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  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 26, 2012 report

    John, you ain't seen nothin yet! in future (considering your age group) you will live to see the living human musician a thing of yesterdays and the ghost in the machine will prevail and dictate to wide audenince that will find such an exselerating ascthitc bonified artistic experience fullfilling-futhermore you will also see the complete demise of people going to venues for their musical fix- there will be an app/widget that will put one right smack dab in the middle of a three dimenshonal situation within the artists (missused term) full frame of reference pertaining to that particular work along with the vibe and excitment of really being there.

    John, if I read correctly, I sensed some trepadation in your oppening comments about this-----thing! there might be hope yet:) Bunk Johnson, where are you now when we need your simplicity of thought and outstanding jazz exacution? best, Mort p s sorry -no cpell check!

  • John Kelman wrote on October 27, 2012 report

    No trepidation at all, Mort; it;'s a great project - and, since Metheny now regularly includes it as part of his shows with real players, nothing more than an expansion of his musical palette. Check out "Orchestrion Sketch" on Unity Band for an example.

    If anyone (unnecessarily) worried that Metheny was doing this to replace live musicians - or the live experience - nothing could be further from the truth. And by using it live with real players (I saw him use the mini version with his trio of Larry Grenadier/Bill Stewart last year), well, it turns it into a way for Metheny to have access to a far broader sound world than ever before, and I'm more than good with that, I'm great with it,

    Sorry Mort! Like I said, check out his Unity Band album with Chris Potter, Ben Williams and Antonio Sanchez, where he uses it on one track to augment the quartet in an in-the-moment way that is, for me, one of the best tracks on the record.


  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 27, 2012 report

    John, always dug what Pat was doing after my intrduction to him through my 17 year old step son late 1970s with lyle Mays and Danny Gottlieb some not only interesting -but beautiful works! Trepedation aside-what about the rest of my prophices on the direction the music is taking ----and yet, things to come? (a 1948 John Birks tune with a big band- bootleg record) simply put, I see the human factor going by the board-----your thoughts? Best, Mort

  • John Kelman wrote on October 27, 2012 report

    Mort, I am currently in Umea, Sweden, wrapping up a few days covering a jazz festival here, and it's late but to answer your question, based on the number of fine bands - young, old and middling? You've nothing to worry about with respect to the human factor going by the board. Rest easy, man. And even Metheny, despite this one full-on Orchestrion project, has simply done what he's always done with new sonic ideas - integrated it into his ever-broadening sonic palette. Frankly, launching the Orchestrion tour was not cheap, so it's highly unlikely he'd ever do such a thing again. but use a smaller version for the occasional track? I'm sure he will, and that will invariably be in the context of playing with other people, so even then you can rest easy. Pat's too good a player and too dedicated a jazz player to not want to be part of the magic that can only happen when folks get together onstage or in the studio and play.

  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 27, 2012 report

    Well John, I must tell you-because it seems that no one else will either because they are smarter than me and don't want get into a battle of words with you with your well written eruide comments defending YOUR taste and conception of what jazz realy is about--which goes againest what 90% of the cats around my age hold certain players in esteem - Me and many of the real cats out there -if they think at all of Pat, feel that he is a rock musician who has a certain reverence for jazz-he is loaded with technical knowledge and skills that is propelling the art form into a sterile and completly new enviorment! where one is surounnded by diodes -loops- tone and tempo artiulation and harmonic widgets that Rube Gold berg would have loved

    John, I know that you dont think much of Stan Getz AS A JAZZ MUSICIAN and I don't really know if you ever took the time to really listen to the likes of people such as- Tal Farlow-Jimmy Rainy-Jonny Smith Charlie Christon Joe Pass-Ron Eschete - Bruce forman-Pat martino- Emily Remmler-Larry Konitz-Ron Anthony-Chuck Wayne----John I could add many more names but hopefuly your beginning to get my drift on said topic. Please don't tell me about his JAZZ album a few years back his choures were so weak and minimal as to be pathetic. Sure roy hanes and the rest of the cats took care of business-you can get any one to play with you if you have the$$$$---yes I've dont it to-but so what I played my ass off and the cats through out the years got me some major gigs without me asking them to --BUT I digress Pat Metheny a nice cat But NOT A REAL JAZZ GUITARIST he can and does dazzle some of you with foot work-But lacks a knock out punch!!!! Best, Mort

  • John Kelman wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    Mort, why would you think I don't know "Tal Farlow-Jimmy Rainy-Jonny Smith Charlie Christon Joe Pass-Ron Eschete - Bruce forman-Pat martino- Emily Remmler-Larry Konitz-Ron Anthony-Chuck Wayne"? The only names I don't recognize are Larry Konitz (do you mean Larry Koonse?) and Ron Anthony.

