My opinion (guitar improv)

I certainly don’t intend to get anyone riled up but I want to vent on a topic I have given a lot of thought to.

In the realm of jazz guitar (and almost especially in the realm of gypsy jazz) it seems that some soloists think that simply stitching a series of well-executed prepared licks together constitutes a good “improvised” solo.  I admit that I have been guilty of this approach myself but I never felt fulfilled by it.

Everyone relies on licks and devices to some extent but as we mature as improvising musicians I think it is a natural evolution to want to get closer to creating music in the moment. When you listen to Wes, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, Bireli Lagrene, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Miles Davis and Jim Hall you can sense and hear that they are creating “in the moment” a good deal of the time. Yes, they fall back on their grab bag of stuff once in a while but, for the most part, they are forging on into new territory.

It may be hard for people who don’t spend their whole life thinking about these things to distinguish between the two approaches. I only know where I want to go and if I have to sacrifice a little “dazzle” to get to a better musical moment I will not hesitate to chose the more “in the moment” path.

I welcome comments.


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