Do any of you jazz players play metal, or vice versa?

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by acriticalcookie, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. acriticalcookie

    acriticalcookie SS.org Regular

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    I'm curious about the diversity in here. I started as a metal player for 6 years. but I just bought my first hollow and I"m diving into jazz as well.
    Some of the chords are really frustrating, but I'm getting it... :wallbash:
     
  2. AlexRuger

    AlexRuger SS.org Regular

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    I started out metal, then became a jazz guitarist and played metal less and less, and then got tendinosis from playing too much, so now I don't play much guitar anymore. Mostly composing and producing.
     
  3. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    I wouldnt consider myself either; but Ive played in some very technical metal bands, and have played a few jazz standards on stage in the past. My daily listening often contains Nevermore and Megadeth to Gerald Albright and Wes Montgomery.. often within the same hour

    But I think thats similar to a lot of guys here.
     
  4. ghostred7

    ghostred7 Banned

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    I like to try at both....can't say I'm good enough to do either well. Seeing how among my 1st 2 fav guitarists were Malmsteen & DiMeola...you can kinna see where the dual influence of Jazz/Metal met.
     
  5. JPMike

    JPMike Totally Random

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    Well, I will talk about myself. I listened to metal since I was 12, but my guitar teacher always talked to me about jazz and the complexity and all that, until I was 17. I would listen to some tunes but never really understood what was going on and there wasn't that aggressiveness which I loved in metal (mind me, I was a teenager). That time, I would practise my technique a lot, alternate picking (I am strict alternate picking player, I am kinda used to pick everything), legato, sweep (I am the worst sweeper), economy picking, string skipping, etc.

    When I got into college/university (study economics)I was still into the guitar and playing but not in a pro level just for the fun of myself. I realised in my 3rd year at university that this whole thing wasn't for me and that I wanted to study music (I always wanted it when I was a teen), so I dropped off that.

    I joined a conservatory here in Athens, which is associated with Berklee, so you study 2 years here and 2 years there. When I started classes it was all about learning jazz and how it works, etc. So even though that wasn't my main goal (to play jazz) I had to study/practise and get the hang of it, as time went by I was falling deeper and deeper into the jazz thing and eventually fell in love with it. I realised how much soul, discipline, diversity, freedom, complexity this music style really has in it. Right now as we speak I ended the 4th semester at my scool and got 1 more. I just want to play jazz and get better at it, to reach high levels as the greats, my last summer included 6-8 hours of daily practising.

    The question is what happened to metal and the similar genres. I realised, I was never a metal player at heart, but I stil listen to it and love it. Also I realised that I don't like to perform as a metal player but I love to perform as a "jazz" player, it comes out more naturally to me.

    Final and third realisation is, I love to compose, record, produce metal/rock/djent/whatever songs/tracks on my free time, since when I don't have free time I would practise jazz related stuff.

    So yeah, being a "jazz" player you can also be a "metal" player but you can't do both equally good, since it's two whole different point of views.

    P.S I am not a jazz player by any means, but I am trying to become one. I don't consider myself a good player.
     
  6. shanejohnson02

    shanejohnson02 Hammer of the Gods

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    I started out like most Texas kids: I worshipped at the altar of SRV and Hendrix.

    More on topic though, I played for the jazz band in my college, as well as the stage band for our big broadway-style spring show. I still wasn't much into metal at the time. But I made side money playing classical/jazz gigs at weddings, and as part of a small combo band at coffee shops and such.

    Fast forward to just after college: I joined the US Army, and naturally aggression is part of the culture. One of my drill sergeants introduced me to Hammerfall. Then my brother got into Killswitch Engage, which got me hooked. It just blew out of proportion from there.

    The problem I run into is this: I don't necessarily have the "metal" feel. I *love* playing it, but it just doesn't come across right. For me, about the most metal I can do at the moment is Petrucci's "Jaws of Life". My technique is fairly solid, definitely not perfect though. Add to that the fact that I still prefer the snappy, edge-of-breakup clean that defines blues music, as well as the thick, warm, almost fuzz tone clean of jazz music to most metal clean tones. Then there's the distortion issue. I don't particularly like hearing super-tight rhythm sounds, although loose is certainly not good either. Somewhere in between is cool...a nice, thick organic crunch with a well-defined pick attack and rich harmonics is what I shoot for.

    That said, there are some advantages. For one, I'm used to odd rhythms and complex time signatures. Also I like clustered chord voicings and lots of extensions (9ths, 11ths, 13ths, etc).

