My opinion (guitar improv)

I certainly don’t intend to get anyone riled up but I want to vent on a topic I have given a lot of thought to.

In the realm of jazz guitar (and almost especially in the realm of gypsy jazz) it seems that some soloists think that simply stitching a series of well-executed prepared licks together constitutes a good “improvised” solo.¬† I admit that I have been guilty of this approach myself but I never felt fulfilled by it.

Everyone relies on licks and devices to some extent but as we mature as improvising musicians I think it is a natural evolution to want to get closer to creating music in the moment. When you listen to Wes, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Bireli Lagrene, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Miles Davis and Jim Hall you can sense and hear that they are creating¬†“in the moment” a good deal of the time. Yes, they fall back on their grab bag of stuff once in a while but, for the most part, they are forging on into new territory.

It may be hard for people who don’t spend their whole life thinking about these things to distinguish between the two approaches. I only know where I want to go and if I have to sacrifice a little “dazzle” to get to a better musical moment I will not hesitate to chose the more “in the moment” path.

I welcome comments.



Jim Hall (1930-2013)

I have been aware of Jim Hall for many years. Anyone interested in jazz guitar knows about Jim Hall. He was a very melodic, tasteful and measured player

However, when I was in my late teens my taste ran toward players like Django and Pat Martino. Still, I always liked Jim Hall and knew that someday, with some maturity, I would totally come around about him.

That day has come. Only recently I have become aware of the great period of creativity he experienced throughout his sixties and seventies. He made many recordings during that period and wrote a lot of music as well. His duet recording with Pat Metheny is probably the best known but he also interfaced with a lot of musicians from later generations than his own.

I especially like the album called Dialogues where he is teamed with Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano, Mike Stern, Tom Harrell and Gil Goldstein. Great playing and great tunes.

Jim was 64 when he made this recording and the way he continued to grow and explore throughout his seventh and eighth decade is something to behold. For me he is kind of like the Clark Kent of jazz guitar. He seems mild-mannered on the surface but something “super” was always cooking inside of him.