I like it, but is it jazz?


New member
Stanley Jordan is what I would call fusion jazz, although pretty commercial.
Unfortunately, the electric guitar was a relative latecomer to jazz, so the guitar got stuck in the rhythm section.

Traditionally, the acoustic guitar in jazz, and to an extent the electric too, was doing what the louder banjo was doing, keeping the rhythm with chord strums, not soloing because it wasn't loud enough. Even in the first decades of electric guitar, it was traditional to have a dark, low-key tone, with no distortion (God forbid), and functioning like a "lap piano" (similar to a "lap poodle").

Charlie Christian changed all that. I suppose Wes Montgomery was the peak of that.

But then, with the advent of heavy amplification and effects, and the solid-body guitars used in rock music, "fusion jazz" was born. It was like a rock sound with the harmonic and rhythmic complexity of jazz. The drums were louder, and by the 1960's with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew, the venues changed the audiences changed, and everything was "miked" with large PA systems and lighting, just like rock.

Jazz, formerly a lounge-lizard's "chamber music" of acoustic bass and horns, and drummers with brushes, became The Mahavishnu Orchestra with John McLaughlin playing through a Marshall stack...

And alas, the assimilation of jazz goes on, getting further and further away from its Civil War roots...
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John Watt

Active member
Jazz is still just spontaneous improvisation for me,
but I'm seeing enough here to start adding my two scents,
and those are the musical smells of being left and having to be right-handed, sometimes.

I stopped signing up and having to log in with Google, and all other options,
just wanting to access You Tube.
It was worth it, losing my last computer to get a new one, and deactivating Facebook,
to get away from all the notices and unwanted replies, also from domains I never signed up for.

When Joni Mitchell went jazzy with Charlie Mingus and did "Pork Pie Hat",
considering I was down on Jeff Becks version already, it wasn't jazz any more.

I like the traditional, not dark, but warm and clean, jazz tone, why I have a large P.A.F. Humbucker by the neck,
of my Strat-style guitars. I'm thinking Gibson L5 like Mr. George Benson was playing,
when he was winning Downbeat Jazz magazine readers polls as best jazz guitarist, five years in a row.
We'd be talking more about him as a jazz giant, if he didn't stand up and start singing.

Charlie Christian was sitting beside a record player, with the arm taped to his guitar,
the diamond needle sticking in, to get his amplified sound, something I've never seen or done.
I bought "Are You Experienced", "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew" at the same time,
probably my most influential record buying spree of all time.

As for JHC and teddy, yes, acoustic players have not just the traditional, or classical, approach,
you have a totally different appreciation of sound and what you do to get it.
It's easy for rock players, with loud amps and effects, to assimilate jazz tunes,
sounding more, sounding louder, even if the subtleties, even if some notes, are missing.
That's one of the first things I thought, playing the first section of "Sonata in C#m",
through my new Strat and Marshall, with some Dallas Arbiter distortion, phasing and echo.
I sound louder than an entire symphony. I also cracked my bedroom window.
And yes, I've had to carry that horrible musical responsibility with me throughout my entire career.
Now, close to the end, it's only more than gratifying,
to know I'm dying the same paupers death as Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart.

Stanley Jordan? Was he a bassist, hitting it big with "Return to Forever" with Chick Corea,
using an Alembic, before he got a six string, piccolo bass? Is he actually playing electric guitar now?

I just heard "The Night They Tore Old Dixie Down", this morning, beaming down from an American satellite.
They're still shouting "na, na-na na-na, na-na-na-na-na, na na-na-na-na," as those Canadian boys did,
only now, it's at a northern president.
I still like sha-na-nas and doot-doot-dos better.
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New member
I don't see my jazz improvisation activity as "spontaneous," and I think that is a misleading term. A lot of theory and thinking is what leads up to my being "able" to improvise. I see this "spontaneous" release of improvisation as a result of long years of preparation. Now, my intuition can guide my knowledge and mind, but intuition never existed by itself. It always needed the thought process, and hard work.

The point of "The Night They DROVE Old Dixie Down" was for you to realize the emotion of the South. You seem to have missed that.

BTW, I'm all for tearing down the Confederate monuments which were erected in the 1950s, as they are a distortion. But I do not consider the Band song as a "musical monument" of the same, because it does not distort or create falsehoods.

You are confusing Stanley Jordan the guitarist with the Return To Forever Bassist Stanley Clark.
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