Jim Alfredson

Rudy Van Gelder interview from 1995

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Actually, when it comes to playing music, I do my best to enter a 'zone' where objectivity isn't present. So I take issue with the description that my music is somehow informed by a cold, calculated, scientific approach. I never studied music formally (I'm self-taught), I don't know much music theory, and can't even read music, so...

But one of the reason I love recording is that it combines art and science. All I was trying to tell Allen is that the difference between 16bit and 24bit as a final delivery product is increased file size and that's it. As someone infinitely curious about the world, I find such claims interesting and they become something I obsess over for a little while, reading everything I can about the subject and performing experiments (like null tests and double-blind listening tests). I had hoped he would use that claim as a starting point for his own exploration of the science of sound. If one is really interested in how digital audio works, I don't see how learning something new is a threat.

Allen says he can hear a difference. I never said he couldn't and would never presume to tell someone what they can and cannot hear. All I said is that our hearing is wholly subject to our brain and that it is very easy to trick ourselves. The only way to know for sure is to do a double-blind test. Otherwise there are too many biases to make an objective decision.

But obviously he can do whatever he wants. I don't think it's worth leaving the community over.

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On 11/19/2016 at 6:43 AM, JSngry said:

Jim's a hard core objectivist, he can explain everything he does in terms of data, and deep data at that. His music reflects that as well, in sound and substance, cool, well-constructed, nothing left to randomness, and as with Allen, always justified.

Cool is not cold, nor is objective meant as calculated, or nothing left to randomness meant to equate to scientific.

I meant it as your playing seems to reflect your person, and I meant it as a compliment. I would say the exact things about Lee Konitz, although Lee's experiential projection and yours are totally different, that's a cool thing that people from different places can end up operating in similar zones.

Compliment meant to be paid, sorry if not perceived as such. And if I don't hear your playing as the you mean it to be heard...sorry? I still like it, if for the wrong reasons?

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On 11/18/2016 at 2:44 PM, JSngry said:

Allen will not quit, which is all that matters. Whatever he thinks he hears, he will proceed accordingly. He will make something that did not exist before and that will be real.

So, yeah. Lowe FTW.

yup.

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oi; every time I think I am out....

let me make a correction, for those who seem to have willfully misunderstood why I withdrew; it wasn't anything Jim said, or even Scott, as dumb as he is on this stuff. I can argue all day, and have, about anything from music to politics. Disagreement, even strong admonition, does not bother me.

what happened, fellas, is that the argument left the realm of respectful disagreement when Kevin compared my opinions on the relative sounds of different bit rates to the opinions of a Flat-earther. That was it, plain and simple. It was basically the equivalent of saying, "Allen's 40 years of recording and doing audio work and restoration and listening to more music than anyone on earth amounts to the equivalent of a man wearing a tin foil hat. His life's work? He might as well be that guy screaming on the corner."

THAT is what disturbed me; call me wrong, call me aurally deficient, or ill advised; but have some basic respect and understand that this comes not out of some distant and deluded theorizing, but from having put in the time and the effort. As Jim has.

that was it. It had nothing to do with the relative merits of the arguments, the charts or the listening rooms.

 

 

Edited by AllenLowe

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The lack of self awareness in a person that tells one to "shut up", calls them dumb, and tells another to fuck off, all while pleading with others to show basic respect boggles the mind. 

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Interesting thread and discussion. Jim Alfredson knows his stuff. Respect.

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On January 26, 2017 at 4:21 PM, AllenLowe said:

oi; every time I think I am out....

I hope you are staying around.  

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On 1/26/2017 at 4:21 PM, AllenLowe said:

oi; every time I think I am out....

I hope you stick around, too. I apologize if anything I said came across as offensive, which was certainly not my intent. But I'm pretty sure from your post that everything is cool between you and I.

I re-read this thread, too and was reminded that I should do the experiment I wrote about above consisting of recording a source through two of the same interfaces but at different bit-rates. I could do that with my desktop DAW and my laptop DAW, both connected to an individual Steinberg MR816x interface and each interface fed the same audio signal from a microphone via a splitter. One interface would be set to 16bit 44.1kHz and the other to 24bit 44.1kHz.

That would be a very interesting experiment.

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On 9/10/2016 at 11:12 AM, JSngry said:

No, the ones that are really Inspiring often pay as much as five or six bucks.

The whore gigs pay a lot more, because no self-respecting whore lets themself be a cheap whore, but those gigs also cost more too.

 

 

On 9/10/2016 at 11:24 AM, JSngry said:

And the more standards they ask to hear, the more the gig needs to pay.

That begs a couple of questions - The standards are standards because they are good music, or there're other motives to install them into the minds of fans? Also why should someone pay more for a band to play standards?  How much is the sound of two seagulls fucking that you wrote is worth comparing to Round Midnight? In your opinion.

 

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Yeah, sure, "people" "like" "standards" because they're "good music".

Now, what does that mean, really?

