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(BareFoot MusicNews)   Don't hate the playa, don't fake the funk ... or ... a player plays the song and a jammer plays along   ( divider line
    More: Amusing, sheet music, funk, saxophones, Dan Grigor, band called, jamming, doo-wop, raves  
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863 clicks; posted to Music » on 22 Nov 2010 at 6:24 AM (8 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

12 Comments     (+0 »)
2010-11-22 07:50:36 AM  
The f*** is the point of all that?

Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, all great improvisers. You can't fake the funk.
2010-11-22 08:21:27 AM  
Yeah, sorry dude, but Dan's right.
2010-11-22 08:44:44 AM  
Goddamn that was hard to read. It makes a lot more sense if you read the original article first - and for what it's worth, I agree with Dan, too.

Most of the music world is divided into one or the other types, rarely you get a cross between the two. That's why I mostly use jazz musicians in my groups, be they rock, soul, whatever. Jazz musicians often have to be of the "jammer" type, because of the inherent improvisational nature of jazz. But you can't really get to be a good jazz jammer, say as compared to blues, without also being a player because the often-complex harmonic structure of jazz demands you have to put in the time learning theory and practicing scales and apreggios - if not necessarily on paper, then definitely by ear.
2010-11-22 09:18:07 AM  
I do kinda get what he's saying though even though I think we missed a connection here. The labels make it easy to misunderstand. It is fun just to play and not worry about it and it sure is a lot less trouble.

On the other hand, those bands... sound like they are jamming. I want even our improvisations to sound like songs that everyone learned and is playing together. I agree about jazz guys, they seem to fit the player/jammer profile. The blues guys seem to be jammers that play a trusty set of riffs thrown together in different ways and keys. Same with rockers, mostly lick library stuff. The free flow of a good jazz player playing the blues is a treat as opposed to the staccato or phrase oriented style of a jammer.

It really isn't about skill or technique. It's the attitude. I have met some jammers that are amazing musicians. Way better than me in a lot of ways. They can play along with anything. It isn't the same.

I love to jam but to me playing 5 12-bar blues songs in 3 keys that last for 8 minutes each is not nearly as fun or challenging as say picking 3 chords at random and 2 for a chorus, finding a groove and 5 guys who never met before make a 4 and a half minute jam sound like a song. Beginning, middle and ending with nothing but fun from the key sig to the coda.

/i submitted the original article with a better headline and a different point of view

I do look forward to jamming with Paul someday.
2010-11-22 09:40:04 AM  
I'm not sure how I feel about the argument. I'm a jammer type, I imagine. I don't know theory. I'm not ignorant of it, I just never learned it. Every time we play I ask the guitarist what key we're in (I play Harmonica and Tin Whistle, one key at a time.) I can't read music. I'm learning, mind you, since the guitarist, drummer, and others are very deeply versed in theory.

That being said, our band does great. Songs come together quickly, and they're not musically boring - you won't find much, if any, "lick library" style stuff. When we jam with friends, it's almost always excellent (anyone who says it always comes together like a symphony is a liar).

We did our first house show, and the reactions we got were amazing. Really ego-boosting stuff, but we've resisted the temptation to do anything dumb (I refuse to release any recordings, or book any real shows, until we've got a good, solid set of all original material). People were very surprised how little we'd been playing together prior to it.

In the end, what I guess I'm saying is that the drive to label is antithetical to what music should be. You can split hairs about jammers, and experts, etc, but it really comes down to the final product. "I may not know art, but I knows what I likes." If you know good music, you can produce good music - as subjective as that is. And almost more importantly, if there are people who are made happy by your music, keep doing it, no matter what it is.
2010-11-22 12:29:45 PM  

I agree, Dan - it is all about attitude, at least at first.

I don't think the labeling notion is all that far off, though. To really understand where a musician is coming from, it's necessary to compartmentalize a little bit - as long as nobody is using it as a pejorative. If we really start splitting hairs, we can look at it as a left-brain, right-brain thing, which follows along personality lines, etc.

