[JPL] Mastery Redux - Jae

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 16 11:45:12 EDT 2006


Rick not totally sure where you're trying to go with this. My point in reference to historical context was brought up because you made comparisons as well as others. So I did. I don't program my show from now these are the best and most recognized and now these are the new artists. Nor do I perform music from this perspective. Listeners for the most part only react to what they like....regardless of who it is. 
   
  Now that said....I have seen many "different" reactions once you tell them that they are listening to someone they heard of....even if they didn't know this while listening. Example.....once I tell them who it is they say...."oh I'm going to go out right now and buy it." Then this reaction once they heard something they like but didn't recognize the name......"oh that's cool. Never heard of them before." They won't go to buy it for the most part....even though they liked it but didn't recognize the name. Truly a strange thing. That name thing. I program music that I think is good...period....and not for the sake of playing names they recognize but that is also important for the "business" of public radio. Now there's a part of this entire thing that you more than likely wouldn't care for. At times I don't like it but that's the way it is if you want to continue to one...build an audience and two... have an audience that is willing to support you financially so you can
 maintain jazz on the radio. 
   
  Jae Sinnett

Rick McLaughlin <rick at rickmclaughlin.com> wrote:
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Thanks Jae. So it sounds like you think that benchmarks are important, but
that you are somhow able to - after maybe an initial historical
contextualization - somehow you are able to put the history on the back
burner and listen to the music as it is, as it happened, and let it be
whatever made it to "tape." Then, if like a Hall of Fame poll happens or
something, you can pull out the yardstick. Is that fair?

So then do you think that your listeners are able to think this way too?
Both the radio listeners and the live audience at your gigs?

Thanks again,

Rick 

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 2:11 PM
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: RE: [JPL] Mastery Redux

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I think the whole Roberta Gambarini thing Rick shifted once she was "put" in
the same league as a few artists history recognizes as the standard of
excellence for jazz vocal performance. I think it's totally okay to talk and
discuss what the differences are and even what we think the artists
contributions are....vocally or instrumentally as long as we keep things in
perspective. I would talk about Wes and Ben simply as guitar players with
two unique different styles and play their music but would I put Ben in the
same league as Wes - considering his place in history? No I wouldn't but the
reasoning is important. 

Mine would have little to do with their actual guitar ability but more to
do with how one influenced the perspective of jazz guitar playing - in the
context of history. In that case you can't put Ben in the category of Wes
Montgomery but Ben could become one of the great guitar players. When I see
and hear guitar players all over the world emlating him I would consider
placing him in the category of Wes as an influence. Same with Mattias and
Milt and I would bet Mattias would understand this. Roberta and Sarah. 

Now we can also talk about the "potential" of an artist. I'll use Chris
Potter for an example. I think Chris has the ability to bring a new and
fresh perspective to the tenor saxophone - harmonically speaking and how he
ultilizes the instrument in composition. This would be in the realm of
innovation and that would be profound and there are more. Is he there yet?
No but if he keeps on the direction he's on ....he will be and I'm starting
to hear more and more saxophonists imitating him. Now this of course is my
opinion but I'm one that also respects history. In saying this I think a new
future can be created and is but by todays standard it's considerably more
difficult than lets say....50 years ago. This can happen with the music but
also with programming. Personally, as a musician and programmer, I continue
to look for fresh and interesting ways of creating music that is forward
thinking, interesting and unique to me and the same with how I program jazz.


Jae Sinnett

Rick McLaughlin wrote:
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Thanks Jae,

I totally buy that. In fact, I have had many a similar conversation with
other musicians and scholars and the like. But then this really begs the
next question, which is if mastery creates the sound of an individual, is it
fair to use benchmarks when considering the contributions of an up and
coming artist? Would it be fair to talk about Wes Montgomery in the context
of a Ben Monder recording? Or Milt Jackson in the context of a Mattias Lupri
recording (Matthias, I know you are lurking somewhere on this list...)? Or
Hawk about a Tony Malaby recording? Or, yes here it comes, Ella and Sarah
Vaughn in the context of a Roberta Gamberini recording? 

And the list goes on - who does it help? The icons or the up and comings?
Does it truly help the radio programmers build an audience or does it mean
that the long term effects are that the audience will only expect to hear
the music of the icons and their disciples? Will they shun music that they
are otherwise unfamiliar with? Maybe it's happening today - I really don't
know the answer, I'm just asking the question.

Thanks,

Rick

-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
Sent: Friday, September 15, 2006 1:14 PM
To: Jazz Programmers Mailing List
Subject: Re: [JPL] Mastery Redux

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Rick, this is a somewhat simplistic response to your involved fundamental
question.......I remember Oscar Peterson talking about technique. Someone
asked him about his technique and how much does he think the musician
needs......his response was "you only need enough technique to do what YOU
are trying to do." Interesting. I guess it's when you try to do what others
are doing that you run into problems. 

