Ok, I know I am about to sound as if I am on a high horse, so this is my disclaimer up front: I don’t know everything, I don’t know squat, I do my best and I give thanks for the gifts I have been given. I love playing with musicians who raise me to new heights and am always seeking growth.
As an artist it is really best politically sometimes to stay out of talks like this and be aloof…on the other hand, I can’t stay quiet on this.
Now that we got that out of the way, I have a bone to pick. Last night I was paid an extremely high compliment at a gig that is a steady one for me, that someone really appreciated my guitar work because it grooved – and that I was in fact the favorite guitar player.
Apparently the fellows who played the night before me were good “intellectual, abstract” jazz musicians with great knowledge – except for one problem – the bar & restaurant staff and patrons hated it!!! 🙂
One of the more musically educated patrons then said (a bunch of us were chatting on a break) “Well these guys didn’t really groove or swing – they could if they wanted to, though. I guess they’re into something else”.
Ok, everyone – I am on the GROOVE ENFORCEMENT task force and I am now yelling “FREEZE!”.
There is a common misconception that burns me up and here it is: “Grooving musicians can’t play intellectual stuff, but intellectual guys can groove if they want – however, they choose not to because they are into something more advanced.”
Guess what – NO THEY CAN’T GROOVE EVEN IF THEY WANTED. It is not that they are choosing not to groove. They can’t. I am so sick of this. They think they can play in 4/4 and play with a drummer and be in the same place, that’s a groove. That’s like buying a bike vs being able to actually ride it!
Here is the rub – the entire basis of this is mental vs emotion. So, for musicians trapped in the mental realm, they themselves think they can groove. So, the tool they are measuring themselves with is self referential, and mental.
Show me someone ELSE in the audience tapping their foot, dancing, most of all – HAPPY. Don’t show me an audience deep in thought trying to follow what you do. Don’t show me an audience of egotists who want to show that they can appreciate “abstract jazz” i.e. the emporer’s new clothes. Show me that the people are reacting to the groove you think you are laying down.
There is an emotional intelligence to this kind of music. I myself LOVE connecting with people, love getting them grooving, and love creating an experience. I have worked hard, and continue to do so – to get people dancing, and have been fortunate enough to do this with a single guitar. Yes, dancing!!!
So, don’t tell me you can do this and you are choosing not to. If you can do it – let’s see!!
Show me that you – by yourself – no drums, no nothing, can groove. Then, if you choose to not “groove” because you have something better, you’ll get my respect. Until then, I’ll need proof.
Andy Payne says
What does intelligence have to do with music? Music stimulates a specific part of the brain that interprets rhythmic patterns. This is mainly located in the right temporal lobe and is much independent of the rest of the brain. You got it or you don’t. It’s mostly innate skill and hard to evolve by environmental means. People who try to balance their “musical intellect” by the small right temporal lobe. Just doesn’t work that way.
Amen! at the church of groove!