Taraalcar
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Join date: Jun 2007
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#1
Recently I've become very intrigued and fascinated with the idea of musical improv, and was wondering what is a good album which is, say, 80-90% improvatisation? Guitar in a rock or blues setting is preferred, but any genre is fine.
aetherspear
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#2
Free jazz. but really any jazz is mostly improv, except for the basic chord and melody arrangements.
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theneildeal
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#4
check out Friday Night In San Francisco - Al di Meola, Paco De Lucia & John MacLaughlin. Its the most incredible live fusion album. I imagine that the majority of it is improve as well.

To be honest, most jazz is improv. No jazz musician would want to be seen with a tab! Check out the suggested jazz albums that's stickied in this forum. Any guitar/fusion album will be perfect for what you're looking for.

If you want blues, SRV has a great live album, although its title eludes me. You'll find that most major blues artists improv.

My advice is to check out jazz. Jazz is almost entirely improv, whereas blues is less so.

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Jimmy94
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#5
There are different levels of improvisation. Often in blues and rock all that is improvised is the solos:
Cream
CCR
AC / DC
The Eagles
Stevie Ray Vaughan

In most jazz both the solos and rhythm are improvised, but both still always follow the song's chord progression, this is true for some rock bands also:
Joe Pass
early Miles Davis
Led Zeppelin
Kenny Burrell
Grant Green
Neil Young
The Velvet Underground (live)

Finally there's jam bands that still have cohesive songs, but they frequently branch off into completely improvised jams, where all the band follows is a loose tempo and key. The same is true for experimental jazz like Coltrane's later work.

Grateful Dead
Allman Bros
Phish
moe.

Then there's free jazz


I can't recommend Grateful Dead - Live/Dead enough. It's mind blowing.
Last edited by Jimmy94 at Mar 31, 2008,
aetherspear
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#6
^for sure, Live/Dead is one of my top ten albums ever.
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imgooley
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#9
Bebop is based in improv as well. It follows a chord structure, but the solos are improvised. Many of Monk's tunes are based of a simple riff, with many different changes in rhythm and melody. Same goes for Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Another good jam band to check out is Gov't Mule.
andy_woodhead
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#10
Check out Pat Metheny. Bright Size Life is a good start. His sound might be something in the vein of what you're looking for.
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#13
There's a difference between jamming and improvising. Someone like Grateful dead is not improvisation. Late Coltrane, or Supersilent are great improv.

I recommend Supersilent 6.
Jimmy94
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#14
The Grateful Dead are 100% all about improvisation, not only with their playing within songs but also with their set lists. I don't know what kind of wacky definition of improvisation excludes the dead.
THIS ISNT WASCO
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#15
Quote by Jimmy94
The Grateful Dead are 100% all about improvisation, not only with their playing within songs but also with their set lists. I don't know what kind of wacky definition of improvisation excludes the dead.

I guess you could label them as improv....but in my opinion improv is more free than just jamming in 4/4 in a set key.
aetherspear
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#16
The Grateful dead are not 100% improv, however neither is coltrane. Both are very similar, they have basic chord and melody/lyric arrangements, but I doubt either artist ever performed a song the same way twice.
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led/head
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#18
maybe some hendrix, alot of his stuff is improv.
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Nick_
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#19
If coltrane's not your style and you want something more rockin', maybe pick up Davis' Bitches Brew. It was layered together in the studio from a bunch of completely improvised material and is really cool too.
Jimmy94
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#23
I like the grateful dead enough for both of us
Thin Ears
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#24
is davis' bitches brew good enough for $? I saw it in a store the other day, but I got herbie handcock's headhunter album instead...
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Axegrinder#9
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#25
without getting into an argument about improvisation and straight up jamming; and depending upon what your tastes are, here are a few essentially live albums from different genres that might work.

Jam Bands:
1. Umphrey's McGee - Live at St. Andrew's Hall
2. Grateful Dead - Barton Hall, Cornell, Ithaca, '77
3. Ozric Tentacles - Live at the Pongmaster's Ball
4. Phish (I wish I could specifically point out to one particular show)
5. Disco Biscuits - Live at the Starland Ballroom

Jazz Fusion:
1. Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson
2. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
3. Soft Machine (get hold of a live album with Allan Holdsworth)
4. Medeski, Martin, Wood (again you can't go wrong with any of their live albums, though as fair warning, they do go into some improvised sections with marked avant garde tendencies)
5. John McLaughlin - Live at the Royal Albert Hall (with Trilok Gurtu & Kai Eckhardt)
6. Trio of Doom Live
7. Saudades - John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Larry Goldings

finally for all you straight up jazz fans out there, please listen to Keith Jarret
Nick_
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#27
Quote by Thin Ears
is davis' bitches brew good enough for $? I saw it in a store the other day, but I got herbie handcock's headhunter album instead...


Yes.


Also, to the good fellow who mentioned Jarrett, also yes ... go pick up the Koln concert, it's excellent.
SRV99
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#28
I'd add Live At Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers Band. Memory of Elizabeth Reed, You Don't Love Me, Mountain Jam, and Whipping Post all have extended improvisation sections in them. Duane's solo in whipping post is friggin' incredible...
The Derek Trucks Band, Gov't Mule, Phis, String Cheese Incident, Moe., and of course The Greatful Dead also do a lot of improve.
For jazz check out basically anyone. More of the popular improvisers include Coltrane, Davis Monk... I would also advise you to check out keith jarrett, he is a jazz piano player who comes up with songs off the top of his head that sound amazing
HoneyFUZZ_123
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#29
All of Wes Montgomery's stuff is worth checking out, his playing style is amazing


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dividedsky
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#30
For creative guitar improv get into jambands:

Great starts would be:
Phish, Umphrey's Mcgee, The Breakfast, or the Disco Biscuits

But there's a lot out there for even more improvisation... i.e. free jazz, Check out some of Dave Douglass' albums. He's a modern trumpet player but it's good stuff (although maybe not the best intro to jazz).
ledhed68
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#33
If you're going to listen to jambands, don't waste your time on anything other than Phish, Grateful Dead (but there are some terrible dead shows so watch out) and the Allman Brothers.
Dream Pin
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#34
Otomo Yoshihide, Bill Laswell, Yoshida Tatsuya - Episome
Otomo Yoshihide, Bill laswell, Yoshigaki Yasuhiro - Soup
Painkiller - Execution Ground
Massacre - Meltdown (i'm pretty sure this is improvised.)

And to those getting all uppity about differences between jamming and improvising, you're a bunch of fascists and need to lighten up. Jamming is improvising and improvising is jamming.
smartguyreviews
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#35
how can you guys talk about free jazz and not mention ornette coleman
he has an album called Free Jazz: A collective improvisation which features a double quartet. one hell of an album. 40-some minute improv. mind-blowing
David Sertl
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#36
Miles Davis- Kind Of Blue is a must.


Yup. It's a Jazz classic, and it is mostly improvising. In fact, the way they improvise on that album was a huge influence on the whole Jazz scene.