[JPL] Guitar vs Piano

JanLeder at aol.com JanLeder at aol.com
Fri Oct 6 00:23:24 EDT 2006

I haven't heard the Patitucci record you mentioned, but you bring up some  
very interesting questions regarding instrumentation.  As you may know I'm  a 
flutist and play a lot of duos, for which I hire both pianists and  guitarists.  
I find it's much harder to find a guitar player who can play  solo well when 
I lay out.  I've played with fine guitarists who are just  much better in an 
ensemble than solo - and it always fascinates me when  guitarists can and do 
improvise great spontaneous arrangements with only six  strings.  I find 
pianists are more accustomed to playing solo and so there  are more pianists than 
guitarists who I can call.
Either way, the most important thing is the swing - if that's not there it  
doesn't matter what instrument you're playing!
Jan Leder
_www.janleder.info_ (http://www.janleder.info) 
In a message dated 10/5/2006 5:39:14 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
jaejazz at yahoo.com writes:

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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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