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Courtney Pine

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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12,953
Went to see him last night. I bought the ticket months ago when I was pleasantly surprised to see him listed at a little club over the hill from me. Hebden Bridge Trades Club. I've not been before. It's a cozy small venue.

When the first number ended and the band stopped playing we were treated to a repetetive phrase on sop for 2 or 3 minutes showcasing his circular breathing. I know he can play but a demonstration of technical ability wasn't why I was there. I was hoping for something more musical. As they continued I was coming to the conclusion that the sound man must have been deaf. The bass drowned out the whole band. Couldn't hear the drums at all. Courtney kept looking up to the gallery and looking at his sop. It should have been a great night and I waited to see if things were going to improve, but they didn't. I left after half an hour. What a disappointment.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
we were treated to a repetetive phrase on sop for 2 or 3 minutes showcasing his circular breathing.
He did that when I saw him twenty something years ago. It struck me as a gimmick then. Evan Parker does it better. Concert was very good though.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,751
So sorry you didn't enjoy it, Kenny G did the same thing re his circular breathing, like you, I found it boring and annoying but the rest of his concert was good.

Jeff Beck on the other hand on Monday was a less than pleasing experience and we left early.

Jx
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,231
Saw him a few times years ago and thought he was an excellent player but his music demanding to listen to.
Never been impressed by circular breathing,its more of a gimmick to my ears.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,432
I went to see him some years back in Croydon and, as I noted in another thread about him once, the evening was ultimately a huge disappointment. He started off with an imperious entrance, playing soprano, but as the evening went on he invited up a load of rappers and beat boxers from the audience. I went to see him, not a bunch of amateurs making silly noises.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,778
Sound men, like all nerds, need an eye (ear?) kept on them. All to often they seem more interesting in getting the most out of the equipment... maybe they are all deaf? Great at twiddling all the dials, though...

I well remember with my ex-wife having to listen to Jools Holland with our fingers in our ears - and we were well away from the stage.

She was eight months pregnant at the time and swore that baby was moving to the beat... he still likes Jools Holland...

Does no-one think of sending someone with a full complement of ears out into the auditorium before unleashing all those decibells on the audience or checking for balance? As for pubs - they should sell earplugs as well as beer and crisps.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,432
One of my sons did sound engineering at uni (he's not a nerd). He worked with all sorts of people in all sorts of places before he left the business. Given a free hand a professional engineer will spend a long time getting the balance as good a possible setting delays, ensuring clarity etc. However, there's often very little time with the actual musicians at a gig beforehand and, ultimately, if the producers or the band want it a particular way, that's what you have to do. I think in most pubs sound engineering means just turn it up loud but don't blow the fuses.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,356
Does no-one think of sending someone with a full complement of ears out into the auditorium before unleashing all those decibells on the audience or checking for balance? As for pubs - they should sell earplugs as well as beer and crisps.
apparently not - in a lot of venues with their own PA system the mixing desk is situated somewhere at the back in a corner and often the sound in that part of the room is atypical for how it is in the rest of the room - bass in particular reaches it's maximum amplitude in the middle of the room due to the long wavelengths involved.
I've encountered a lot of decent sound engineers who were well aware that you had to walk around the audience area to get a good idea of the sound as the audience would hear it, but I've also encountered some cloth eared idiots who seemed to think that everything should sound like a death metal band.

As for Mr Pine, for a man who likes to go on about his early years playing in funk and reggae bands, he seems to have little idea how to swing - the stuff he did with hip hop musicians failed because he can't seem to get with the groove and just seems to emit streams of notes without listening to what the others are doing. Showing off technique, regardless of musical context, is boring even for the sax players in the audience.
Some people I've encountered think circular breathing is amazing (they're also impressed by bass clarinets) irrespective of whether it benefits the music or not. Sweating a lot and waving your sax around while playing are also crowd pleasing indicators of greatness.
There are times when I think that all tenor players should have their Coltrane surgically removed and replaced by Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,410
Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it Colin I thought it had happened ages ago sounds like it must have been dreadful ...john
ps I wonder if my tutor went along he lives out that way I might give him a bell to find out
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,331
My sax tech Bryce saw him recently in Edinburgh playing a Coltrane tribute with the Scottish Jazz Orchestra. It was the most indigestible wall of notes he's had the misfortune of sitting through and 1/2 the audience left at interval. The woman sitting next to him sat with her fingers in her ears throughout

Bryce was talking with an Orchestra trumpeter afterwards who said his score was a few bars of notes followed by a limitless void labelled 'improvisation' (i.e. Courtney). Courney himself complimented the Ochestra leader on allowing him to do a particular number that no-one else lets him do... presumably because everyone knows it's utterly unlistentooable
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
619
Loads of "sound" men are deaf, makes you wonder how they ever got the job. All very well doing a sound check but everything changes when bodies start to pack the empty room. I knew one engineer who found the accoustics at Camden Palace were changed out of all proportion when one of the doors to the Gents was open. He installed a helper to keep it closed while his band played.
I'm all for having decibel meters that cut off the sound system before ears start bleeding.
 

