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CHET BAKER did not know scales or chords....CAN YOU BELIEVE?


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MFaddicted
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:41 pm    Post subject: CHET BAKER did not know scales or chords....CAN YOU BELIEVE? Reply with quote

CHET BAKER did not know scales or chords....CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?

I am studying jazz improv and found out from my instructor, who played with Chet plus loaned him his trumpet on several occasions, CHET DID NOT KNOW SCALES AND CHORDS in the way most of us know.
THAT BLEW MY MIND!
I said: " So, in the middle of Autumn Leaves, if i went up to Chet and said what chord did you just use that tritone sub on......he would have know idea"!!!
Is that ridiculous?????
I really cannot believe my hero, Chet Baker, did not know a freakin scale or chord.
Can somebody bitch slap me with some evidence that what i have been told....is 100% wrong....PLEASE????
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is because as much as music theorists would like to believe to the contrary, music is intuitive first and logical second. Scales and chord names are not as important as being able to use them.
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scatanas
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is not related to Chet Baker, but I personally knew Gipsy players that played by ear and improvised like crazy, but could not read the C major scale.
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bike&ed
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scatanas wrote:
This is not related to Chet Baker, but I personally knew Gipsy players that played by ear and improvised like crazy, but could not read the C major scale.


+1...currently know them...
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lh
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard that story too years ago, but I don't buy all of it. He is one very intuitive player, but if he didn't understand the nuts and bolts, what was he doing here? Posing perhaps?



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TrumpetMD
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think some people equate "not being able to read music" as "not having to practice music". There's a misconception that someone who can't read music must have natural ability.

I have no idea about Chet's ability to read music. But regardless, I suspect he practiced his tail off. And I suspect he knew all various notes, scales, and patterns, even if he used a different nomenclature for them.

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PhxHorn
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chet studied theory and harmony, despite rumors to the contrary.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhxHorn wrote:
Chet studied theory and harmony, despite rumors to the contrary.

Can you qualify that, PhxHorn? I have never read anything or heard any interviews that would hint at that.
I'm under the impression that the guy was an ear player, 100%. He had an astounding musical intuition and wasn't really inclined to spend any time on music, away from playing.

BTW, that photo above - that's a full large-ensemble score on the bed next to Chet. He never wrote anything that we know about that would require such a score. My guess is that that's posed.
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mcgovnor
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:10 pm    Post subject: you Reply with quote

Many of you simply do not understand. The improv books can teach anyone how to get through it. There's a huge difference between intrinsic talent and intuitive understanding, and Jazz books. Anyone who can really play something, could have played it without a Jazz book. Players like Chet, and my ex father-in law, Stan Getz, as well as many others, were born to do what they did, books or no books. Having played with these guys, I can tell you, they were tuned in to another station..it doesn't come in to most.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The photo looks staged.

But more importantly, I had no idea that mcgovnor and Stan Getz were in the same (ex-)family!
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JLoyalist
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P84XtEZQr8k


maybe this will clear some things up...
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does - thank you for posting!
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delano
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scatanas wrote:
This is not related to Chet Baker, but I personally knew Gipsy players that played by ear and improvised like crazy, but could not read the C major scale.


If you google Rosenberg Trio you will find very good gipsy musicians like that. They made records with big orchestras. The producer sent them the tapes and they found themselves out what to play by ear.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plBtYKLkJas

for fun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T28hbvy2zy0&feature=kp

He learned to play this stuff by playing 45 rpm Django Rheinhard discs on 33 rpm and then try to find out what he was doing.
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jhatpro
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chet probably knew more theory than is commonly assumed. In 1959 He told an Italian journalist that he had enrolled in a university in California in 1949 and studied music theory but "failed" and dropped out.

Much of what he learned about jazz he picked up from people like Dexter Gordon who was one of the players he sat in with at Bop City in San Francisco in the early 1950s while he was in doing one of two stints in the military.

A player who was in an Army band with him at that time said Chet had fantastic ears. "The first time through a tune he was the worst but the second time he was the best."

Fellow trumpeter Jack Sheldon has recalled that "Chetty always knew where he was in a tune. I never knew where I was. in fact, I'm not sure where I am right now."
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A buddy of mine just worked with one of Chet's former pianist and he told me that during their talks he stated that Chet did read music and have a basic understanding. He was not a great reader, but he could do it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not improvised for very long. Now I don't think what scales I use and it mostly comes out OK. However practicing all scales and arpeggios regularly is important, gives you more tools.
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ENINCA
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:19 am    Post subject: Ears Reply with quote

I've heard Chet would ask what note the melody started on and was good to go from there. If even 50% of the legends about his ears were true, he was a marvel, for sure.

I started out learning jazz mostly by ear and I still rely on my ear most of the time (meaning for more conventional standards, I'm not tied to the chart when soloing) but I've worked hard to learn theory to help me find a "way in" to tunes with more modern, abstract changes that my ear can't pick up as easily. Working on theory and drilling scales and arpeggios and intervals in all 12 keys has really helped me expand my "vocabulary."

My goal has been to be able to pick up the horn and play fluently whatever pops into my head. I want to be able to play a solo on the horn as easily as singing a solo. I'm nowhere near reaching that goal, but depending on the tune, I have stretches where I feel completely free from the changes like I'm just singing through the horn. God I love that feeling. It's like crack (except I've never tried crack, but you get the point.)
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:39 am    Post subject: Re: you Reply with quote

mcgovnor wrote:
Many of you simply do not understand. The improv books can teach anyone how to get through it. There's a huge difference between intrinsic talent and intuitive understanding, and Jazz books. Anyone who can really play something, could have played it without a Jazz book. Players like Chet, and my ex father-in law, Stan Getz, as well as many others, were born to do what they did, books or no books. Having played with these guys, I can tell you, they were tuned in to another station..it doesn't come in to most.


Here here! I heard a quote attributed to Stan where someone said to him that he loved the way he played a such and such set of changes and Stan remarked that he didn't know that that's what he was doing! Yeah, I think you can learn only so much, but you have to have been one of those cats who had little problem playing solos with records as a kid to really move along in jazz, to be able to pick out a progression, to feel it and create. You can learn art, but are you an artist like a Chet or a Stan?

ed


Last edited by EdMann on Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ENINCA
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:44 am    Post subject: Theory Reply with quote

In my opinion, I think there's a danger in the idea that the jazz greats were just naturally brilliant intuitive musicians. Some were, but I think most actually studied and worked damn hard to master the material down to the harmonic theory.

99.99% of us don't have ears like Chet's, but studying theory is another powerful tool that can help in the process of gaining mastery of jazz improvisation. Obviously that study eventually has to translate into musical expression. I always liked this Charlie Parker quote:

"Master your instrument, master the music, then forget all that **** and just play."
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Fig
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:51 am    Post subject: misunderstanding Reply with quote

I think there's a misunderstanding of what it means to have a knowledge of chords and scales and to "play by ear" or intuitively.

A person who can hear chord changes, understand the structure of them, and improvise along with those changes understanding what it means to be inside and outside the changes, creating melodies that are inventive, and have inner design and logic, has a complete understanding of chords and scales, even if they don't know how to refer to them in terms of music theory.

They are not doing something "intuitive" or "instinctive." They are as highly trained as someone who has studied notated music theory extensively. The difference is they express their comprehensive knowledge of theory through sound, not writing.
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