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Jazz Honors The Beatles

Michael Ricci By

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What did I learn from The Beatles? Don't worry about whether your lyrics follow standard forms. If you have a 15 bar lyric, that's just the way it's meant to be. Once I understood that you could break rules like this, an entirely new way of writing songs opened up to me.

The Beatles weren't afraid to be funny. They weren't afraid to be literate. In fact, they were completely fearless and took risks that no pop musicians would take today. Be fearless. They certainly aren't the only musicians to have followed this rule, but I know from them that it's rule number one for anyone serious about making music.

Stuart Rosh

If there's a single reason why I started making music, it was the advent of the Beatles.

What I find most fascinating about the music of the Beatles is that it consistently defied labels, genres and categories. If you take a dozen Beatles songs, you would have to probably put each one in a different bin at the record store these days: rock, soft rock, pop, blues, folk, psychedelic, ambient and so on.

The Beatles were possibly the only group ever to consistently climb to the top of the charts without being 'labeled' and forced to fit in a certain category. I just wish there was even one record label today that would even consider signing a group like the Beatles, the music industry would be better off.

Alan Steward

My teenage years were spent immersed in rock music and the Beatles clearly were the most influential of their time. What started out as English rock and roll morphed into their own genre.

Sgt. Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour represented a new kind of popular music without peers.

The Lennon-McCartney collaboration was so unique and productive that not only were the songs cutting edge but the production values were revolutionary.

As a player, composer and arranger, I have the utmost respect for the Fab Four's ability to really play as a band and to craft tunes that will bear the test of time. One can hear classical, rag-time, blues, rock and jazz influences but in the final analysis this music stands by itself.

There's no question that this music has subtly infiltrated my compositions and one can only hope to bring that inventive spirit to their own creations.

Mike Clinco

The Beatles were a supernova. Over a span of less than ten years they moved music from rhythm and blues into the rock era, while paradoxically contributing mightily to the Great American Songbook. With "Yesterday," "Michele," "Something," "Julia," "Blackbird," I'll Follow the Sun," "Here, there and Everywhere," "A Little Help from My Friends," "Eleanor Rigby," "For No One," "Penny Lane," and so many other great compositions, the Beatles proved that the era of great songwriting was not over. Their music continues to provide inspiration to my creative output.

Shelly Berg

The Beatles went from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to "Revolution Number 9" and meant it. You saw both an evolution of sound and consciousness in one phenomenon. They had a large portion of the Spirit of Truth.

Tony Bianco

Myself, I'm a fan mainly of the Beatles last albums. Timeless masterpieces: Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road. But at the same time I'm a fan of evolution, and like in jazz—you gotta' know the past to appreciate what comes after. Gotta' know Louis Armstrong to truly appreciate Don Cherry. To see the progress from 1963's "Please Please Me" to 1970's "Let It Be" is mind blowing to me. Similar to Miles's approach of constant change, or Coltrane way of never staying in your comfort zone. However—the Beatles did it in relatively a very short period.

I got to listen to the individual tracks of the "White Album" once. Another mind blowing experience. Without mentioning the technological adventures they went through in order to achieve what anyone can do today from home in a click of a button, it was simply shocking to realize how clear and in-tune their singing was. To nail two and three voices harmonies in one take and have it be so correct and beautiful—I don't know many who do it today like that. And even more shocking is how they did it on stage. Imagine trying to sing in tune when all you have is couple of amps on stage and thousands of people are standing in front of you screaming their lungs out... Have no idea how they did it...

Avishai Cohen - Trumpet

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