[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!
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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.
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