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  1. #101
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    Default Re: What the

    Hope I'm right in saying that the majority of bluegrass and similar style music is vocal, not instrumental. But what we are talking about here is instrumental music played by master musicians. Vocal tunes by their very nature are perhaps more formulaic held together by lyrics as the framework for the tune itself. Instrumental music, played at the level of skill of Lage and Thile, possesses potential to break out of the formula every time it is played anew. It's not fair to ask these guys to be jukeboxes cranking out note for note the same ole stuff every night (if that's what you want put on a CD). They are creating something new out of something familiar each time they step up to the mike. And as I said earlier that serves to advance musical thinking regardless of the genre. Yeah some is more accessible that others, but each of us can change the channel, turn it off, play what we are comfortable with . . . whatever. Music, thank goodness, isn't a static endeavor!

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    Default Re: What the

    I love it...I think. I mean I don't really follow all that's going on there, but applaud the technical prowess. I certainly couldn't DO it. Like with all things I don't understand I don't know how to react. Am I jealous, or do I hate it? I just don't know.

    But I like being upset by new music. Wipes the cobwebs away.

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  4. #103
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    Right neither did Don Reno but they could play a tune any number of times that you would recognize. Bet that if they could approach the same tune, melody, or whatever they are basing it on a dozen times you wouldn’t recognize that they were playing the same number. Shouldn’t music have some boundaries? Isn’t there such a thing as fundamentals? Theory?
    I'm pretty sure Chris Thile and Julian Lage have a solid grasp on music fundamentals and theory

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  6. #104
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    Default Re: What the

    Great stuff! Thanks for posting it.

  7. #105
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    Default Re: What the

    And the pot stirs.....
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  8. #106
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    Default Re: What the

    I do wonder what this crowd would make of Sun Ra.

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  10. #107
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by mzurer View Post
    I do wonder what this crowd would make of Sun Ra.
    I think you'd be surprised. There are a lot of us who dealt with modern jazz/orchestral work through the years! For those who don't know Sun Ra, yes, his compositions were rather strange for big-band jazz, but he demanded that his musicians be top-notch. He numbered his tunes, so that he'd call out something like "Number 642, e flat." Which meant you not only needed to know that tune, but also be able to play it in the key he called out. Musicians who graduated from his band were in demand by any and everybody. You knew your stuff, even if what you had to play with Sun Ra was highly experimental. These cats were easily the equivalent of the Chris Thile show's house band.

    These days, I get nostalgic for a Sun Ra moment, put one on the platter, and after a few minutes go, "ok, yeah, that's enough..."
    Last edited by Charlieshafer; Dec-10-2017 at 6:42pm. Reason: auto correct driving me nuts

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  12. #108
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    Default Re: What the

    I ran sound for a jazz program for 9 years. There are things that happen on stage that cannot be reproduced. Good musicians exploring the boundaries is always great fun. More kudos to them. Play on guys, don’t let anyone put you in a box.
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  14. #109

    Default Re: What the

    Never mind that "music" stuff. Why are the piano player and the fiddler wearing HATS?

    Could it be because they are BALD? Shamed by society, afraid to show the reality of their appearance...

    The curse of baldism rears its ugly head (scalp) in every aspect of show business.

    Let's see if JL and CT start wearing hats 20 years from now...

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  16. #110
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    Default Re: What the

    I've been out of the loop for a while but I have been keeping up with Chris and his work with whatever PHC is called now. I heard this when I first listened to that week's episode and I though it was cool, obviously great playing by both Julian and Chris but didn't think anything beyond that. Then when I found this thread and read most of it before watching the video, I assumed I must have missed something really crazy that people were so worked up about it.

    The question that pops into my mind is why are we still talking about this like it's revolutionary? People have been playing heavily improvised, jazz based music on string band instruments for 40 years now. Even if that's not your cup of tea, there's nothing wrong with that, but I hardly think this tune is pushing any boundaries of acoustic music right now.

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  18. #111

    Default Re: What the

    Totally agree with Ken. One of the most exciting things that's happening in music now, is bluegrass/country musicians stretching into other genres and finding something new. Bluegrass is their base. It's hard and demanding and teaches them brilliant technique. From there they move on. Jazz, classical, whatever that inspires them in between. Chris is doing brilliant stuff and inspiring other young artists to do the same. Roll with it, folks. It's good. Growth is what it's all about.

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  20. #112
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    Default Re: What the

    Hi Alan - ''Quintet'' it is. All my LP's are catalogued,i looked for it,but couldn't find it. I must have bought it & not catalogued it - a slip of my 72 year old memory.

    As for ''not being able to play the same thing twice'',not many Bluegrass pickers do exactly that,unless they play a specific intro. / break that they've come up with. Mostly their playing is freely improvised & even 'instrumentals' aren't played identically every time. I very often wondered if folks watching music such as 'Heavy Metal' (some of which i like),are carried away by the energy of the performers & don't 'listen' to the music too much ?.

