Some Thoughts on the Blues by Carl Saunders

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by dizforprez, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    Some Thoughts on the Blues

    I think the blues exists in places other than the usual packaging oftwelve bars... 1-4-- 1-- 2-5--1...
    I think the blues is an approach to playing, rather than a song or a tune. Of course, there have been millions of songs or tunes written on the blues form of twelve bars. We all love to hear and play the blues in that form, but the way I see it... there is more.

    The blues is in all music. It's the phrasing...a bent note here or there, a pulled string, sliding into a phrase...and don't forget the blue notes themselves.

    The blues was originally characterized as sad music, but nowadays I don't hear sadness when people play the blues. I hear complaining and anger. The blues to me is beauty. When one is sad, humbled, and has the blues one can express the beauty of the blues. Anger is not beautiful. It's not humble or sad. It is ugly.

    Of course the blues doesn't have a lock on sad music. Standards and other songs can communicate sadness. When you hear a blues program or show on the radio, you hear people who are musically illiterate. They have soul and have a natural feel, but they haven't studied their instruments enough to play in more than two or three keys. These people are limited and demean the potential of the blues. The term "Get Down" means to me that a person has experienced pain in his life, is highly evolved, classically trained & an accomplished instrumentalist, and can get down, get funky, bluesy, & soulful. Take Herbie Hancock, he is a highly evolved and accomplished musician, but when its time to he can "Get Down" and play some funky blues.

    There are a few gifted individuals who span the distance between being highly accomplished on one's instrument and are still able to get down to the nitty gritty of the blues. They are our only hope to connect with so called ‘unsophisticated ears’ and bring them up to a level where they can achieve a broader appreciation of the blues.


    MUSICandCHARACTER Forte User

    Jan 31, 2004
    Newburgh, Indiana
    Interesting. Blues and Jazz have been intertwined a lot. Like with many genres of music, where does one end and another begin? Who knows? It is much like "Amens" at the end of hymns. They have traditionally been IV-I. But with 7 fold, 10 fold, even 77 fold Amens being written, now if only the word "Amen" is sung, it seems to be OK.

    It certainly is easier to say something away from the form is the blues if it is sung. The words would define it. But if instrumental? Doesn't jazz and blues begin to blur?

    Hmmm .....

  3. Youri le god

    Youri le god Pianissimo User

    Jan 23, 2004
    London, UK
    I think he's missing the point. It's irrelevant how long you've studied your instrument or if in fact you've studied at all. Robert Johnson in his entire recording life only played in about 4 keys......................
  4. jazz_trpt

    jazz_trpt New Friend

    Jan 28, 2004
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    I don't think he's talking about Robert Johnson, I think he's talking about commercially-flavored blues stuff that's getting recorded today.

    Bringing the point home to trumpet players, I think we've all heard trumpeters who get stuck blowing over a blues progression in E and stepping all over themselves because they can't make the changes, which is really a shame.

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