Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop

Jazz Smugglers Master Workshop
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Tuesday, 4 December 2012


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This video is of Alan Barnes leading a local group of youngsters.

Last night Alan Barnes played with Terry Seabrook organ, and Alex Eberhardt kit, at the Snowdrop in l.ewes. How it is that we can hear the country's leading alto player for free in a small out of the way pub on a Monday I shall never understand. It really was a lesson in beautiful, clear, accessible jazz playing  from all three of them.

He played Lazybones, the Hoagy Carmichael song, with a languid feel which never strayed far from the feeling of a hot Summer's day by the river. Then he played "Have you Met Miss Jones?" the lovely up tempo song to which they gave a happy feel. It is that kind of song. He seemed to me always to find the mood or the style of a song and capture it. He very occasionally touched on the melody, but often seemed to follow the shape of the song. So in the interval I asked him about what he felt when he was playing.

He said that for him the melody and the rhythm were the most important factors. "Harmony is a poor third" he added. I asked him about the patterns he played. He said he prefers to think of them as "shapes". He teaches players to use them, and to repeat them inside and outside. He said he is not against the use of riffs, although they seem to have gone out of fashion.

For me personally the song is the thing, and I fully accept that this view is not shared by others. Players I like are always those who feel their way through the song. I don't want all of them to be songs that I know and recognise, but some of them should be otherwise I lose interest. When I know a song, I can feel involved when the soloist takes it away and brings it back.

It may be old fashioned, but if you ran a musical concert advertising that all the songs are original compositions then you'll get a lot of people there who are are musicians. But if you ran a programme of brilliant jazz musicians playing songs we know, then you'll get a much much bigger crowd.

I'm with them.
ps.But I do want to hear some originals as well.....

n this blog We will produce tips for jazz piano, and jazz guitar together with jazz saxophone. We will cover jazz chords, jazz guitar chords, and we will deal with jazz scales. We will cover jazz songs. This site is all about jazz improvisation.

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