It's actually funny that "players," being more left-brained and T/J combinations on the Meyers-Briggs scale, are the ones who usually do more of the labeling, and often pejoratively. Whereas I've observed "jammers" as more often being right-brained F/P combination - and they hate being labeled or using labels.

But again, it may be necessary to determine type to really bring out the most in a player, especially from an education standpoint.

I get a ton of students who are solid left-brained - they can play through a written solo like nobody's business, read like mad, etc., but take the music away and they're completely lost. They don't trust their ear - and usually nobody's worked on their ear training. So that's what I hone in on - I get them into theory like crazy, and they eat it up, then once they understand the general concept of scales, modes, etc, I pull the rug out and close their books, which is a terror-inducing moment.

It often takes them months or even years to play a major third on a dominant 7 chord, and their phrasing is awful, but they can get it done if they stick with it. More often than not, though, they are involved in 90 different school activities and burn out of music.

Conversely, the "jammers" I get often have no concept of chord structure, and play all sorts of out of key, but man can they phrase. They are generally put-off when I open a theory book, but the few who do tackle it and get it are generally better off as jazz musicians than the "players" because of their pre-established ear-training and intuition for phrasing.

Even in my jazz quartet, I have one solid "player" who I really have to kick in the ass when we're jamming out a new idea.

Me? I straddle the line: I can read music fairly well, read chords very well, and I can jam out for hours. But I like structure - I like having an idea for a song, or an arrangement of an existing song and rehearsing it to death, then in the middle breaking out into complete spontaneous improv, backgrounds included. My bass player is not so much that way - he likes structure, period, so I have to identify an approach that works with him and we generally work things out and he's slowly become more able to jam.

I think labels are fine, and even necessary, if we use them the right way.
2010-11-22 12:42:01 PM  
Way to defeat the stereotype of jammers as rambling and self-absorbed there.
2010-11-22 01:08:52 PM  

Super Chronic: Way to defeat the stereotype of jammers as rambling and self-absorbed there.

Me or the article?
2010-11-22 01:09:29 PM  

Charlie Freak: Super Chronic: Way to defeat the stereotype of jammers as rambling and self-absorbed there.

Me or the article?

The article. Sorry for the confusion.
2010-11-22 02:01:57 PM  
Players - Jammers = None of modern music having never come into existence.
2010-11-22 04:11:14 PM  
I wouldn't mind phish people if they talked about things other than phish and drugs and things they witnessed at phish shows while on drugs.
2010-11-23 03:28:31 AM  
The original article is Here (new window)
Charlie Freak:

I agree about the two sides of the brain. I know I learn stuff better when I play it and write it down. I only need to make a list until I actually make the list. Once I do that I tend to remember everything on it.

I don't know that you need theory to be a good player but it sure makes it easier to communicate with each other if everyone knows the basics. The trouble with Players is they may know TOO much, if you know what I mean. Knowledge tends to be slower than your hands. Therein lies the trouble with "players" they think too much. To me playing well is accomplished by playing knowledgeably without thinking. That involves jamming a little, allowing the brain to take a back seat to the heart or whatever.

As Paul points out a good jammer just plays. A player may play and be thinking "ok, key of 4, I can play this mode and that scale over that chord and off we go." They both may end up with the same result, it sounds good. On the other hand a player/jammer who plays without thinking does both and that, to me, sounds better. Somehow tighter.

From my "Don't Suck at the Blues" series: (part two)
I talk about a throwing rocks at a guitar tuned to a pentatonic scale and go on to say...

"It has to be easy. How do you think a stage full of heroin addicts drunk on Jack make such great music? The reason is simple: you don't need to think. It is better if you don't. It is better if you throw your fingers randomly but rhythmically at the notes and only the notes of the pertinent scale."

Link (new window)

I may give up on the band altogether. I have way more fun playing with myself anyway

5452831 (new window)

long day, i need to go practice and go to bed
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