The offspring of the two fucking seagulls are looking forward to your answer. You know how restless kids can get.

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Yeah, sure, "people" "like" "standards" because they're "good music".

Now, what does that mean, really?

The offspring of the two fucking seagulls are looking forward to your answer. You know how restless kids can get.

That's a non-answer, really. You seriously think someone should pay more for you [or anyone else] playing Creole than to the SEAGULLS LOVE CALL? Because why? 

 

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Because that's what I want. What I want and what I get are not always the same thing. But one tries.

And yes, when I play for a bunch of people whose sole "appreciation" of "music" is some impotent mélange of rancid nostalgia, faux-hipness, narcissistic entitlement and/or narscient horndogginess, and they expect you to be their human jukebox and wear a suit or a tuxedo, and play neither too loud nor too soft nor too fast nor too slow nor too happy nor too sad and to do it not do it all at once, yeah, all that shit costs. If it doesn't, hey, that's between you and your self-respect. And when the bandleader is the one leading the assault, hey - fuck that bandleader, fuck that gig, and fuck ALL that.

And if they want/expect me to play "Creole" or "Round Midnight", I'm thinking, why do you think I should play those songs, do I sound like the kind of guy who lives to play that stuff? Do I strike you as the kind of guy who wants nothing more than to play still more of "Stella By Starlight" or any of those other songs where if you want to hear anything and everything that can be done to them just stay home and play records, where it all has been done? But no, people don't buy records, they're nowhere as hip as they think they are cool. so they expect a band to play their records for them, and then they can get laid or do a business deal or score some coke to get laid or do a business deal, or have pleasant background music while they eat their halfass Italian food and shit like that.

I mean, it's a gig, sure, and sometimes that is all the gig is. But at some point, it's not about playing spontaneous, creative music, it's about being a goddamned record player for people who are too triflin' to buy records. And for me personally, the time when playing that kind of thing with good players - and especially with "good players" just to be part of a "jazz scene" that looks to do nothing but incestualise its already played out energies...I always need money, but I don't need THAT money all THAT badly. Don't call me for those gigs. I believe I've made that clear locally, and nobody does. So everybody's happy now, at least about that.

Like I said, the really inspiring gigs usually don't pay much, if anything. But inspiration is its own compensation. That and helping seagulls fuck, because you know, people just get laid. Segaulls FUCK!!!!

Also rewarding as hell - playing simple dance music for people who show up just to dance. But dammit, there's not that many of those gigs left these days.

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Sounds like a pretty contentious relationship. Why not just turn down those gigs? Or is it your only source of income? 

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Oh, I have a "day job", have had for a good while now. I took those gigs because I thought I wanted to "play" at any price. Maybe I did for a while, you know, this whole thing about "a musician should always play anything anywhere, because that's what a true musician does", that gets deeply ingrained and casts itself as an existential crisis when called into doubt. And I dunno, maybe it's true. But maybe it's delusional bullshit. Depends on what "anything" and "anywhere" end up being. But no more, not for a few years now. Now, if the seagulls want to fuck, they will fuck and be happy about it, and nobody will look to get paid for anything other than that, if that...if it's really love, you know, there's no charge to fuck, although you still gotta pay for gas every once in a while. And when the seagulls don't feel like fucking, there will be no anxiety about it, because, you know, when it doesn't suck your soul dead, it energizes it beyond belief. I've had both, and am content.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride that I present you my latest discovery, the song stylings of Gertrude & Heathcliff.

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Hasn't Dmitry's question been answered (at least in part) decades ago?

There was that pic taken many decades ago (can't locate it right now, unfortuutely) of a sign pasted up on the wall of a dance hall in New Orleans that read something like this:

REQUESTS PLAYED - 50c

"HIGH SOCIETY" PLAYED - $5

 

Anybody have to guess at all why they put up that sign? ;)

 

As for dancing ....

5 hours ago, JSngry said:

Also rewarding as hell - playing simple dance music for people who show up just to dance. But dammit, there's not that many of those gigs left these days.

It is indeed regrettable that jazz had to evolve in this direction with too large a part of the typical ("sophisticted"?) jazz audience finding dancing to jazz too "lowly" and therefore not encouraging it at all. ;) 

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Hey, I have heard - and on the dance floor, seen - true magic happen on "Mister Magic". Not all that often, but, just sayin'...what was that Marvin Gaye song, "Got To Give It Up", right? That's all you gotta have is everybody giving. But too often, people on and off the bandstand come to take. Audiences, y'all just as guilty of this as musicians, y'all think we want it to be all about us, hell, y'all think it oughta be all about you, and I'm here to tell you fuck all that, let's have it be about us, everybody gives, then you get without having to take. Gifts exchanged, life is good.

 

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Hasn't Dmitry's question been answered (at least in part) decades ago?