My point to this is that I look at someone like....lets say Herbie Hancock.
I view him as a "master" because he clearly is identified with 'his sound."
Granted he has extraordinary technique but it's the sound from my
perspective that I think puts you in the master category. Look at Monk. His
technique wasn't the greatest but you know you're listening to Monk when you
hear him. No question. Could Monk play with Oscars technique? No but he
didn't need to in order to create "his" sound. Think about it....every
artists sound that we recognize we consider them masters. There are great
technicians everywhere but many don't have "their" sound. 

So from this perspective having mastery is significant because it reveals to
us one that has achieved something that is of paramount importance.....the
ability to create something that is solely connected to them. So is it
important? Absolutely because without it there would be no valid points of
departure because everyone would be emulating everyone else.
Mastery breeds...or should....individualism. It's offers hope to those
wanting to excel in their craft. Ironically, it also discourages because it
also reveals the effort necessary in acheiving this level. One of the things
that makes a great programmer is the ability to recognize the "sound" of
that programmer. I doubt if any programmer wants to sound like another.

So lets embrace mastery. It offers hope and gives many of us something to
reach beyond our own comfortable sphere of understanding. 

Jae Sinnett

Rick McLaughlin wrote:
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Cats, I'll totally let this drop if the same resounding silence as
yesterday's happens. Sorry to be a nudge, but if the shoe fits...

So the questions are these:

- What is mastery, in jazz, in music, from whatever vantage point you
choose?
- Does this thought process actually help us learn from up and coming
artists, or does it hinder the process by unfairly tainting our ears in some
way?
- Further, is it fair to use benchmarks when listening to new artists,
benchmarks that often a) come from a purely canonized view of jazz, b) often
have little to do with the music a young-ish artist is creating, and c) is
even sometimes arbitrary?
- Finally, given the context of this group, how does this help build an
audience of jazz listeners, and what does it do to hinder?

The context, from my original post is:

Hey everyone,

This discussion re: Roberta, combined with our earlier talk about big bands
has piqued my interest, so thanks for that. There are a few questions that I
have liked asking prominent musicians, things like "do you think of yourself
as a jazz musician?", "does the label 'jazz' matter to you and to your
music?", "why do you play?", and then the very interesting question "what
does mastery have to do with your music?" Mastery, it turns out, is not
exactly the easiest subject to deal with, and I'm curious about how y'all
view it. So let me set the stage a little more.

One problem with mastery is that it implies a hierarchical relationship to
music, that somehow when someone has "mastered" their instrument or a genre
of music, that they have conquered it. When I was finishing my master of
music degree at New England Conservatory, I used to joke, you know, "that's
right, I'm about to be a master of music - music won't be pushing ME around
anymore." 

And just because a musician has mastered their instrument or a genre, that
does not mean that they always will. Everyone has off days, or, take late
Bud Powell recordings, tough eras. Those records are the kind that, when you
go to a record store, the expert sort of explains away like, "well, it was
pretty late in his life and he was really sick at the time, but they are Bud
Powell recordings, and just by virtue of that, you must own these." I bought
them.

Relative to this Roberta Gamberini discussion, who does it help to consider
whether or not she is a master, and then to compare her to Ella and Sarah
Vaughn and others? Does it help Roberta - is she aspiring to fill the shoes
of these artists? Maybe, I really don't know because I never asked her, but
I suspect that long-term, it does her a disservice. Does it help the legacy
of these "masters" by somehow keeping their work as the benchmark for all
singers who come after them? 

And is that really fair - the benchmark aspect? Is it fair to use Bud Powell
as a benchmark for all pianists who come later? Well, if one is trying to
specifically play the bebop language, then maybe. But I also argue that
Cecil Taylor is just as important in the context of this music, and I know
that this comment will bring some sparks my way. Why shouldn't he be a
benchmark, or Paul Bley, or someone else? Same with Anthony Braxton, and I
hate to bring this up again, but I argue that his recording of You Stepped
out of a Dream, duo with Dave Holland on Quartets 1974 is totally
unbelievable even though it has almost nothing to do with the canonized
language of jazz up to that point. Why shouldn't Braxton, or Ornette, or Lee
Konitz, or I don't know who else, pick someone, why shouldn't they be the
benchmark. Anyone that isn't Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker or
Dizzy - not that I don't totally love their music, I'm just asking why, or
maybe, why not?

