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All That Jazz


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#1 GG Morrison

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Posted 26 January 2012 - 08:12 PM

One thing I've been wondering about when I hear songs from "The Soft Parade" is why the band suddenly changed direction with adding jazzy arrangements and stuff and got away from their then-signature psychedelic sound. What instigated this change? Did Jim become a big Sinatra fan just before it became time for the next album? I've never read anything much from Ray's book--that I recall--that really went into this. I don't have the album so I don't have liner notes to read or anything. Who did the arrangements for the horns and all the extras they added to the basic 3-piece line-up?

I do think it was a bold thing to do, though I understand Rothchild was not too "jazzed" about it. ;)

#2 Defiance

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:45 AM

One thing I've been wondering about when I hear songs from "The Soft Parade" is why the band suddenly changed direction with adding jazzy arrangements and stuff and got away from their then-signature psychedelic sound. What instigated this change? Did Jim become a big Sinatra fan just before it became time for the next album? I've never read anything much from Ray's book--that I recall--that really went into this. I don't have the album so I don't have liner notes to read or anything. Who did the arrangements for the horns and all the extras they added to the basic 3-piece line-up?

I do think it was a bold thing to do, though I understand Rothchild was not too "jazzed" about it. ;)

The reason The Doors did it is because it was what needed to be done. At that time in 1969, Jazz-Rock as well as Fusion (Rock-Jazz) were both popular with the crowd who wanted more than just a pop hit. The Doors saw what Traffic, Blood-Sweat & Tears, Chicago, etc... were doing with Jazz-Rock... putting Jazz instrumentation with a Rock band.

We must look at what Jazz really is. For me and many others, Jazz has to be improvised, meaning that there is a melody that is first stated, but after that it is up to you to create the real Jazz through improvisation. When The Doors brought in the saxophonist for 'Touch Me', they were in fact doing true Jazz-Rock and something that a regular Jazz fan could enjoy. The concept for the album was the jazzy elements, but they miss the mark a little and it is likely due to time constraints and Jim being over-worked and therefore needing to drink and take drugs in order to relax.

I don't know what you mean by 'psychedelic' in regards to music since 'psychedelic' is purely visual. A listener can experience a psychedelic effect when listening to The Doors and taking LSD or mushrooms, but The Doors themselves did not put any 'psychedelic' sounds or effect into the music. It is just 4 guys playing their instruments.

Could it be that you are imagining "their then-signature psychedelic sound" simply due to that 60s time period? If they recorded that music today, would that word still be used? I think not. Vintage is what I like..... the 1966/1967 sound off the first two albums.

Not until 'Sgt. Peppers' did the music go beyond just what a band was playing and did now include 'sounds' for the sake of having 'sounds'. Jim and The Doors never went down that particular path, though once Pink Floyd created 'Dark Side' years later, The Doors may have attempted something like that had Jim been around..... and perhaps they did to an extent on 'An America Prayer' use 'sounds' as a key element, as sort of a way of giving you physical settings through aural suggestion to go along with Jim's words.

Some of Sinatra's work was not improvisation, so therefore it is not Jazz. It certainly is not Be Bop, but much of it is closer to Big Band which itself is a type of Jazz and may include an improvised section that a lead soloist would take. If you consider Frank's singing as satisfying the improv requirement, then you can say it is Jazz. Billie Holiday put it best when she said that she never sang a song the same way twice.

I tend to think that The Doors were more influenced by Be Bop, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Fusion, and really early Jazz that was itself mainly Blues, less than being influenced by Frank Sinatra. There is nothing in Frank's instrumentation musically that would make Ray, Robby, or John go nuts. The Doors might look more to Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis as well as John Coltrane for inspiration.

Edited by Defiance, 01 February 2012 - 08:59 AM.


#3 GG Morrison

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:15 AM

The reason The Doors did it is because it was what needed to be done. At that time in 1969, Jazz-Rock as well as Fusion (Rock-Jazz) were both popular with the crowd who wanted more than just a pop hit. The Doors saw what Traffic, Blood-Sweat & Tears, Chicago, etc... were doing with Jazz-Rock... putting Jazz instrumentation with a Rock band.

We must look at what Jazz really is. For me and many others, Jazz has to be improvised, meaning that there is a melody that is first stated, but after that it is up to you to create the real Jazz through improvisation. When The Doors brought in the saxophonist for 'Touch Me', they were in fact doing true Jazz-Rock and something that a regular Jazz fan could enjoy. The concept for the album was the jazzy elements, but they miss the mark a little and it is likely due to time constraints and Jim being over-worked and therefore needing to drink and take drugs in order to relax.

I don't know what you mean by 'psychedelic' in regards to music since 'psychedelic' is purely visual. A listener can experience a psychedelic effect when listening to The Doors and taking LSD or mushrooms, but The Doors themselves did not put any 'psychedelic' sounds or effect into the music. It is just 4 guys playing their instruments.

Could it be that you are imagining "their then-signature psychedelic sound" simply due to that 60s time period? If they recorded that music today, would that word still be used? I think not. Vintage is what I like..... the 1966/1967 sound off the first two albums.

Not until 'Sgt. Peppers' did the music go beyond just what a band was playing and did now include 'sounds' for the sake of having 'sounds'. Jim and The Doors never went down that particular path, though once Pink Floyd created 'Dark Side' years later, The Doors may have attempted something like that had Jim been around..... and perhaps they did to an extent on 'An America Prayer' use 'sounds' as a key element, as sort of a way of giving you physical settings through aural suggestion to go along with Jim's words.

Some of Sinatra's work was not improvisation, so therefore it is not Jazz. It certainly is not Be Bop, but much of it is closer to Big Band which itself is a type of Jazz and may include an improvised section that a lead soloist would take. If you consider Frank's singing as satisfying the improv requirement, then you can say it is Jazz. Billie Holiday put it best when she said that she never sang a song the same way twice.

I tend to think that The Doors were more influenced by Be Bop, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Fusion, and really early Jazz that was itself mainly Blues, less than being influenced by Frank Sinatra. There is nothing in Frank's instrumentation musically that would make Ray, Robby, or John go nuts. The Doors might look more to Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis as well as John Coltrane for inspiration.

I will return to our discussion ONE of these days, Defiance, hang in there! :)

#4 mizscarlett43

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:32 PM

I will return to our discussion ONE of these days, Defiance, hang in there! :)


GG. please please don't feed the troll. How can you possibly take seriously someone who claims that

"I don't know what you mean by 'psychedelic' in regards to music since 'psychedelic' is purely visual."


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Pink Floyd

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Strange Days
I still believe in the Cosmic Giggle, even if Rolling Stone doesn't any more.

#5 GG Morrison

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:00 PM

Well, I'll leave it open to anyone who has an idea. If we go off on one of those conservative/liberal/Obama/Jesus/etc-types of tangents, then I'll probably lose interest and will not revisit this topic again, and then the thread will die a death, like most of mine do, anyway.



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