    I actually saw Pat Martino here in Umea last night, and he smoked it. He even played The Great Stream off his tremendous 1972 album Live!, a song, by the way, that I transcribed (solo and all) when I was taking guitar lessons at 16. So please, don't suggest that I don't know my history - especially on guitar, since that's been my instrument. I know and love all those folks except the ones I mentioned. And clearly I need to check 'em out.

    No, I'm not a huge fan of Stan Getz, but that doesn't mean I don't respect or appreciate him for what he was and did. It just means that he didn't resonate with me; I never liked his tone (not that it was bad, I just didn't like it), nor did I particularly like the whole bossa craze (sae sentiments apply). One thing I think it's important to be able to recognize, however, is that there's a difference (or, at least, can be) between respecting an artist and connecting with their music. I can appreciate a great many players who I simply don't connect with on a gut, emotional level. And that should be fine, too, no?

    As far as Pat? Sure, he absolutely does bring a kind of rock show aesthetic, But if you are suggesting that albums like Bright Size Life, 80/81, Question and Answer, or his Tokyo Day Trip album are somehow lacking in the jazz department, I respectfully suggest you check them out again. He has become a lot busier player in recent years, I'll give you that, but from the beginning he was also very much about melody, and I can hear that in every album I cite above. I don't expect him to resonate with you, necessarily, but that doesn't change the fact that he has an interest in jazz of the broadest possible purview. He takes some risks (Zero Tolerance for Silence being one) that don't always work, but that's ok; better to take the chances and fail than not take them at all, no?

    As far as having $$ to hire ringers? Sorry, man, but there are a lot of older jazz folks - guys like Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Charlie Haden to name three - who have expressed great admiration for him. These guys have hired him for their projects, and sure, the cynic can suggest that they did to bring his star power to their discs. But that's just not the feeling I get from those of them with whom I've spoken. Sorry!

    As for knock-out punches? It may be an empirical thing in boxing: it is what it is because it's direct and inarguable. But in music, where so much is subjective, and a matter of what moves us individually, a KO is less empirical. Clearly he hasn't delivered one to you, and that's cool. But he sure has to me, on more than one occasion. And sometimes in the quietest, gentlest way possible, such as on "Farmers Trust," on 1983's Travels live album.

    But we're really at a point where we're going to have to agree to disagree; I don't think anything I say is going to change your mind, nor is anything you say going to change my respect and admiration for him. But please don't make assumptions about what I know, and what I like. When it comes to guitar, I go back to Charlie Christian (another guy who my teacher had me transcribe when I was young) and move forward from there, through Wes, Tal, Kenny, Joe, and many, many more - to your list I'll add Mick Goodrick and Joe Diorio. And I love 'em all, and still listen to 'em when the spirit moves me and I've time to listen to things other than those which I am reviewing.

    I don't make assumptions about your knowledge, Mort, and I do wish you'd give me the same courtesy. I think if we met in person, you'd be surprised to find out what I do know. That's not to say I know it all - - not even close!! and there are a couple names on your list I'll have to investigate now, because if you put them together with the others, they surely must be worth it (!) - but I think you have some feeling that I've not got a sense of the history. I doubt I do to the extent you do (hey, you've lived it), but I sure do have more than I think you ascribe.

    And you should have heard Pat last night; ripped it up...and a tremendously gracious man, to boot!

  • John Kelman wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    A few more thoughts, Mort: it's also unfair to say "your well written eruide comments defending YOUR taste and conception of what jazz realy is about--which goes againest what 90% of the cats around my age hold certain players in esteem." Mort, I'm a writer, so I hope I give my opinions in a clear, well-written way. But beyond that, Mort, you seem to think I am (a) defining jazz, and (b) going against 90% of players your age. First, my idea of what jazz is today in no way denigrates or diminishes its history. One look at my collection of music at home would likely change your mind. As far as what I am writing these days? Well, for a whole pile of reasons, including back end work at AAJ editing folks like your good self (!), my writing volume is down something like 50% from just a couple years ago. So, when I choose what to write about from the high volume of music that comes my way (and for which I am eternally grateful), I choose things that others might not cover. But I also do cover things that would fit within the purview of what you call jazz. For example, this year, albums by Lee Konitz, Cecil Taylor, Marc Johnson/Eliane Elias, Mike Nock, Brad Mehldau, Dave Liebman, John Abercrombie, Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis & Johnny Griffin, Steve Kuhn, Chick Corea/Gary Burton, Kenny Wheeler, John Surman (a swinging, big band date as well as his more electronic/solo album later in the year).