So I put it to you, and I am very curious about how you view [the questions
above]:

Thanks again,

Rick McLaughlin
Bassist, composer, teacher, and frequent (hopefully not pompous) blowhard


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of any accompanist he wanted. The fact that he chose RUSS KASSOFF speaks
volumes about Kassoff's unequivocal artistry, which is splendidly showcased
on SOMEWHERE'' (Jack Bowers-AAJ). After almost 40 years as a professional
musician, KASSOFF's first album as a leader features his serene beauty,
intriguing style, and vivid concepts as an outstanding composer and gifted
improviser. With MARTIN WIND (bass) and TIM HORNER (drums), ''SOMEWHERE is
vibrant, compelling, and destined to become an essential component of
collections that favor jazz trios'' (Paula Edelstein-AMG). ''Performed with
class and a fine touch'' (Marion McPartland), ''SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece''
(Bucky Pizzarelli).

ON YOUR DESKS NOW!

GOING FOR ADDS: 8/28

Available on-line: www.cdbaby.com/kassoff

FALL ITINERARY (including Knickerbocker in NYC with BUCKY PIZZARELLI Sept.
28-30), (Midtown Jazz at Midday - Saint Peter's @ Citicorp NYC - 1 PM
Oct.11), UPDATED BIO, PRESS RELEASE, PHOTOS and more, please visit
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''It goes without saying that FRANK SINATRA could have enlisted the services
of any accompanist he wanted. The fact that he chose RUSS KASSOFF speaks
volumes about Kassoff's unequivocal artistry, which is splendidly showcased
on SOMEWHERE'' (Jack Bowers-AAJ). After almost 40 years as a professional
musician, KASSOFF's first album as a leader features his serene beauty,
intriguing style, and vivid concepts as an outstanding composer and gifted
improviser. With MARTIN WIND (bass) and TIM HORNER (drums), ''SOMEWHERE is
vibrant, compelling, and destined to become an essential component of
collections that favor jazz trios'' (Paula Edelstein-AMG). ''Performed with
class and a fine touch'' (Marion McPartland), ''SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece''
(Bucky Pizzarelli).

ON YOUR DESKS NOW!

GOING FOR ADDS: 8/28

Available on-line: www.cdbaby.com/kassoff

FALL ITINERARY (including Knickerbocker in NYC with BUCKY PIZZARELLI Sept.
28-30), (Midtown Jazz at Midday - Saint Peter's @ Citicorp NYC - 1 PM
Oct.11), UPDATED BIO, PRESS RELEASE, PHOTOS and more, please visit
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This week's sponsor: Russ Kassoff - ''SOMEWHERE'' (2006) - RHK JAZZ 

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''It goes without saying that FRANK SINATRA could have enlisted the services
of any accompanist he wanted. The fact that he chose RUSS KASSOFF speaks
volumes about Kassoff's unequivocal artistry, which is splendidly showcased
on SOMEWHERE'' (Jack Bowers-AAJ). After almost 40 years as a professional
musician, KASSOFF's first album as a leader features his serene beauty,
intriguing style, and vivid concepts as an outstanding composer and gifted
improviser. With MARTIN WIND (bass) and TIM HORNER (drums), ''SOMEWHERE is
vibrant, compelling, and destined to become an essential component of
collections that favor jazz trios'' (Paula Edelstein-AMG). ''Performed with
class and a fine touch'' (Marion McPartland), ''SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece''
(Bucky Pizzarelli).

ON YOUR DESKS NOW!

GOING FOR ADDS: 8/28

Available on-line: www.cdbaby.com/kassoff

FALL ITINERARY (including Knickerbocker in NYC with BUCKY PIZZARELLI Sept.
28-30), (Midtown Jazz at Midday - Saint Peter's @ Citicorp NYC - 1 PM
Oct.11), UPDATED BIO, PRESS RELEASE, PHOTOS and more, please visit
www.russkassoff.com/somewhere

For more information, interviews, etc. -- please contact:
katesmith999 at yahoo.com and visit www.katesmithpromotions.com

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This week's sponsor: Russ Kassoff - ''SOMEWHERE'' (2006) - RHK JAZZ 

-------------------------------------------

''It goes without saying that FRANK SINATRA could have enlisted the services of any accompanist he wanted. The fact that he chose RUSS KASSOFF speaks volumes about Kassoff's unequivocal artistry, which is splendidly showcased on SOMEWHERE'' (Jack Bowers-AAJ). After almost 40 years as a professional musician, KASSOFF's first album as a leader features his serene beauty, intriguing style, and vivid concepts as an outstanding composer and gifted improviser. With MARTIN WIND (bass) and TIM HORNER (drums), ''SOMEWHERE is vibrant, compelling, and destined to become an essential component of collections that favor jazz trios'' (Paula Edelstein-AMG). ''Performed with class and a fine touch'' (Marion McPartland), ''SOMEWHERE is a masterpiece'' (Bucky Pizzarelli).

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