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Topic: Jazz Haiku

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  1. #1
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    Jazz Haiku

    I have to thank sosmus for suggesting that I try my hand at composing in the jazz idiom.

    This is my first serious jazz effort. I am trying to capture the improvisational feel and the fun that jazz players have when in the groove.

    It is a short piece for flute, clarinet, bass, piano and drums. The structure is five 8-bar sections: intro without the piano, full combo does the main theme, clarinet and flute featured, the rhythm section featured, repeat main theme plus a brief ending.

    The piece seems complete which is why I call it a haiku. I have the feeling that trying to lengthen it will be like stretching a haiku into a sonnet. Well, I may change my mind, composer's prerogative, but for now I think I will move on to compose another piece for this same combo.

    The instruments are all GPO.

    The mp3 is here

    Herb
    Last edited by Euler; 09-04-2008 at 08:08 PM. Reason: new mp3 with less cymbal, more reverb

  2. #2

    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Pretty cool Herb!

    I liked the melodies; harmonies are very colorful, I especially liked the mood you set. A very creative ending as well!

    I would only suggest maybe adding a bit more reverb; set them back a bit more - and turning down the ride cymbal- seemed a bit loud.

    Great work!

    M
    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music
    http://www.miserymadebeautiful.com

  3. #3
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    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael A. Wiktor View Post
    Pretty cool Herb!

    I liked the melodies; harmonies are very colorful, I especially liked the mood you set. A very creative ending as well!

    I would only suggest maybe adding a bit more reverb; set them back a bit more - and turning down the ride cymbal- seemed a bit loud.

    Great work!

    M
    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    More reverb - well, a very common comment on my work . I think I may be going for an "in the band" sound rather than a "watching the band" sound.

    The cymbals are problematic - if you focus on them, they seem loud, if you follow another instrument they almost disappear. I'm least happy with the percussion. It's actually the my first piece ever to use percussion.

    Herb

  4. #4

    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Hey Herb,

    Good idea about the reverb! Makes sense to me now. I'm more about that "set back" symphonic type sound.

    I understand your concern with the cymbal. But it did have my attention, not to the point of discomfort, but towards awkwardness. I could definitely hear your wonderful melodies and colors but the cymbal just got in the way. I would just turn it down a tad. With my band experience, the ride is usually an accompanying part of the overall drum set.

    But hey, just a suggestion!
    It's a great piece of music!

    M
    "...Wiktor's a Jekyll-Hyde personality..." - Lycos Music
    http://www.miserymadebeautiful.com

  5. #5

    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Herb

    You know that I think that this is some of your best work to date. But as Michael said, it wouldn't hurt to tone down the cymbal a hair or 3.

    When it comes to jazz, you can't get much better advice from anyone better than Steve(sosmus). The man knows his jazz.

    Very nice work!!!

    Ron
    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein

    http://composersforum.ning.com/profile/RonaldFerguson

  6. #6
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    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Ron and Michael

    My very limited understanding of jazz performing was that the ride cymbal beats out a steady thythm which the other players use to keep track of the tempo and can play against - but just how loud it has to be is a good point. It doesn't do anything for a scored piece except give an authentic jazz sound.

    I will look at making a revised version with a little more reverb and a little less cymbal.

    Edit: new mp3 done

    Thanks guys,
    Herb
    Last edited by Euler; 09-04-2008 at 08:10 PM. Reason: mp3 is now revised version

  7. #7
    Senior Member sosmus's Avatar
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    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Herb:
    I had a small tome written to you and accidentally hit a wrong "note" and lost it all. AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! I'll try again.

    I find your piece and the approach to it very intriguing.

    The good news: A good composition, well scored and an excellent choice of instruments, with one exception. My personal choice for bass is the Fretless Jazz bass (1 or 2.) It has more sonority and sustaining power.
    I hear influences of Alec Wilder's later works, Raymond Scott and Milton Babbit's "All Set."
    I really like your lines and counterlines.

    The bad news: It is all ensemble or "as written" with no improvisation. The overall "jazz feel" is still too stiff, or as we hard core jazzers say, "square." The harmonic structure is, to me, "iffy" and the bass is too "plunky." I would like to hear you reset this piece using the GJBB instruments or the Aria jazz instruments that come with Finale 2009.
    Use "Apply Human Playback" with the jazz setting. That is the only production type technical advice I can give, because I know how difficult it can be trying to learn all of the "idioms, innuendos, cliches and gimmicks," that are a part of the jazz vocabulary. I am facing the same unfamiliarity problem trying to learn about samplers, sequencers, etc.

    Lest you feel that my comments are too harsh, I recommend that you seek the opinion of Danny Williams. I have no reservations about trusting his judgement.

    Good luck with all of your future endeavors (or seeing that you reside in Canada, "endeavours.")

    Steve (Bellingham, WA just down I-5 from you.)

  8. #8

    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Herb:

    Some good advice from Steve and others. I found the piece
    to be a really wonderful "first" piece in the jazz idiom. Things
    that Sos pointed out are true, but I'm sure the more you write
    and LISTEN to jazz, the more groovey-sounding your works will
    be.

    Probably one of the most important parts of Steve's critique was
    that you have to think about "improvisation" on a grander scale, but
    I'm sure that, too, will come in time.

    Great start, Herb

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 2014.5, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.5, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Quote Originally Posted by sosmus View Post
    Herb:
    I had a small tome written to you and accidentally hit a wrong "note" and lost it all. AAAARRRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! I'll try again.

    I find your piece and the approach to it very intriguing.

    The good news: A good composition, well scored and an excellent choice of instruments, with one exception. My personal choice for bass is the Fretless Jazz bass (1 or 2.) It has more sonority and sustaining power.
    I hear influences of Alec Wilder's later works, Raymond Scott and Milton Babbit's "All Set."
    I really like your lines and counterlines.

    The bad news: It is all ensemble or "as written" with no improvisation. The overall "jazz feel" is still too stiff, or as we hard core jazzers say, "square." The harmonic structure is, to me, "iffy" and the bass is too "plunky." I would like to hear you reset this piece using the GJBB instruments or the Aria jazz instruments that come with Finale 2009.
    Use "Apply Human Playback" with the jazz setting. That is the only production type technical advice I can give, because I know how difficult it can be trying to learn all of the "idioms, innuendos, cliches and gimmicks," that are a part of the jazz vocabulary. I am facing the same unfamiliarity problem trying to learn about samplers, sequencers, etc.

    Lest you feel that my comments are too harsh, I recommend that you seek the opinion of Danny Williams. I have no reservations about trusting his judgement.

    Good luck with all of your future endeavors (or seeing that you reside in Canada, "endeavours.")

    Steve (Bellingham, WA just down I-5 from you.)
    Steve

    Thanks for taking the time to comment (twice ). I've just started using Finale 2009 and the Aria player.

    Fretless bass - okay, that's an idea. So you like a smoother less plunky bass.

    The harmony is a bit hmmm non-jazz (being kind to myself). Yes, there isn't much improvisation - perhaps partly due to the harmony.

    I think your criticisms are reasonable - I didn't expect to succeed 100% on first try - if jazz, or any music, was that easy it wouldn't be worth doing. The two people I often bounce my pieces off aren't fans of jazz so I am more on my own with jazz than with other styles.

    Herb

  10. #10
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    Re: Jazz Haiku

    Jack

    Thanks for listening and commenting.

    I'll have to see what I can do for my next and I hope more idiomatic jazz piece.

    Herb

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