As you go forward with soloing, switch your focus from technical to musical items. What I mean is, rather than say, “I used x scale and y arpeggio,” say “I used a 3-note idea from the melody and then developed it using rhythms, articulation, and dynamics.”
Scales and arpeggios are a means to an end, if you keep focussing on the means, you’ll always play in a technical way. If you focus on what those means can do for you, create musical ideas, then your focus is on the end result, making music.
Matt Warnock Feb 2023
Saw this on Matt’s ‘studio‘ website this morning. Thought is was worth sharing.
“Most of us know that this music is profound; even apocalyptic at times. However, it is so often approached on such a casual social and commercial level, we tend to ignore and overlook the stirrings within our souls and the voices of our ancestral ‘spirits’ that remind us of the fact, that there is a revelation of certain prophetic dimensions inherent in this music.”–Doug Carn
This is a songbook definition of classic. Uno: the whole album is great. Two: Doug Carn’s arrangement and the musicianship are first rate. Tatu: the lyrics are poetry. Yet, all of that great goodness is surpassed by the job that Jean Carn does as the featured vocalist.
In the Fifties, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Carmen McRae, Ella, and others following in their wake, mostly re-interpreted popular American songs: Tin Pan Alley, Broadway show tunes, and movie music. By the force of their creativity, they turned otherwise second-rate songs into standards. In fact, jazz musicians created the ‘standard.’
Then came the Sixties. A revolution. And of course the music was a hip reflector of the politics. Self determination. Jazz musicians wrote their own songs, not just new melodies fitted on top of pre-existing chord changes, as was the case with bebop and the morph from, for example, “Cherokee” to “Ko-Ko.” Under the influence of Trane, the object was not just to cover “My Favorite Things” but rather to express our own Love Supremes.
By the Seventies, we were bequeathed a body of original jazz music. Doug Carn’s genius was fitting lyrics to this new music. Additionally, this music was issued on the Black Jazz label, a self-determination effort of Black musicians to own and distribute their own music and not be dependent on the entertainment industry for production and distribution. The mid-Seventies were the high point of this social and musical movement. In the late Seventies and on into the early Eighties, Jean had a moderately successful career as a pop vocalist, but most of her subsequent recorded solo work is forgettable. And Doug never did come up with another vocalist to do what Jean does with his lyrics and arrangements. They needed each other to complete each other. Even though they both were talented, together they were exquisite. Elegant. But you know, disco wasn’t hearing none of that.
Anyway, it’s the combination of Doug’s lyrics and Jean’s vocals that makes this iconic early Seventies jazz record so moving.
On the title cut, Jean’s breath control and dynamic range are astounding. So rich, so supple, this is the art of the jazz ballad: from expertly hit high notes to a hushed closing that is so tenderly voiced it could well be the last words of a mother who has just put her child to sleep. “Infant Eyes,” now a staple jazz ballad, is a Wayne Shorter composition. There are hundreds of recorded versions of “Infant Eyes,” however Doug and Jean Carn outshine them all. Listen. Just listen. And if you can get to the album, listen to everything (especially Michael Carvin’s drumming and George Harper’s tenor and flute work).
Here’s our cover of Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” with wonderful vocals from Lyda Van Tol….guitar work from yours truly. Backed by the Confinement Crew. We hope you enjoy it.
Lyda and I have been exploring the ways to bring classical and jazz together. Looking at common ground, and investigating differences. Wayne Shorter’s jazz standard Infant Eyes seemed like a perfect starting point. Wayne Shorter being heavily inspired by French composer Eric Satie who was in turn inspired by French impressionist composer Debussy. The story goes that Wayne wrote the melody while trying to sing his child to sleep.
The lyrics were written later by someone else. I cannot find a definitive answer to who and when they were written…..if you know please tell me. Anyway, here they are…
There’s no place beneath the sky, the voice will never arise That could sing of my love, for my dear infant eyes
Infant eyes, you are my own Without your smile, the stars would fall And the moon would lose its glow And the rivers would cease to flow
I wish you could realize, this love I have inside A love that never dies, for my dear infant eyes
Some day you will grow up, you’ll grow up and have your problems Little girl you must try to be strong, for being strong Is the one thing in the whole world that will save you And always keep room in your heart for love For love will teach you to care And in caring, you’ll find the need for sharing And through sharing, you’ll live a happy life
A joyous life my dear sweet child May God be with you all the while And go on your way working harder day by day Until your dreams, your dreams come true Make your dreams come true
Infant eyes you are my own Without your smile, the stars would fall And the moon would lose its glow And the river would cease to flow
You know, I wish you could realize This love I have inside A love that never dies For my dear infant eyes I love you infant eyes I love you infant eyes