    So I would say my experience as a jazz musician has both helped and hindered my metal senses. Not complaining though...the result is pretty unique.

    I know this is sort of backwards from your post...I guess my point is crossing over into such disparate styles isn't easy, but it can be pretty rewarding. Just don't sweat it if people try to tell you that you don't sound "jazzy" (the same as I don't necessarily sound "metal" all the time). If it sounds good to you and sits well in the mix, roll with it.
     
  7. AlexRuger

    AlexRuger SS.org Regular

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    JPMike! I'm just graduating Berklee. So do you mean you're currently at Berklee, or you're still doing the Athens thing?
     
  8. JPMike

    JPMike Totally Random

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    I am still doing the Athens thing, I will be probably be coming at Berklee at January or on May.

    I wish, I was there soon so we could actually meet. :D That would be awesome!
     
  9. Skyblue

    Skyblue SS.org Regular

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    I learned solely Jazz from my guitar teacher... I love listening to metal, but playing and performing wise, Jazz is where it's at.
     
  10. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo SS.org Regular

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    When I started playing guitar I was into Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. When I was about 18 or so I got more and more interested in jazz, so by the time I was in my early-mid twenties I played (or tired to would be more accurate here) only jazz. Got a jazzbox and practiced standards and jazz licks, chords, etc.
    But the older I got I returned to my roots and got more interested in rock and metal again, also got my first 7 string and nowadays I spend more time on rock and metal.
    I wish I had more time to spend on jazz as well, but there are only 24 hours in a day and all that....
     
  11. celticelk

    celticelk Enflamed with prayer

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    I play slow music influenced by both doom metal and modal jazz. Does that count?
     
  12. JSanta

    JSanta SS.org Regular

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    I was heavily into metal for years and I recently (within the last 7 months) started taking lessons from a really great jazz guitarist. I've since sold all of my guitars, bought an Eastman and don't really play or listen to anything but jazz.
     
  13. nostealbucket

    nostealbucket aint no gahdam woman

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    I've been getting into Max Roach, Tigran Hamasyan, and Scofield. It's great to take a break from metal.
     
  14. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    of course I forgot to mention; the biggest "cross-over"in my mind is Alex Skolnick; one of the greatest thrash guitarists in Testament has his own little jazz trio, where he takes metal songs and makes them into "standards" - its amazing stuff, but his original compositions are even better.. Some people disagree that he can play "jazz" but dont listen to narrow minded/traditionalists; whatever he plays I like. And its a good start IMO to listen to Skolnick take songs like Metallica's One or Iron Maiden's Trooper and give it a softer side, if you can dig that then explore the more "esoteric" jazz stuff.

    Going head first into a John Coltrane album may be a bit much for someone whos only listened to Metal all his life.
     
  15. AlexRuger

    AlexRuger SS.org Regular

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    TIGRAN!!!! Finally, someone other than me is repping him. Red Hail is seriously one of my favorite albums of all time. :hbang:
     
  16. AlexRuger

    AlexRuger SS.org Regular

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    Ah, bummer. I'll be in either NYC or LA by then. Feel free to message me if you have any questions, though!
     
  17. JPMike

    JPMike Totally Random

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    Skolnick is a hell of a player, I loved the early Testament records, "The New Order", "Souls of Black", "Practise What You Preach", "The Legacy", "The Ritual". So much amazing lead work in those albums.
    When I listened Skolnick in a jazz context (his trio work), I was not so much impressed, even though he can do it and actually play, maybe I was partial to his metal side and I couldn't "accept" it at least at the time. I haven't listened lately to Alex playing jazz, but I will try to open my mind and give it a second spin. I wasn't accurately listening at the time.

    For me, there is a great gap between jazz and metal, feel-wise. Jazz (at least traditional, bebop, hard bop, cool jazz) has this floating, swinging style. I can't really explain it but anyone who listens to jazz and knows his shit, might actually get me.
    Metal is more of a straight feel, like having boxes packed together, or even better lets say, squares. Everything is on the beat, there is no swinging of course and is more "shapely" in terms of patterns, phrases, ideas.
    So the transition or the "cross-over" as Nick mentioned, if you take in mind the factors I mentioned, is quite hard. I am not saying it's impossible, of course it can happen.

    I think if you guys, haven't noticed, Emil Werstler (PRS Endorsee, Daath, I think now he's with Chimaira) has some serious Django chops. Check him out, he also says Django has been a great inspiration to him. You can hear his solos having that gypsy feel and remaining in context of metal (dim patterns, chromatic lines, bends, etc).