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  22. #113
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    Default Re: What the

    I really can't think of anything more boring musically than playing the exact same thing over and over. When I played in a honky tonk dance band, the lead singer wanted it to sound just like the covers we were playing. Pretty cool for the first few times through, but 4-5 nights a week over a couple of years, not so much. I loved this piece and what they've done with it. Music is there to be experienced by both the player and the audience. Sometimes you knock 'em dead, sometimes you leave them scratching their heads, sometimes you fall flat. The only thing that matters is that you play it to the best of your ability every time you play it.

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  24. #114
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_P View Post
    People have been playing heavily improvised, jazz based music on string band instruments for 40 years now.
    Quite a bit longer! The original Quintette du Hot Club de France first recorded in 1934, and Stephane Grapelli and Django were members of jazz bands before then. They in turn were influenced by Eddie South, an African-American concert violinist who couldn't get gigs with orchestras, so he turned to jazz in the early 1920's. He travelled to France and played with Grapelli and Reinhardt, influencing them in the ways of American Jazz. South picked up his inspiration as far back as the late teens from the Hungarian and gypsy violinists, melding that with the new improvisational jazz pioneered by Buddy Bolden and then the Preservation Hall band. So, we're at 100 years for stringed improvisation, and in this country alone. When you hit eastern Europe and the gypsy tradition, and Klezmer, who knows. An that's only the recorded stuff. Who knows what the string bands were doing in the 1800's.

    We've been trying to get a timeline for the alternative strings movement for a bit now, and stall out at Eddie South. There's just no real recorded record before that, and even South's recorded output is limited to two records. So, yeah, Thile isn't doing anything new, it's just carrying on a tradition. For a more modern influence, you don't have to look any further than Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Dawg, Edgar Meyer, et al. For those not familiar with this recording, it's pretty special:


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  26. #115
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    Default Re: What the

    Thanks for the history lesson! I know Grapelli and Reinhardt, of course, but not Eddie South. I was referring to that group that came specifically out of bluegrass, David Grisman (thanks for the input, Dawg!) and the like but I think you made the point even better than I did.

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  28. #116
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    Default Re: What the

    Wow. Just stumbled across this thread. It's all kinds of educational and entertaining, and it'll be several hours yet before I'm even in a location where the video that sparked it is accessible. Looking forward to that.

  29. #117
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Seale View Post
    Music is there to be experienced by both the player and the audience. Sometimes you knock 'em dead, sometimes you leave them scratching their heads, sometimes you fall flat. The only thing that matters is that you play it to the best of your ability every time you play it.
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  30. #118
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_P View Post
    Then when I found this thread and read most of it before watching the video, I assumed I must have missed something really crazy that people were so worked up about it.

    The question that pops into my mind is why are we still talking about this like it's revolutionary? ... I hardly think this tune is pushing any boundaries of acoustic music right now.
    Just a theory: I think most of the excitement comes from a few folk who almost equate mandolin with bluegrass and maybe sometimes appear to judge all music against the backdrop of bluegrass - maybe resent that Chris Thile didn't spend his life playing nothing but bluegrass?

    This is just a theory, and wouldn't apply to everyone certainly, but I think that some of the folk who jump to throw stones at Thile's outlandish playing, body movements, hairstyles, etc. are coming from this place of judging him through bluegrass binoculars.

    What do you think?
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  32. #119
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bowsman View Post
    I have not read all the comments, but I remember first hearing Chris Thile a few years ago. I watched his genre hopping video, then "Why Only One?" with Edgar Meyer. Then about 10 more hours of CT content without blinking. I was convinced the guy was an alien, and he immediately became my favorite musician.

    Then, a short time later, I discovered Julian Lage, and though, "Dear lord... there's another..."

    If I was running things, Julian would make a duet album with all of my favorite musicians, starting with CT.
    I'm just catching up on this thread, but yeah, when I watched the video it reminded me of Thile's duos with Edgar Meyer. He's been doing this sort of free improv stuff for a while. While I admit it's not really my cup of tea, and I don't fully grasp it, I have been blown away by the technical prowess of it. And more importantly, I appreciate the delicate interplay between the instruments. They are having a very real, very dynamic conversation with their instruments. To see (or hear) them diverge and come back together just perfectly during that interplay is amazing. We mere mortals tend to get a bit lost, but you can see the excitement and energy in their faces when they're doing it. They are loving it, and it's just plain exciting to see brilliant musicians doing what they love even if the brilliance of it is mostly lost on me.

    Every couple of years I pull out my Thile/Meyer CD and listen to it again, just to remind myself what it's all about. And every time I listen to it, I hear more genius in it. But it still just isn't the foot-tapping folksy music that I like to listen to on a daily basis, so I put it away. I keep hoping that one day I'll "get it", but that might never happen.

    I think of it like looking at a Picasso painting. It was done by an artist who is on another level. I'm fine with admitting it's beyond me, but I can still acknowledge the brilliance of it.

    Hopefully we can all at least agree that the world is a better place with Thile making music that thrills him, rather than burning out and fading away from playing the "same old stuff" year after year. Eccentric geniuses like him have to keep pushing limits to stay challenged. It's exciting to watch him do it.
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  34. #120
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gunter View Post
    Just a theory: I think most of the excitement comes from a few folk who almost equate mandolin with bluegrass and maybe sometimes appear to judge all music against the backdrop of bluegrass - maybe resent that Chris Thile didn't spend his life playing nothing but bluegrass?

