoustic, let me know b/c i'm always up for hearing new musicians within this format.

paul


   
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jasonrunguitar
(@jasonrunguitar)
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Kingpanzer makes a great point.

Kingpanzer....a king tank or something ? LOL, Couldn't resist... :lol:

One of these days a typo will be the end of me, I just know it :lol: :shock: :lol:
Though my error does suggest a quite humorous image. Sounds like it should be a bad-guy in the Mario series!

-Jason
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To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach


   
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kingpatzer
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a number of people credit george benson with starting smooth jazz as a format,

Smooth Jazz was a product of producer Creed Taylor's marketing arm of CTI Records. It was neither a term developed by artists nor a style originating organically out of the music community.

That doesn't mean folks like Benson aren't serious jazz artists, but they don't represent the genre. Rather, people like Kenny G do. And frankly, somebody who can't actually play in tune isn't much of a musician, let alone a jazz musician.
while i love smooth jazz,

To be clear, I don't have anything against anyone liking any type of music. My argument is simply this: calling something jazz doesn't make it so. The heart of jazz is improvisation and re-harmonization, neither appear in the average "Smooth Jazz" artist's repertoire to any significant degree.
i do not consider smooth jazz to sound "old", although some people certainly do and I respect their opinion on it.

My comment was about the marketing terms, not the music it represents.
i also find it very different from listening to easy listening music, such as barry manilow, anne murray, neil diamond, john denver, or others that get lumped into that genre.

Those artists would, I believe, most properly be labeled as "'pop / soft rock." Their music, like smooth jazz, borrows heavily from R&B themes.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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pab
 pab
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i certainly respect your opinion on it, and i did think that it was unfair to indicate to someone who may like a specific genre of music that that genre is old or unsophisticated. i appreciate your correction on the first part, although i get the feeling that you still feel that it is unsophisticated. not a problem and i respect that.

it was guitar player magazine that indicated that george benson's breezin is often credited with starting the genre. i am not knowledgeable enough on the history of music to agree or disagree, but it has also been considered a "blue print" for smooth jazz by others. as far as your information about creed taylor, it sounds like you really know what you're talking about here.

Kenny G. is often grouped into this category but he has so many people who do not respect his music (you for one :-) )
that i usually use other talented musicians that stay or have many songs in this genre to represent it, such as the ones i mentioned in my previous post. i do like some of his music but he is, imo, not as sophisticated as the others that i've mentioned. however, that boils down to taste and i don't want to disrespect anyone who feels otherwise. i do find that improvisation works its way into the albums and music of the above people, but whether or not it is improvised or well planned out i cannot answer that. as far as differences between this form of music and jazz, i mentioned in my previous post that i can certainly hear it.

the problem with genres, in many cases, is that it is difficult to define and there are so many different ones that overlap. people can spend hours arguing about this and in my opinion it doesn't matter. when i go to my bestbuy or a more sophisticated music store (not hard to find), the anne murrays and neil diamond are in the category of easy listening. i don't dispute with you that many also consider them pop or soft rock, and i'm assuming you will acknowledge that they have often been called easy listening too. there are some people today that consider all modern music to be borrowed from the blues.

paul


   
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Rahul
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"
As for the field of Jazz generally, the most important steel string acoustic players have been folks in the Gypsy jazz / Hot Club genre and flaminco. Folks like Django Reinhard

Jason don't feel you are alone, cauz I found another one. :mrgreen:


   
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Hyperborea
(@hyperborea)
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My argument is simply this: calling something jazz doesn't make it so. The heart of jazz is improvisation and re-harmonization, neither appear in the average "Smooth Jazz" artist's repertoire to any significant degree.

I've heard it said that smooth jazz is jazz for people who don't like jazz. Similarly, new country is country music for people who don't like country music. :P

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


   
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kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
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My argument is simply this: calling something jazz doesn't make it so. The heart of jazz is improvisation and re-harmonization, neither appear in the average "Smooth Jazz" artist's repertoire to any significant degree.

I've heard it said that smooth jazz is jazz for people who don't like jazz. Similarly, new country is country music for people who don't like country music. :P
That's not a bad description :)

I've always thought that '70s classic rock just became modern country :)

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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Scrybe
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regular wes montgomery type jazz

I really wasn't aware of such a thing as 'regular wes montgomery type jazz' and I'm a guitarist with a love of Miles Davis, Jim Hall, Gene Krupa, and others.

No intention of starting a huge argument here, I just think we often find ways of genrelising (or generalising) way to easily.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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pab
 pab
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i'll take away the "regular" part as that was not intended and there is nothing "regular" about his guitar playing, but will stand by the rest of my statements. i do find your statement to be slightly argumentative as it has taken a small portion of what i've said out of context, but will accept what you've said about not wanting to start a huge argument. i've seen many of your posts in the past and find that you've been very helpful on this forum, but if you had only a few posts i would think that this was a troll type post and would have simply ignored it. i try to be very respectful of others on these forums, often erring on the side of caution as the written word can often be misinterpreted.

paul


   
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Scrybe
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I really didn't mean to be argumentative at all. Perhaps it would have read better had I not quoted and instead made a general point. If so, I apologise.

I was just trying to point out that genres, as with most distinctions, while useful in the course of enquiry, often fail to stand up to serious scrutiny. I think that holds for pretty much any genre - there's a lot of overlap, the edges get blurred, and formulating a criteria by which you include everything you wish to include and no more, is a pretty tricky thing to do. Genres, in my experience, are often short-hand for personal preference, but that personal preference is often implicit, which can then lead to disagreement over what defines a genre, as witnessed in this thread.

I'm a big fan of blues (as well as jazz) and someone posted recently asking for listening suggestions similar to Buddy Guy. I offered some suggestions, based on what I considered Guy's main 'musical features' to be. Someone else posted with suggestions that were very definitely blues, and good blues at that, but not what I would have immediately linked to Buddy Guy's playing. Not ragging on that poster, like I said the recommendations were of musicians I seriously respect. But, as someone who grew up on the blues and has studied the history of it quite a lot (for someone of my age anyway, I'm 24, for the record), I just wasn't seeing the clear connections there.

What I'm trying to say, however ill-phrased I might be formulating it, is that music, being inherently subjective, doesn't lend itself well to labels, at least not genre-level labels. Categorising by technique, chord progressions, instrumentation, etc., is at least pretty objective. But wider, or vaguer, labels aren't.

My point regarding the Wes Montgomery comment was an attempt to convey that, although I now realise I didn't explain myself fully - when I think Wes Montgomery, I think (and this is undoubtedly based on the section of his music I have thus far heard) fairly uptempo, guitar-driven octave-based melodies (or harmonies, I suppose, since an octave involves two notes). To my ears, the arrangements are fairly 'fat' as well. That's a million miles away from what I hear on records like Kind of Blue, or Coltrne Plays the Blues, where the laid-back vibe and understated mastery are given prominence, and the sense of space in the music (the whole "its not what you play, but what you don't play" ethos) is central. There's no way I say, e.g. that Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery fall into the same category. But you would (from what I interpreted from your post). I hope this conveys my point less antagonistically, I was just trying to hint that if there's a dispute over genres/labels as there seems to be in this thread, then its probably best to try to be as clear as possible with any further distinctions. I obviously failed to satisfy my own point though.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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