Different types of Jazz Playing? [Q&A]

miscellaneous Feb 09, 2010

Question by Fernan
(San Juan )

Hello, and before I say anything: Thank you for this site.

I'm currently working on getting better at guitar and chose jazz as the path that I want to pursue for the time being. The thing is that I'm not really big on the classic jazz feel, the cool trends and big band. I'm more on the Al Di Meola vibe, Steve Howe in Yes's Magnificence, Robert Fripp or Omar Rodriguez Lopez.

What I'm trying to ask is in parts:

I'm not necessarily into the cool vibe and how can I use what I learn to make some weird stuff?

Are there other guitarists that go with this line of music? Is jazz even right for me? Should I practice other types of progressions and scales?

M-A's Answer:

Hello Fernan,

Thank you for your question and nice words about the website.

To answer very shortly, I would advise you to simply learn as much music as you can.

It doesn't really matter if you categorize it as being "cool" or "fusion". It's simply important that you learn your to hear the music and learn to play your instrument, and then your own "voice" in music will emerge. It may resemble what your heroes are doing, but in the end, music is just music.

What I offer on pertains to the same musical system(s) that all the guitarists you named are using. Scales, chords, progressions, etc. So, it's simply not a matter of "style" in the end.

You may think it's different because the "spice" is edgier in Al Di Meola than in Wes Montgomery ... but tomato soup with curry and tomato soup with basil is still just tomato soup. (-:

Plus, I don't tend to think of jazz as an idiom. It's not that jazz is "right, or wrong" for you. On this website I presented the foundations of music. Yes, the tunes and the example are more in the "mainstream jazz" than anything else. The reason behind it is to reach a wider audience.

It's not a preference, it's that I know that the acquisition of competences will be greater for visitors if I unfold the material using "standard" means. (Song forms, traditions, tempos, progression, etc.) This does not exclude by any means any other creative output emerging from the blues, swing, jazz (etc.) and other types of improvised American music.

So, to wrap up : same chords, same scales, same progressions. Build you ears and the path will reveal itself to you.

Please, let me know if you have further questions.

Marc-Andre Seguin


Old Comments for Different types of jazz playing

Dec 18, 2011
Oh my...
by: Fernan


I decided to hear Wes Montgomery thanks to your answer.

Wow. He's amazing.

Impressions is a work of art.

I'm converted.

Dec 18, 2011
Why did I write my question in the first place?!
by: Fernan

Thanks for your answer.

And let me say that I'm having a blast with the lessons, standards and scales.

It's true what you said, in the end we're just speaking the same language (if we're in de western 12 note world.) I should've thought about that before asking the question. The way we play doesn't change the rules by which we play.

Saludos from Puerto Rico

Dec 15, 2011
Good answer
by: Bill White

Very good answer, Marc-A. The basics are always underneath the surface; the individual is who brings the creative spice!


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