Monday, January 16, 2023

The hazards of independent coordination

Many may not agree with me here, but I feel one advantage horn players have over guitarists, pianists, and drummers is that it is very difficult, if not impossible to play more than a note at a time.. As a result, people who play these instruments get very good at implying harmony through their choice of notes in a line. But pianists and drummers can play very thickly, and tend to get obsessed with layering of notes and rhythms. I am guilty of this on both these instruments! 

I was doing a grant application and was going through some video of my band from about a year ago. The performances were good but I felt myself saying , "Well, that's a lot of drums, but what does it mean?" and " There seems to be a lot of the same texture of sound throughout this performance". So, I have been thinking about and experimenting with playing a lot less at times, and making sure there are sparse textures as well as thick ones. I find myself finding this issue with other players as well. It seems to be the hip thing these days to crowd as much drums and cymbals as possible into the music, and I'm getting a little sick of it, to be frank.

Here's a great example of a mainly melodic rather than harmonic solo from the great Shelly Manne. Enjoy! 

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