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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Style

Wycliffe Gordon: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Wycliffe is one of my heroes.  This five minute live clip off of someone's phone is a masterclass on style, phrasing, style, high playing, style and just about everything else.  Did I mention the style this guy plays every single note and phrase with? He is a musician who happens to play the trombone.  And he happens to play it better than most.  Bebop, swing, gospel, dixieland.  I have yet to hear him play in a style that doesn't sound just as convincing as the last.

What a gift it is for all of us to be alive at the same time this guy is making music.  I've got to go practice now.

Enjoy!


Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I have evidently been living under a rock because I had no idea two of my favorite musicians headlined an entire concert together.  Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton are both institutions on their respective instruments and in music in general for a good reason.  This is just fantastic. Every person on this stage is expressing a strong musical opinion without stepping on each other's toes.  Tons of exclamation points going around this band and no question marks at all.

The slow, relentless groove alone is enough of a reason to play this for any young musician.  I don't know how many times I've been told that slow music is "easy" by young players.  Slow music ain't easy.  In fact, it's the hardest music to play in the world.  The slow groove in the first half of this clip wouldn't have budged if the hall had caught on fire.  As it should be.  This is how "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" goes.

Enjoy!


Monday YouTube Fix: Astor Piazzolla

Andrew Hitz

I personally can not name 10 musicians who have a more original sense of style and song than Astor Piazzolla. He turned the entire world of tango on its ear by breaking all the rules. His sense of phrasing is breathtaking and this is a great example.  I am really enjoying performing his Four Seasons this year with Boston Brass.  He was a true genius.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbdakZjHTys&feature=related]

Monday YouTube Fix: Tom Waits

Andrew Hitz

Style. Tom Waits simply oozes style out of every pour.  I don't know a single musician with more style than him.  Style is of course a difficult thing to qualify let alone quantify.  But he has it in spades.   In fact, he has so much that he is a very polarizing artist.   I think he's a genius and should thank Rex Martin for introducing me to his music back in the mid-90s.

As a side note, there is only one country in the world where I have heard Tom Waits being playing in a convenience store: +1 for Japan.

This is a live performance from the BBC program The Grey Whistle Test in 1977.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrkThaBWa5c&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Monday YouTube Fix: Maurice André

Andrew Hitz

I was very fortunate growing up to have a father who was very interested in classical music.  He had a large collection of compact discs before it was common.  In fact, he picked upped our family's first CD player on a business trip to Tokyo when they were still incredibly expensive here in the States.  As a brass player himself growing up, he had quite a few albums by many different brass players.  One of the artists I remember the most was Maurice André. What a sound.  What style.  What phrasing.  He was the consummate artist.  His trumpet playing was lush and always passionate.  His sound is one that an entire generation of brass players has modeled themselves after.  I was honored to meet him in 2001 at the ITG in Manchester, England.

Mr. André passed away last month and the world lost a true gem.  May he rest in peace.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLDF8OeD-hc]

 

Style Over Technical Facility

Andrew Hitz

Kenny G is an amazing saxophone player and I say that with no sarcasm whatsoever.  As a saxophone operator he is very accomplished.  But for my taste, he does not push any stylistic boundaries and in terms of interpretation "plays it safe" on just about everything. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the singer/songwriter Tom Waits.  Every time I hear his music (even at midnight in a 7-11 in Tokyo once!) he makes me think about what I'm bringing to the table musically.  He gets me away from thinking about lip trills and towards thinking about storytelling.  It is no surprise that Rex Martin introduced me to the music of Tom Waits since there are few better storytellers on any instrument in the brass world.

If you primarily listen to people on your instrument with great technical facility but who don't push the boundaries of style and interpretation your playing will reflect that.

(This post was inspired by listening to the Tom Waits album 'Swordfishtrombones' on headphones at 30,000 feet)