    Getting a metal player to listen to jazz can be tricky.
    First of all, there is no actual guitar playing in the first records, 40s records where quartets and quintets became more often. So for a shredder it's kinda hard to listen to other instruments, especially ones that he's not used to listen to. Also that depends on the individual's mind, how open it can be and accept the music.
    For me, I would suggest bebop players to "metal" players who want to get into jazz, like Charlie Parker, Dizzy, etc. Stuff that are not too complex in harmony and sound impossible to be played. :lol:
    You won't suggest Miles' records, like "Kind of Blue" or "Round Midnight".
    Jazz should be listened from it's start, until you get to the modern stuff. Try and realise it's natural evolution through the years. Of course, you can get a guitar player, listen to Modern cats, like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lage Lund, Mike Moreno, Julian Lage, Jonathan Kreisberg, maybe the connection will happen easier.

    Nonetheless, if you are an American, you ought to know what's jazz is all about, the history, the sound, the feel, the reason. It's your tradition guys and as each nation should know where they come from and what their culture represents.
    I thank you so much for that. It's such a liberating and wonderful space of music where there are no boundaries (well they are but not really if you know how to break them) you are free!!
    You can see that in many different people around the globe playing jazz and I've seen many Greek musicians playing jazz, how they have incorporated some of our own sounds to jazz.
    Jazz has no race or sex. It just has one origin and that's the USA.

    Excuse all the philosophical gibberish, I got carried away. :lol:

    Definitely a bummer, but I am hoping when I am done from Berklee, to do a Post-Graduate Course at New School Jazz Department in NYC and then try my luck over there. Make a name for myself, which will be really hard.

    Thanks brother, I really appreciate it, of course I will hit you up and maybe if fate lets it happen maybe we can actually meet one day and jam or whatnot.
     
  18. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    See I could care less about all that "defining" stuff; Music is either good or not. Jazz is such a WIDE varied genre you can't define it solely as you said. If you want to get technical; Jazz is any music made up of "syncopation" and "improvising" combined, thats all it is. Turn the distortion on, and that could even be metal. So I could care less about what people consider "jazz" or not (also what I HATED about playing Sax; talking to sax players is just so frustrating when they berate everyone who's not named Bird) but I love Skolnick's original "soft" work, if thats what you want to call it. Sure, definitely a rock basis, with lots of pentatonics, but it sounds great and I do think it has some "Swing" - maybe not every single song but a lot.. I'd still recommend that above all else to someone who listens to Metal; Bebop players will go over the head of most metal players and obviously someone modal like Davis wouldnt get much attention from Metal fans.. Going back to big band/swing or pop-py rhythm changes tunes would probably not be perceived well either, considering Metalheads usually curse anything on the radio.
     
  19. SevenString

    SevenString RJ-D0 : Heavy Metal Droid

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    I come from a progressive and metal background (think "Dream Theater" or "Symphony X"), but I've been playing a lot of jazz over the past couple of years.

    Mostly swingin' "standards" type material. My jazz songwriting has been deliberately "classic" sounding.


    When I was getting started with jazz, one thing that helped me with chords was focusing on triads and "voice leading".

    To REALLY get a grip on why jazz chords work together the way they do, I started working out my own chord arrangements of classic songs where I stayed within the same 5 frets and on the same 3 strings throughout a song. This forced me to use voice leading in my chord changes and I rapidly built up my own internal library of triad-based chords.

    At this point, I have a pretty good "on-call" repertoire of dozens of classic jazz songs, but I can also get up to speed on any new song in a matter of minutes without needing a chord chart. One of the big reasons I can do this "by ear" is because I absorbed the sounds of various jazz chords and their relationships through the process of creating my own arrangements as I am describing.

    Hopefully this is helpful.
     
  20. SnowfaLL

    SnowfaLL SS.org Regular

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    interesting you use triads; although it makes sense in a band situation (as a solo-guitar arrangement, maybe not as well) - im assuming root 3rd 7th, and if you need an extension note you omit the roots?

    I gotta work on that shit hard.. started to get into it back in september of last year but life happened and I went back to my comfort zone of lifting solos instead of working on chords.. But it all depends on your direct in life right, I dont see myself playing in any "standards" type jazz bands anytime soon, so its hard to be motivated to sink the countless hours into it as opposed to my original music at the moment.. Although I want to learn so much more.
     

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