Guy Berger

Jazz musicians who play out of tune

90 posts in this topic

7 minutes ago, Shrdlu said:

The English regularly expect to be able to ignore things like that. 

A very generalised, glib and all reaching statement there, not borne out whatsoever by experience although no doubt  applying for the occasion you mention.

Edited by sidewinder

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17 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

As for Murray as a writer-bandleader, FWIW some years ago James Spaulding (then a member of Murray's ensemble) gave me an earful on that subject after he got off the stand.

It would appear Spaulding recorded with Murray from 1987's "Hope Scope" until the 1999 recorded "Octet Plays Trane". A total of 6 albums plus an appearance on a WSQ recording. That's a long time to hate the gig.

I saw Spaulding on several occasions with Murray's Octet and Big Band. David always went out of his way when introducing the musicians to make a big deal out of Spaulding. It was evident he was especially proud to have him in the group. 

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Thank you for vindicating my habit of ignoring the jazz critics. :lol:

13 hours ago, Dave James said:

Were there any liner notes?  It would be interesting to hear what either Murray or whoever wrote them had to say about the album.  For me, "Home" would not fall into the "rewards repeated listenings" category.  

The liner notes are by Stanley Crouch. I can take a photo of the CD booklet and post here in a moment if you like.

Here you go:

IMG-3701.jpg

Edited by erwbol

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2 hours ago, ghost of miles said:

That’s the version I played! 👍

Here's one you can give him next time around:

 

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FWIW, a musician friend comments on Murray's "Home":
 

"The piano is painfully out of tune.  Assuming that this was a studio recording, Anthony Davis was a saint to tolerate it. At least two of the horns -- George Lewis’s trombone and Henry Threadgill’s bass flute (he plays an F below middle C, which is below alto flute range) -- are at times seriously sharp.  This compromises all of the voicings.  Lewis was at one time on the Basie band, whose intonation standards were pretty high, so I’m surprised at him."
 
36 minutes ago, dicky said:

It would appear Spaulding recorded with Murray from 1987's "Hope Scope" until the 1999 recorded "Octet Plays Trane". A total of 6 albums plus an appearance on a WSQ recording. That's a long time to hate the gig.

I saw Spaulding on several occasions with Murray's Octet and Big Band. David always went out of his way when introducing the musicians to make a big deal out of Spaulding. It was evident he was especially proud to have him in the group. 

I'm only reporting what Spaulding said to me circa 1982.

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27 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

FWIW, a musician friend comments on Murray's "Home":
 

"The piano is painfully out of tune.  Assuming that this was a studio recording, Anthony Davis was a saint to tolerate it. At least two of the horns -- George Lewis’s trombone and Henry Threadgill’s bass flute (he plays an F below middle C, which is below alto flute range) -- are at times seriously sharp.  This compromises all of the voicings.  Lewis was at one time on the Basie band, whose intonation standards were pretty high, so I’m surprised at him."

100% accurate, and also 100% irrelevant.

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43 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

I'm only reporting what Spaulding said to me circa 1982.

I recognize that. And I always read with great interest anything you write or report.

I'm fairly certain you meant 1992 rather '82. Assuming '92, Spaulding still hung in there (and pocketed the cash) with Murray for quite a while. 
 

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Upon checking, it was the spring of 1987, late May or early June -- Murray was at Sweet Basil.

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Every time I've heard Steve Lacy on soprano, he sounds flat- in a bad way. Every time I've heard Bobby Jaspar on flute, he sounds flat, in a good way.

Dizzy sounded out of tune when I heard him live in the 70s. That's why he switched to using guitar in his small group stuff instead of piano.

I loaned Frank Strozier's "Long Night" (one of my fave albums) to Joe Dixon (clarinet and sax player for Tommy Dorsey and Bunny Berrigan), and he raved about it, saying Strozier was 'Trane influenced. I loaned the same album to a younger sax player, and all he had to say was, "he plays out of tune".I've avoided that guy since then.

Don Cherry-out of tune. Ornette on violin- OOT.

Most guitarists sounded OOT before they invented the electronic tuners, except for Johnny Smith and Barry Galbraith. That's one of the reasons they were on so many albums in the 50s, and (in Smith's case) played in the NBC Orchestra.

I used to work with George Barrow (the Bari sax player on "Blues and the Abstract Truth), and he told me that Eric Dolphy told him he played out of tune on the flute on purpose, because that's the way they play high-pitched wind instruments in Africa.

I have to admit that I'd like to hear a hip band play some of Duke's more modern pieces. His old classics sound fine that way.

Gunther Schuller said in his autobiography, that the bass violin is the most difficult instrument of them all to play perfectly in tune on, because the space between half tones is too large to always find the exact place where the note is perfectly in tune. A bass player I knew who studied at Julliard, told me that George Mraz was the only bass player who could consistently play in tune.

Edited by sgcim

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3 hours ago, erwbol said:

Thank you for vindicating my habit of ignoring the jazz critics. :lol:

The liner notes are by Stanley Crouch. I can take a photo of the CD booklet and post here in a moment if you like.

Here you go:

IMG-3701.jpg

Thanks.  There's a difference between deliberately playing out of tune and doing so unintentionally.  IMO, "Home" is clearly case of the former.

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"There's a difference between deliberately playing out of tune and doing so unintentionally." So if they're deliberately playing out of tune, to what end would they be doing that?

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12 minutes ago, Larry Kart said:

"There's a difference between deliberately playing out of tune and doing so unintentionally." So if they're deliberately playing out of tune, to what end would they be doing that?

To enhance the harmony.

 

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3 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

To enhance the harmony.

 

Yes, I can imagine that, but not in the case of Murray's "Home."

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Not everybody is shaped the same.

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