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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000597.txt from 1999/01

From: Dodgshun family <dodgshun@-----.nz>
Subj: RE: [kl] Combs, jazz et al
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 16:04:21 -0500

At 06:23 PM 12/01/99 -0600, you wrote:
>Hello all. I've been away from the list for a bit.
>
>Coming from Chicago, I'm a bit surprised that more people don't know about
>Combs jazz ability. It's a well known fact (I think) around here, and every
>so often we get treated to gigs by his group.
>
>In my opinion, it's much easier for a jazz player with good technique to
>play straight than the other way around. Straight players spend their lives
>perfecting technique while slavishly sticking to the written page with
>slight nuances which constitute interpretation (not so for pre-19th C. works
>but that's another story). It is intimidating and difficult for many of them
>to improvise at all, let alone well. While some jazz players are
>intimidated by having to interpret other peoples notes (Goodman always felt
>a tremendous responsibility when doing classical works, and I feel that it
>was detrimental his interpretations), those who have a "feel" for the music
>(and proper classical technique) should have no problems with the notes.

Ummmmm. I'm not sure that I entirely agree. I went from classical to jazz,
and with the help of an excellent bigband director I didn't have too much
difficulty slotting into a bigband full of purely jazz musicians. Mind you,
I was playing a different instrument; I don't know whether I would have
found it more difficult if I was playing clarinet rather than baritone sax.
Also, I tend to listen to quite a lot of jazz (IMHO, Gerry Mulligan is the
god of baritone sax playing!) which may have helped me get a feel for it.
My brother (a 'cellist) has recently picked up guitar and bass guitar; he's
playing in a bigband and has formed his own rock band, and doesn't seem to
have any problem getting into the style (but I'm very sick of the bass line
to "Chameleon" being belted from his room at all hours!). What I do notice
is that his songwriting is classically influenced in that his chord
sequences are very logical and tend to follow classical patterns. I think
this is for two reasons: his classical training, and the fact that his
idols, Radiohead (I can't get enough of them either), also seem to follow
classical lines.

>Having said that, the best straight players can usualy hold their own with
>jazz musicians.

Except violinists, as a general rule! We play quite a lot of lighter music
in the Christchurch Youth Orchestra, and it's interesting to see who copes
best with swing. The trumpet section, the trombone section, the clarinet
section, two-thirds of the basses, a couple of horn players (who double
trumpet) and all the percussionists can swing without conscious effort, but
the violinists tend to struggle with it. I guess this is because they
haven't had the opportunity to play much jazz, whereas the people I've
mentioned above have mostly played in bigbands or combos. Four of the CYO
guys have actually formed a combo - the lead trumpet, the lead trombone
(though he plays guitar and keyboard in the group), one of the bassists and
the timpanist, who plays drumkit. They're very very good, despite
principally being classical musicians. The guy playing keys and guitar is
particularly brilliant; he's 16, but his playing is far beyond that of a
normal 16 year old.

Anna

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