|By Infrogmation of New Orleans, |
via Wikimedia Commons
In a 9/05 Guitar Player magazine article, Mike Stern was talking about some guitarists getting all excited about playing with a horn player because they can haul out all their chord inversions. He basically takes a less-is-more stance:
"When I'm comping and I'm deciding which chords to play, a lot of times I'll play the least amount of notes possible…I'm often playing no more than two notes from each chord."
I've been in situations where:
- in a 7 piece band, everyone was playing multi note triads--the guitarist was playing a 5 note triad, the keyboard added a 7 note triad, etc. There was no sense of anything but a close chord voicing because every note was played in all the octaves starting from the root.
- the backing vocal harmonies were louder than the lead vocals, and the harmonists were not listening to the phrasing being used by the lead vocalist, a situation I call "lead harmony."
- an instrument would play the melody along with the vocals, so like the lead harmony situation, there were two competing interpretations for the phrasing
- people playing "their part" when there are substitute players who don't know about, and aren't playing, the counterpoint that makes "their part" fit
Some situations that I like being in are the opposite:
- a 7 piece band playing 5 note chords, each person taking one note and 2 people playing rests
- 2 people playing 4 and 5 note chords as stacked chords. For example, a C maj7 chord can be played as a C triad and an Emin chord. This idea can also be applied if you let the bass take the roots, and you play the upper parts of a rootless chord.
- taking the above idea for creating solos in a band setting where the chords are triads and 7ths. With the backing tracks playing the chord, build a solo on arpeggios that add the upper end--the 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, 13ths.
- people that aren't afraid to play rests.