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How much jazz was there in these classic rock artists?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Andrew J, Apr 30, 2021.

  1. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    There's no obligation to "analyze" the music on the part of the audience. And you don't need to analyze something to enjoy it -- and that's coming from me, maybe one of the most reflexively thought-vs-feelings based music fans on this forum.

    I also think it's reductive to the point of cringewortiness, the description of "the blues" as -- "born out of the long and regrettable history of slavery in the American South. The sheer monotony of life on the plantation as a slave or sharecropper gave rise to the almost incessant repetition of a blues song. The temporality or the way they experienced time is right there in the songs" The blues as we know it as a musical form, as Clapton knew it and played it, doesn't even emerge in the historical record until around 1900, around the same time jazz emerges. It's not a slavery era music form, though its structural and harmonic origins can be traced back through the colonial era to the music of Islamic West Africa in the 16th century, and to the griot musical tradition. And of course cyclical repetition is a cornerstone hallmark of much of the musical traditions of myriad African culture both north African and sub-Saharan. Much jazz has common roots in the African-American and Afro-Antillean music that the blues also emerged from -- and lot and lots of jazz is played on the blues. None of that has anything to do with "the sheer monotony of life on the plantation."

    The moralizing and the judging is the part that goes beyond observing the formal differences, when you suggest someone has disrespected an audience or is noodling (pejorative description of improvising with the suggestion that the improvisation is aimless) or that it's "fine to indulge" in something if you meet my criteria of "discipline and musicianship" -- that's the part that's not an observation or characterization of the difference, but a kind of scolding because the music is not what you think it should be.

    FWIW, I'm a jazz fan. Mostly what I listen to is jazz music. And I'm not particularly a Clapton fan, though I think he's fine, and Cream I'm not a fan of at all. But I know a lot of jazz fans because mostly that's the music I spend time listening to and going to see. And I don't find that most jazz fans are any more analytical or careful than rock fans. The both just like what they like. And popular with both are bluesy, toe tapping music in circular short popular song forms.
    Bosley, Panama Hotel, SG47 and 5 others like this.
  2. Tristero

    Tristero Touching from a distance

    I've always felt that Blues For Allah had a pretty strong jazz fusion feel to it.
  3. misteranderson

    misteranderson Forum Resident

    englewood, nj
    And yet, he recorded and gigged with Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden. I don't know what label you would want to put on the stuff he did with them, but it wasn't blues rock.
  4. Hot Ptah

    Hot Ptah Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    I like your observations about jazz fans, which are similar to the impressions I have gathered from going to jazz concerts.
  5. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    Jerry, Phil, Keith & Billy the Drummer say hello
    RLPATTON, SJR, adamos and 4 others like this.
  6. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    This is an absurd conclusion. Dark Star & The Other One improvs from 69-74 were merely fillers?!?! Have you heard any of the couple of hundred versions of Playing in the Band they played during just three 3 years? They do all kinds of stuff that no mere jazz band prior to this ever even ventured near? Maybe Miles’ groups but the list ends there.

    I’ve seen most of the greatest modern day improvising musicians many times from a few feet away. What the Dead played in that era is as great as any group/band of any type played in the 20th century.

    Plus in that era no one was going off the stage to get high. They often played 3 hour plus shows in 1972 thru 74 when NO band member other than Donna left the stage. Their improvisations were collective with Jerry as a lead guitarist. Have you actually listened to any Dead shows from this peak era? Obviously not.

    And another comment - what they were doing was far “beyond” and actually much more advanced than than hard bop or post bop and they didn’t get stuck in the theme-solo-theme rut. Plus when he wanted to Garcia could play changes and choruses like nobody’s business. Another casual listener who has no idea how great a guitarist Jerry was. Have you heard any of the Big Rivers from 1973/74 or Peggy-O’s from 1977 or 1978???

    Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh are simply 2 of the greatest improvising musicians who have ever walked this earth. Lack of harmonic understanding??? Are you serious???
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  7. okay, I'll bite

    Grateful Dead
    Joni Mitchell
    Pink Floyd

    virtually zero (negligible) influence for the rest

    the influence of Dixieland Jazz on the Grateful Dead is pervasive, especially in their live performances throughout the 197Os and 198Os.

    The Doors as a band were significantly influenced by Jazz through the interests of Krieger and Densmore. Robbie Kreiger especially developed a hybrid jazz-blues style in his playing that really became a defining characteristic of their sound.
    The unorthodox phrasing of Kreiger's guitar playing, swapping with Manzarak’s classical licks on keys, and Densmore’s deft touch at percussion ─ the Doors really were a tour de force of hybrid jazz-blues-classical-rock.