Plod

Member
Messages
148
Sound men, like all nerds, need an eye (ear?) kept on them. All to often they seem more interesting in getting the most out of the equipment... maybe they are all deaf? Great at twiddling all the dials, though...

I well remember with my ex-wife having to listen to Jools Holland with our fingers in our ears - and we were well away from the stage.

She was eight months pregnant at the time and swore that baby was moving to the beat... he still likes Jools Holland...

Does no-one think of sending someone with a full complement of ears out into the auditorium before unleashing all those decibells on the audience or checking for balance? As for pubs - they should sell earplugs as well as beer and crisps.
They do, Peanuts!
 

majordennis

Senior Member
Messages
486
I have not been for a couple of years but I have made a couple of trips to this club, great venue, as Colin says very cosy and last time I was there a really good selection of beverage, while waiting to be served at the bar the bloke at the side of me indicated to the barstaff that it was my turn next, when I turned to thank him it turned out to be Snake Davis and we chatted while my drinks arrived, what a nice bloke, I've been to quite a few of his gigs and never come away disappointed.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
There are times when I think that all tenor players should have their Coltrane surgically removed and replaced by Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins
I know what you mean but I'd rather listen to Coltrane than Young or Hawkins. I can't play like any of those three so I don't regard it as a problem myself. :)
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,584
Courtney Pine's (at times) displays of 'technique overkill' raise an interesting issue. I remember a discussion in the shop ages ago that started something like this... one of the guys brought up the subject of advanced substitution and put forward the following worry "a year ago I heard ... insert specific esoteric player here.... and it sounded bloody awful. Now I've studied it and 'get it' , I even use some techniques myself..... this worries me".... interesting point,
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
My sax tech Bryce saw him recently in Edinburgh playing a Coltrane tribute with the Scottish Jazz Orchestra. It was the most indigestible wall of notes he's had the misfortune of sitting through and 1/2 the audience left at interval. The woman sitting next to him sat with her fingers in her ears throughout
Presumably not listened to much Coltrane then.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,943
Courtney Pine's (at times) displays of 'technique overkill' raise an interesting issue. I remember a discussion in the shop ages ago that started something like this... one of the guys brought up the subject of advanced substitution and put forward the following worry "a year ago I heard ... insert specific esoteric player here.... and it sounded bloody awful. Now I've studied it and 'get it' , I even use some techniques myself..... this worries me".... interesting point,
I don't know that you necessarily have to study it. I'd have thought that listening to enough might do it. I have neither the technique nor the intellectual capacity to do this advanced stuff but I can appreciate, at least on a gut level, someone who can. I have no idea what they're doing but I like the sound of it.
 

Jonners

Member
Messages
140
Most people seem to be in agreement with the original post. I'm no exception. Saw him on the Isle of Wight last year - not a happy experience. It is very rare for me not to buy a cd after a performance - if only to support the musicians - but I simply couldn't imagine ever listening to that stuff again.
Also totally agree with the comments about Jules Holland and his sound. Again on the Isle of Wight (OK so it was at the ice rink which is a crap venue for music but the only place big enough) - the sound was horrendous and seemed to get racked up as the night wore on. All musical appreciation beaten into submission - couldn't even hear some fantastic sax solos. I retreated to somewhere near the exit for a break half way though and the noise was just as bad with a bass thud which was detectable as a physical pain in the solar plexus.
Never again Messrs Pine and Holland. Maybe that's what peeps want but my hearing is failing quickly enough without any extra help.
By way of contrast we had the pleasure recently of seeing and hearing the wonderful Clare Teale. What a treat...! If you don't know her stuff then do look out for her - you won't be disappointed (except for the absence of any saxes)
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,331
I tried to like Courtney Pine as a yoof but he simply didn't ring my bell

Maybe the comments about technical ability but a lack of musical ear illustrate what I didn't like but I won't be going back to find out
 
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