    This is just a theory, and wouldn't apply to everyone certainly, but I think that some of the folk who jump to throw stones at Thile's outlandish playing, body movements, hairstyles, etc. are coming from this place of judging him through bluegrass binoculars.

    What do you think?
    I think you're right. But what's crazy is that nothing about him is actually outlandish, except his ability. Musicians have been as good as or better than him for decades -- just not necessarily on the mandolin. His face is sometimes goofy, but so was Michael Jordan's when his tongue was hanging out. His hairstyle is not particularly noteworthy (it's typical of younger guys who would consider themselves stylish). I mean, he's wearing a suit almost every time you see him. How much more conventional could someone ask an bonafide genius to be?

    Ya know, if he just wore overalls and work boots and baseball hats like the bluegrass bands around here, people would say his image isn't befitting that of a classical musicians, or even of a Prairie Home Companion host. As my dad always said, some people would cry if you hung 'em with a new rope.

  35. #121
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by T-E-F View Post
    Never mind that "music" stuff. Why are the piano player and the fiddler wearing HATS?

    Could it be because they are BALD? Shamed by society, afraid to show the reality of their appearance...

    The curse of baldism rears its ugly head (scalp) in every aspect of show business.

    Let's see if JL and CT start wearing hats 20 years from now...
    I'm bald and wear a hat everywhere I go. It isn't because of social pressure. In fact I often am told that wearing a hat some places is rude, but I wear it anyway. My reason is that I live in Colorado and if I go out without a hat the sun will scorch my scalp in moments. Also, if I ever take it off and put it down, I'll lose it. So as I leave the house, hat goes on my head and stays there until I get home. If it makes me super cool when I play gigs, that's just a side benefit.

  36. #122
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: What the

    Like a few others, I read most of the thread before I watched the video. I expected it to be much weirder!
    Not completely my thing, but I can respect it. Don't understand the need to put down his hair, though I guess some people still make fun of Einstein's hair too.
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  37. #123
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    Default Re: What the

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlieshafer View Post
    Quite a bit longer! The original Quintette du Hot Club de France first recorded in 1934, and Stephane Grapelli and Django were members of jazz bands before then. They in turn were influenced by Eddie South, an African-American concert violinist who couldn't get gigs with orchestras, so he turned to jazz in the early 1920's. He travelled to France and played with Grapelli and Reinhardt, influencing them in the ways of American Jazz. South picked up his inspiration as far back as the late teens from the Hungarian and gypsy violinists, melding that with the new improvisational jazz pioneered by Buddy Bolden and then the Preservation Hall band. So, we're at 100 years for stringed improvisation, and in this country alone. When you hit eastern Europe and the gypsy tradition, and Klezmer, who knows. An that's only the recorded stuff. Who knows what the string bands were doing in the 1800's.

    We've been trying to get a timeline for the alternative strings movement for a bit now, and stall out at Eddie South. There's just no real recorded record before that, and even South's recorded output is limited to two records.

    In your research, Eddie South predates Joe Venuti for jazz on violin? I thought of them as contemporaries, particularly with the heavy classical influence in their style and approach. Regardless, the South recordings are fantastic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlieshafer View Post
    Quite a bit longer! The original Quintette du Hot Club de France first recorded in 1934, and Stephane Grapelli and Django were members of jazz bands before then. They in turn were influenced by Eddie South, an African-American concert violinist who couldn't get gigs with orchestras, so he turned to jazz in the early 1920's. He travelled to France and played with Grapelli and Reinhardt, influencing them in the ways of American Jazz. South picked up his inspiration as far back as the late teens from the Hungarian and gypsy violinists, melding that with the new improvisational jazz pioneered by Buddy Bolden and then the Preservation Hall band. So, we're at 100 years for stringed improvisation, and in this country alone. When you hit eastern Europe and the gypsy tradition, and Klezmer, who knows. An that's only the recorded stuff. Who knows what the string bands were doing in the 1800's.

    We've been trying to get a timeline for the alternative strings movement for a bit now, and stall out at Eddie South. There's just no real recorded record before that, and even South's recorded output is limited to two records.

    In your research, Eddie South predates Joe Venuti for jazz on violin? I thought of them as contemporaries, particularly with the heavy classical influence in their style and approach. Regardless, the South recordings are fantastic.

  38. #124

    Default Re: What the

    I saw them this summer in the American Acoustic tour. Early in the show, Julian came on and I was not impressed. The song Julian and Chris Eldridge performed didn't move me in the slightest, though it was obvious the two are extremely talented. Two guitarists playing free style/fusion/whatever just didn't work for me. It seemed like the two were playing against each other rather than with each other. Or maybe it was just over my head, who knows.

    Then Thile and Julian did a tune much later in the show, which blew me away. Perhaps some bias in this with my liking the mandolin and Chris Thile. Thanks for the video link OP.
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  39. #125

    Default Re: What the

    I like jazz and jam pieces that start with a melody and expand out from there. This did not seem to start with a melody.

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