Jazz Song #3 - So What



  • This weeks featured jazz song is “So What”.

    Composed by Miles Davis and recorded in 1959, “So What” became the first song on the iconic record (album) “Kind of Blue”.

    Every song on that record is a classic, and we could easily do an entire thread discussing it, but I figured we could start with the beginning.

    When I was in high school, our director got an arrangement of “So What” that featured the trumpet instead of bass for the head. I remember thinking it wasn’t a good fit (and I still don’t).

        • More coming soon...I’m in a remote location of sorts without a computer, so this is all being done on a little phone!


  • It isn't the best fit but it also depends on how it's done. With creativity and ingenuity, it can be done. For high school kids, who knows? I used to teach at a school of the arts and I know those kids could pull it off, but I don't know about your setting.

    Also, the director may have made the choice because the bass player wasn't ready for the piece. Was this germane?



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    It isn't the best fit but it also depends on how it's done. With creativity and ingenuity, it can be done. For high school kids, who knows? I used to teach at a school of the arts and I know those kids could pull it off, but I don't know about your setting.

    Also, the director may have made the choice because the bass player wasn't ready for the piece. Was this germane?

    Great point. It definitely did not fit the skill level of the trumpet player in question. Had it gone to perhaps the tenor sax or piano...it would have been a different story!



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  • Dr. Mark - in this context, what is a parenthesis? Thanks.



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  • Funny, I have never heard of that.

    Nor, and no disrespect meant - it's probably my deficiency and not anyone else's - I don't see it's relavence.

    Concerning the influence of this tune (and it was huge) is that it was actually preceded by Milestones which also, if I'm not mistaken (you can use more chords on the head but you don't have to) is also based on just one chords a section.



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  • @Dr-Mark said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    This is what to toy around with at the improv section

    Back in the day, we used our ear. 👹 😁



  • Hi Khaulani,
    I went ahead and deleted the ideas on improv as it is probably too cumbersome and discussed possible improv ideas on So What instead of talk about the piece itself.
    Thanks for your input



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    @Dr-Mark said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    This is what to toy around with at the improv section

    Back in the day, we used our ear. 👹 😁

    That's only a part of the equation (Minimal Structure Theory on jazz improvisation)



  • That's just a way of over-complicating music. "Paralysis by analysis".



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    That's just a way of over-complicating music. "Paralysis by analysis".


    Yes, an interpretation that something seems analytical can be the quickest way to turn music into poo. Ask any high school kid who blew great trumpet in high school but when they hit college music theory or composition, the wheels came off their bus.



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    That's just a way of over-complicating music. "Paralysis by analysis".

    Actually it's a method of communication. If you don't understand the shit then it's just shit. Read the pages defining Minimal Structure. Let's learn how to communicate. THAT is what jazz improvisation is all about. We gotta try to get to that level.



  • @Dr-GO said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    That's only a part of the equation (Minimal Structure Theory on jazz improvisation)

    Dr. Go, some of my comments are more philosophical than about Minimal Theory, itself. Can you give me a good internet source for Minimal Structure Theory as applied to improvisation that summarizes this technique? The only thing I can find is doctoral-thesis length. I've never heard of it or it's value. Thanks.



  • @Kehaulani
    a minimal structure is an infinite one-sorted structure such that every subset of its domain that is definable with parameters is either finite or co-finite.



  • @Dr-Mark

    Translation for we illiterate peasants? 😀

    This is either/both something that I am totally unfamiliar with or too intellectually challenging for me to understand as a stand-alone or it's application to improvising.. I'll just withdraw because I, obviously, have no command or understanding of the subject.

    p.s. I notice, though, a dearth of responses from other forum members. Why is that?



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    I'll just withdraw because I, obviously, have no command or understanding of the subject.


    Whew! Lots of emotion! Calmer heads and warmer hearts, please.
    The definition of Minimal Structure can be found on many websites. I just copied and pasted and the definition seems fairly straight forward to me.
    I took down my post on possible improvisation on So What because you suggested it was too analytical. You're probably right because I've been accused of being a bit too analytical in the past. Maybe this little read can help clarify.
    All that jazz needs in terms of structure is a set of consensual guidelines and agreements which we conceptualize as ‘minimal structures’. In order to clarify the logic that holds it together, we assess the literature that has so far grappled with this concept. Weick (1989: 244) suggests that the value of a minimal structure is that ‘small structures such as simple melody, general assumptions, and incomplete expectations can all lead to large outcomes and effective action’. Eisenberg (1990: 154) has observed that ‘improvisational freedom is only possible against a well-defined (and often simple) backdrop of rules and roles’. As such, he sees the process of ‘jamming’ which jazz musicians engage in, as ‘a kind of minimalist’s view of organizing, of making do with minimal commonalities and elaborating simple structures in complex ways’.



  • @Dr-Mark said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    Whew! Lots of emotion! Calmer heads and warmer hearts, please.

    Well, I said I would bow out, but I said that dispassionately. Just a statement of fact and no emotional baggage at all. ☺

    But since you sought to clarify the "Minimal Structures" thing, I'll just add that, unless I misunderstand it totally, it seems to me it can be expressed in plain language absent micro-analytical verbiage. Just a personal preference?

    And I still want to know why no one else has chimed in?



  • @Kehaulani said in Jazz Song #3 - So What:

    And I still want to know why no one else has chimed in?


    That's easy! Most people are having fun posting on the meaningless pictures site or checking out BugDubs paintings (which are really good). Very much worth checking out.
    Hope this helps


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