[JPL] Guitar vs Piano

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Thu Oct 5 17:37:51 EDT 2006

I have perhaps an odd couple of questions......but I'll set it up with somewhat of an explanation. As a musician I've always appreciated the interesting harmonic avenues jazz explores. In fact I'm fascinated with it. From a chordal perspective it sort of doesn't matter if it's piano or guitar but I do have a preference for the piano. I've started noticing in radio.....the listening audience does as well. Something about....lets say the quartet with horn, guitar, bass and drums. Many seem to have problems with the "textural" part of this set up. It's a different "hear" for sure without the piano. 
  While both the guitar and piano can create interesting harmonic textures the piano has more of a favorable response from listeners - on the radio. This could have something to do with the comping differences the piano can bring to the music. Like being able to play a line and comp with it but some will say the guitar works better with the horn. There's also more harmonic choices you can make on the piano at any given time. The guitar seems to work better WITH piano or organ or solo and interestingly enough....in the trio setting with bass and drums - with listeners. With the horn though - sax, trumpet, etc. - its textual significance seems to change. 
  I'm curious if others hear it this way or how you hear this set up and if you notice a similar response from your listeners?  I realize this gets somewhat into the musical realm of discussion but I think anyone can jump in on this. I would also like to know the musicians perspective on this - instrumental and vocal. The vocal thing always intrigued me and how they intrepret singing with guitar or piano. Ella loved singing with Joe Pass. What do singers hear differently when working with guitar players vs pianist and visa versa? I had some interesting conversations with some listeners and musicians recently about this. Actually just had a great conversation with Anton Schwartz and he shared some informative thoughts from the perspective of the saxophone with guitar. I've always thought about this but what triggered this thinking this time was the new Patitucci release with Adam Rogers and Chris Potter. 
  Jae Sinnett  

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