    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  8. GregM

    GregM No static at all

    Daddyland, CA
    There absolutely is an obligation to analyze the music if you're going to wade into a thread like this and weigh in.

    Point taken, but that only partially addresses the point literally (unfairly I think--but you'd disagree) and not at all figuratively where blues is constrained by its own patterns and jazz doesn't have those constrictions. That has concrete, subjective repercussions in the music and playing itself. If you think it's nothing but reductive to observe, for example, where blues was first played on plantations and bebop was first played in Harlem and 52nd St. vis a vis Clapton's statement that the only thing he learned from jazz musicians is how to dress, you miss many elements of this topic.

    I could get into many reasons to back that up that speak to music theory and the virtuosity of the musicians, but I shouldn't need to. If you reject the fact that musicians have different levels of talent and that some genres are easier to tackle without a lot of talent, so be it. But there is validity to my point and you just become guilty of your own scolding about it in your rejection of the point.

    I know you're a jazz fan; we've traded lots of posts and had good discussions before and this is another one. But I think you're fooling yourself if you can't admit the serious differences between jazz and rock audiences. I shouldn't even need to have to explain it FFS.
  9. bosie

    bosie Forum Resident

    :shake::shake:I’m gonna say not much. A lot of rock musicians might have been influenced by jazz but can they really play jazz well. :shake:
    GregM and Hot Ptah like this.
  10. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Two points. There are formal constraints to all kinds of different music. For the makers of new thing jazz in the 60s, bebop and its focus on harmony and a repeating cycle of chird changes was a repeating formal constraint they were looking for alternatives to. I think in every sort of music there has always been a history of the maintenance of formal constraints od genre and style and the search for something different. Including in the history and development of blues.

    Second, I think the audience and types of listeners and way they respond in the worldnof jazz is just as varied as it is in rock or classical for that matter. Many just respond reflexively and prefer the formally familiar, some are more searching, thoughtful and analytical.
  11. GregM

    GregM No static at all

    Daddyland, CA
    Absolutely--Jarry Garcia and Phil Lesh were seriously limited compared to most jazz musicians, harmonically and in every other way. Listen to their pet phrases, rhythms and scales they relied on. Relative to most rock musicians, maybe they had great improvisation skills, but rock is not often about improvisation so this isn't saying much.

    I'd go a step further. What is art? Rock is album-based music and rock performances were mostly efforts to recreate a song on a previous recording. Are you familiar with Amiri Baraka's essay "Hunting Is Not Those Heads on the Wall"? He describes jazz as the purest art form because it is happening in the moment and evolving as an abstract art.

    I can appreciate your enthusiasm for the Dead because they were also arguably a live-music act not on the road to play hits off their most recent record. But that's just by degrees. Frankly, I think you're primed to be a huge jazz fanatic--if you're not already--if what you love about The Dead is their improvisation. Jazz is a much deeper well for you to drink from.
  12. Bassist

    Bassist Forum Resident

    I agree, it does. Like a lot of bands around that time they are trying fusion on for size to see how it fits but it's like Rod having a disco hit, the Stones doing a reggae tune or The Tubes playing a ranchera song. The effect can be really pleasing but it doesn't run deep or tend to last for long.
  13. GregM

    GregM No static at all

    Daddyland, CA
    Well, ok, yeah, but what you're really describing is a genre that consistently rejects constraints just so you can make a more favorable comparison with a genre that consistently embraces and relies upon its constraints.

    Ok, agreed. But I don't think it's an accident that rock/pop gave rise to music that samples records and tries to make an art form of increasingly repetitive, rhythmically constricted stuff and evolves in ways that is pushing musicianship and improvisation out of the equation.
  14. Svetonio

    Svetonio Forum Resident

    I agree. Btw, Mingus is my all time favourite album by Mrs Mitchell. I used to love Hejira and Shadows and Light, but both sound dated to me now.
    Siegmund likes this.
  15. Tom Daniels

    Tom Daniels Forum Resident

    A lot of folks seem to be defining jazz in its more modern forms. In that case there isn’t a lot. But early jazz is a huge influence on everyone, even if that influence often came second or third hand. Say Louis Armstrong to Louis Jordan to Chuck Berry/Ray Charles.

    A more direct, and untypical, example of early jazz influence is The Band’s Ophelia.
    RLPATTON, rikki nadir, Bruso and 3 others like this.
  16. Dahabenzapple

    Dahabenzapple Forum Resident

    Livingston NJ
    I’ve been into jazz for 30 plus years - long before I took a deep dive into the Dead 6 or 7 years ago. I go to 25 to 30 shows a year in NYC. I saw Evan Parker 25 years ago. I’ve seen drummers like Andrew Cyrille, Hamid Drake, Han Bennink many times as well as younger guys like Ches Smith, Nasheet Waits, etc.

