Love of Standards
Not to give the wrong impression -- despite my apparent love of the funky stuff, I gotta be clear... I got a mistress -- and in the words of Duke Ellington, it plays second fiddle to nobody.
I'd love to play more an more on gigs, but often find that its difficult to find players who can really play Standards with the same heart and soul as they may do funkier soul Jazz stuff. Typically, a sax player may blow his or her head off on a good funk or soul Jazz tune, but when the standard is called, suddenly the energy is gone.
It shouldn't be like that and it just doesn't make sense to me...
Some people may think, "Well, its a standard? What would you expect?" ...but its not true. If you think Standards have to be played in a lazy and boring way, listen to DEXTER GORDON, listen to SONNY ROLLINS, or how about JOHNNY GRIFFIN, ARNETT COBB, even some early Roland Kirk -- just to name a few. (Actually, Willis Jackson is one of my faves.)
Standards can be played with just as much fun, excitement and soul as funk and R&B -- all they require is a slightly different ethos. Swing, after all is SWING. Music can be funky and swing (in fact, listen to James Brown's DOING IT TO DEATH -- it ain't nothing but a shuffle), but first and foremost, a good standard to truly be presented in the way it needs to be must swing HEAVILY.
With all of this said, I am still seeking that perfect horn players who "get it" -- I could name a few. Willis Jackson, Plas Johnson, Red Holloway, Gene Ammons, Fred Jackson, Hank Mobley, Stanley Turrentine.... -- gosh, so many greats!!!
Today, Jazz organists tend to lean towards a style that was epitomized by the sounds of Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery called the "OGD" style: organ, guitar, drums. That was one sound. But there was another too. Listen to the organ combo recordings of Lou Donaldson and Willis Jackson and you'll hear it epitomized. Although the OGD sound is great, I have to admit how strange I find it that even when you do get Jazz Organ quartets with tenor players, the sound they'll play still leads towards the more layed back style of the OGD sound. Nothing's wrong with that, of course, but now and then, what's wrong with a little bar walking???
My love of standards continues -- just as fervently as finding the right stock of musicians who can do it both, and if you're one, I'd definitely like to check you out!
Always looking. Always listening. Always looking for the perfect tenor player especially!
Some of my favorite Standards
A Foggy Day
Almost Like Being In Love
Bye Bye Baby
I Believe In You
If I Ruled The World
If I Were A Bell
On A Clear Day
On Green Dolphin Street
On The Street You Live
Pennies from Heaven
Sunny Side of the Street
That Old Black Magic
This Could Be The Start of Something Big
Willow Weep for Me
Will You Still Be Mine
Without A Song
How about some of YOUR favorites?
more to come!!!
Tips on Learning Standards!
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