    In fact, I try to be as balanced as possible, but like I said, a lot of factors have caused me to write a lot less this year than any other in the past nine. I don't really need to explain myself, but what I do wish is that you would not make assumptions that are not the truth. Sometimes what you don't see changes things, right?

    Bottom line: My love of the jazz tradition remains as strong as ever; what I choose to write about is predicated on whether or not other writers are covering something (in which case, these days, I then take a pass), and what I feel needs exposure. You may not like it, but there it is. but please don't make those assumptions Mort. Again, were we to meet and have a coffee, I think you might be surprised at how deep that appreciation goes. heck, growing up I was seeing Basie, Ella, Duke, Joe Pass, Zoot Sims, and a whole pile of other mainstream artists, and they became an unmistakable part of what I am now. I hope this makes sense to you. Gotta run...another show tonight and then off to Germany.

  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    John, thanks for the detailed response. Yes, it's larry Koonse-son of great L.a. Guitarist Dave Koonse. you mentioned Joe Diorio, he was a nice cat that could play just about every stringed instrument there was, but his main stay was guitar and he got a lot of studio work that kept his name out there. a VERY famous story about joe ( among musicians in L. A.) was the time he approached Ray Brown about doing a album together and Ray a man of few words told him NO. When Joe asked why not-Ray said "your not a jazz musician" which left Joe literly in tears-on his way to the bank.

    Yep, we must agree to diagree-since the music is such a highly personal thingt . The reason for my Joe Diorio story is to illustrate to you (which I dont think that you've heard before ) that we come from from many different points of the musical compass I know things about the music that one can never find through academic studies- you mentioned transcribing solos( if you have'nt please read my first archived article in AAJ Trane cloones etc it says it all for Mort Weiss) John I flunked Harmony # 1 in hi school I dont know shit about chords and substitutions etc BUT, I can burn through em and would feel at home on the stand with ANY ONE!

    In closing, be cause I have to go back to bed and finish the dream i was having before you woke me up (she was beautiful- she was willing she was mine at that very moment---i guess being my age or somthin-I had forgoten what I was supposed to do next? (any suggestons?) Be safe in your travels John and think about replacing the picture you use for these articles--Trust me, things look different when one doesn't have their hands covering their Eyes:) Mort

  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    John, thanks for taking the time to give me such a detailed history of your jazz experiences- they are indeed quite remarkable-so much so that one is put in mind of experiencing a very large and complete smorgesboard of delights. One tries so many that after a while NOTHING stands out as being remarkable. Have fun in Germany--you missed Octoberfest (probley a good thing:) Auf wediersein. Mort

  • John Kelman wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    Hey Miort, all cool. As for so much music making nothing remarkable stand out? Not for me, my friend; my friends are actually amazed that I can listen to so much music and never get tired of it....honestly, my ears never get tired.

    Also, re studies, just to be clear that I don't believe you have it have training to be good at anything, let alone music. I only pointed out my background so you understood that, lucky guy that I am , I had a great guitar teacher from a very young age who was already opening my ears up. In fact, I consider him the single point om which everything else about my own life with music stems, sadly now passed, but a real inspiration, and a guy who taught me pklnty...including the idea that technical knowledge is valuable, but it's just a tool. Without a voice, a personal concept, no amount of technical training will make you truly be able to mice people. And there are, indeed, folks for whom technique is not the means but the end...frankly, far more than metheny, I thnk guys like al di meola are classic examples of lots of technique but no heart, no soul.

    Anyway, peace, man, I gotta run. Intermission at my last show in Umeå and I've got a,lot of friends to hang, sadly, say goodbye to until next year. I've been so lucky to become part if a network of international writers who end up meeting up around the world many times each year. Life ism good.

    And while my picture has my hand in font off face (there's actually a story to that), believe me that in life my eyes are absolutely wide, I hope, are my ears

  • Mort Weiss wrote on October 28, 2012 report

    Thanks John and as for mr. De miola I agree with you 100% !!!!! have Fun and be safe. Best to you, Mort