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"There are no stupid questions"... well, maybe this one?

Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
In a previous thread I wrote a bit about a jazz cruise I went on last week featuring guitarist Howard Alden, perhaps best known around here for his work in Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown", though he does not generally play in the GJ style.

I took a lesson from Howard and am learning a bit about his chordal style, which mainly involves two note chords on strings 3 and 4.

I like the way this minimalistic approach allows for cool countermelodies (well at least when Howard uses it) but then on the other hand, it's not very rhythmic and has a kind of empty feeling.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that such is my ignorance that I did not realize until today! thanks to Mr. Google, that this style, which I first encountered through Howard Alden and thought he had invented, has a pedigree that goes all the way back to Freddie Greens playing with the Count Basie Orchestra in the thirties, and is used by most modern jazz players to this day.

So my stupid question is addressed to all those mainstream players lurking out there who are experienced in this "comping" style...what, if any, relevance does it have to acoustic guitar and GJ? is it something worth studying or just a blind alley leading nowhere?

Thanks,

Will
Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
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Comments

  • absolutely it does Will. Listening to Django chordin g you will often hear it. moving a bass or tenor voice in harmony often contrapuntal harmony with the melodic shape or line
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,852
    Well, true, but Django didn't just use two note comping chords, but fatter ones...
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • edited December 2013 Posts: 3,707
    Lots of times he did that.....but if I listen carefully I pick out lots of 2 and 3 note ones too...what he rarely did was to do one thing for a number of choruses
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • manushemanushe South Louisiana✭✭✭ Lulo's Gitane
    Posts: 31
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    Lots of times he did that.....but if I listen carefully I pick out lots of 2 and 3 note ones too...what he rarely did was to do one thing for a number of choruses

    I agree Jazzaferri. Django always kept it fresh and played whatever came to mind. I believe that learning two note chords can only help a soloist maintain the attention of the listener if played in a way that demands attention. You can always add notes to the chord for a fatter sound when required.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,318
    Yeah, that's pretty much the way I learned. 3rds and 6ths (or 7ths) on the third and fourth strings and either root or 5th (usually) on the 6th string. Easy fingerings and stays out of the way of the soloist.
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,852
    Nice find, Stuart! Ok, now I'm off to work on my two string guitar... and maybe just playing the melody!

    BTW, Robin was right about Alden's huge repertoire... whatever tune anybody called, he had a dynamite solo that sounded like he had just worked out a fancy arrangement for it that very morning--- fast single note solos interspersed with amazing passing chords that sounded like he was plumbing the depths of the song's changes...

    Howard is altogether a totally remarkable player, the complete package... In fact I would go so far as to say in answer to a long-ago thread entitled "Why aren't there any top North American GJ players": just check out Howard Alden!
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    Guitar, its here, its weird, get used to it.
    Everyone at some point looks at the guitar like its some big puzzle.
    Once you start looking at string sets, 1-2,2-3,3-4,4-5,5-6 sets 1-3,2-4,3-5,4-6 ,and the sets 1-4 and 2-6 and analyze the intervals you will find all the patterns you need to play the music you want to copy, or the music you hear in your head.
    All these ideas have been around for eons.
    The king of this was George VanEpps who wrote 2 , phone book sized volumes on the topic.
    HA studied with GVE no doubt.
    Point is theres a lot to learn.


    :shock:
  • And I suspect Howard would be the first to say he is still learning.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,852
    True, jay, but he's probably forgotten more than most of us will ever learn...
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • Ain't that the truth
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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