    I’ve seen great bassists like Barry Guy, Dave Holland, Michael Formanek, Brandon Lopez, Harrison Bankhead, Reggie Workman etc multiple times. I know how great the great jazz players are.

    I’ve seen saxophonists ranging from Chris Potter, Joe Henderson to the great more out players like Marty Ehrlich, Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson, Tony Malaby, Joe Maneri, Paul Dunmall, Darius Jones, John Butcher and many more many many times.

    I listen to more jazz/free improvisation than I do Grateful Dead. I’m listening to the *great* Rodrigo Amado on tenor with Miguel Mira on cello with the amazing Gabriel Ferrandini on drums as I write this.

    Jerry & Phil are the equal or better than any of them.

    well maybe not the technical virtuoso that Evan Parker is but seriously who is?

    Since you thought band members left the stage in the late 60’s and early 70’s to get high, you apparently have not listened carefully to those long form Dead improvs. Maybe you ought to listen a bit more carefully before you give such pronouncements.
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  17. unfunkterrible

    unfunkterrible Forum Resident

    A Coruña , Spain
    Quite apart from how satisfying aesthetically their work is or isn't, I don't think that groups like Cream or the Allman Brothers would have ever get into those long jamming passages if it wasn't for the example of jazz musicians . I think that is safe to call that a jazz influence. If it's beneficial or not , from someone's point of view, for the music created under that influence, is a completely different thing. But maybe that's why some people don't want to admit a jazz influence on rock: the outcome of that influence, in their view, is not on par with their idealized vision of their favourite music.
    RLPATTON, Panama Hotel, Bruso and 5 others like this.
  18. Hanglow

    Hanglow ...hangin' out with your mom

    Saratoga New York
    Yeah,but he would kick your ass for disagreeing with him:whistle:

    ...glad someone was willing to step up and "tell" Ginger what type of drumming he was doing all those decades.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
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  19. bob_32_116

    bob_32_116 Forum Resident

    Perth Australia
    I guess it might help if you list some ofthe things in a piece of music that mark it as "jazz influenced".
    rikki nadir likes this.
  20. Fischman

    Fischman RockMonster, ClassicalMaster, and JazzMeister

    New Mexico
    Tommy Bolin.
    All one need do is listen to him on Billy Cobham's Spectrum album.
    bosie likes this.
  21. Hanglow

    Hanglow ...hangin' out with your mom

    Saratoga New York


    1. 1.
      the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.
      "his tales are full of humor"
  22. ostrichfarm

    ostrichfarm Forum Resident

    New York
    It's very difficult to have a discussion like that -- which requires a lot of technical precision to have any value (or basis in reality) -- without getting a bunch of people who immediately complain that you're "overanalyzing it" and that music is all about feeling and soul, etc.

    By the way some folks would do well to look up Branford Marsalis's comments about playing with the Grateful Dead -- not that Branford is the be-all and end-all arbiter of such things, but he's about as comprehensive in his perspective as anyone, and doesn't hesitate to call out mediocrity. (He was, in fact, extraordinarily complimentary.)

    Also, if we're going to drag people for allegedly being high on stage, does anyone really think jazz comes out of that one with a clean jacket? Half the albums from the hard-bop era were recorded with half the band drunk or on smack; live albums even more so. Later cocaine took over, with its own share of problems. And weed is a constant companion, then and now.
  23. bob_32_116

    bob_32_116 Forum Resident

    Perth Australia
    That maye be true - but unless you lay down some ground rules regarding what makes something "jazzy", all you can ever get in a thread like this is one person saying "So-and-so was heavily jazz influenced", and someone else saying "No he wasn't".
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
    Panama Hotel likes this.
  24. GregM

    GregM No static at all

    Daddyland, CA
    Ok, sorry to have made the wrong assumption about your listening. I just don't hear what you're hearing in Jerry & Phil's playing so we'll agree to disagree. Jerry was addicted to smack, and left the stage and studio to do speedballs or shoot up. Read Kreutzmann's book if you don't agree. Clapton was on smack too in the late '60s and early '70s. Many jazz artists were, too, so this isn't necessarily a point just about rock artists. I don't see how you can reasonably argue the point.
    Last edited: May 2, 2021
  25. TheDailyBuzzherd

    TheDailyBuzzherd Forum Resident

    Northeast USA

    Didn’t know of this. I’ll check that out, thanks!

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