There was that pic taken many decades ago (can't locate it right now, unfortuutely) of a sign pasted up on the wall of a dance hall in New Orleans that read something like this:

REQUESTS PLAYED - 50c

"HIGH SOCIETY" PLAYED - $5

 

I don't think anyone's requesting the SEAGULL'S LOVE CALL. BTW, I think there are a lot more casual jazz listeners now that in the prior times; if anything "the general public" has no concept of what the standards are.  

 

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2 hours ago, Dmitry said:

I don't think anyone's requesting the SEAGULL'S LOVE CALL. BTW, I think there are a lot more casual jazz listeners now that in the prior times; if anything "the general public" has no concept of what the standards are.  

 

Yet according to what Jim said the problem seems to exist:

6 hours ago, JSngry said:

And yes, when I play for a bunch of people whose sole "appreciation" of "music" is some impotent mélange of rancid nostalgia, faux-hipness, narcissistic entitlement and/or narscient horndogginess, and they expect you to be their human jukebox ...

And if they want/expect me to play "Creole" or "Round Midnight", I'm thinking, why do you think I should play those songs, do I sound like the kind of guy who lives to play that stuff? Do I strike you as the kind of guy who wants nothing more than to play still more of "Stella By Starlight" or any of those other songs where if you want to hear anything and everything that can be done to them just stay home and play records, where it all has been done? ...

Given the "right" (for them) settings, I can very well imagine those "casual listeners" can be the worst problem: They request what little they know in the way of "jazz tunes" (or what they perceive as such) in order to pass as "connoisseurs", regardless of whether this fits the band's repertoire or not.

And I'd bet that "High Society" sign was put up those decades ago for the very same reason. ;)

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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1 hour ago, Big Beat Steve said:

 

And I'd bet that "High Society" sign was put up those decades ago for the very same reason. ;)

 

That's when it was pop music, and people knew the tunes. I bet a good number of the SEAGULL players don't even know how to carry that tune [some can't carry a tune period]. 

When was the last time you heard requests at a jazz gig? It happens very rarely, in my experience.

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2 hours ago, Dmitry said:

That's when it was pop music, and people knew the tunes.

It's not about whether jazz was pop music, it's about whether people want the musicians to play tunes that the musicains either hate because they have been played to death (cf. High Society) or that just don't fit their repertoire (which says a lot about the "appreciation capacities" of the audience).

And I am only going by what Jim said (see my above quotes from his post), and if I understood this only halfway correctly THIS seems to confirm that HE is (or has been) facing the same problem too. That's first-hand proof and explanation enough for me.

Apart from that - those jazz gigs I attend are more of the swing/mainstream/R&B variety (in all their shadings), and requests still do occur there every now and then. Usually politely (not yelled out by drunkards) and are dealt with just as politely - either refused or fulfilled. But these usually are club events off the radar of most of the "general populace"  aka "casual listeners". ;)

 

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2 hours ago, Big Beat Steve said:

Yet according to what Jim said the problem seems to exist:

Given the "right" (for them) settings, I can very well imagine those "casual listeners" can be the worst problem: They request what little they know in the way of "jazz tunes" (or what they perceive as such) in order to pass as "connoisseurs", regardless of whether this fits the band's repertoire or not.

And I'd bet that "High Society" sign was put up those decades ago for the very same reason. ;)

 

Yep. And too many players are just as bad.

True story - I was actually on a jazz gig in a bar where nobody wanted to hear jazz (or anything, really, there were, like, 5 people in there, 3 at the bar watching a ball game and one couple in a booth trying to make out), and the bandleader wondered what Beatles tunes we all knew, because "maybe that'll get some kids in here". This was within the last 5 years. I was like, duh, nobody wants us to be here, not even the owner, why not just play the fuck what we want, go out with pride rather than being cuckolded like this. But no, GOTTA KEEP THE GIG!!! So after throwing out all sorts of suggestions, the dude said let's do "In My Life". that one's got CHANGES!

And this was, like, a $20 gig. 20 bucks and a free meal. There was a time...but that time is over, god willing.

The best request of all time, that I ever got, anyway, was early on in the Quartet Out days, some really sweet young lady walked up looking half-drunk and half-bashful and handed me a napkin on which was written

  1. Girl From Ipanema
  2. Take Five
  3. Anything by Allnette Coleman

"Could y'all play one of these for my boyfriend, he's a drummer and he really likes jazz".

We had "Law Years" in the book, so I told her of course, we'd be happy to play one of these! So we did, and by then she was back at the bar chatting with her boyfriend (who was not paying attention to the band at all, but that was ok, priorities, right?) , but you know, clear conscience, sleep well at night, and have a story to tell (and I think I might still have that napkin somewhere).

But you know, that boyfriend was a weasel. Had to have been. I hope she got out while she could.

 

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2 hours ago, Dmitry said:

That's when it was pop music, and people knew the tunes. I bet a good number of the SEAGULL players don't even know how to carry that tune [some can't carry a tune period]. 

When was the last time you heard requests at a jazz gig? It happens very rarely, in my experience.

Here's the sign, as I recall it...

 

tumblr_l179d4yimo1qz762fo1_500.jpg?w=127

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