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--- Apr 02 2013 Go to category
Subject: Good time feel
Category: Improvisation/Soloing
From: Matthew Na (Korea)

Dear Pat, I’m an young Jazz guitarist still learning alot. I always wanted to ask you about time. As I listen to music more and more , I’ve found that each players have their own time feel. Not just jazz players but any other music players. I have been struggled for many years to get good time feel. But I do think just good time cannot move people. When I’m listening to your music Pat, I really feel you got something special time which is a bit behind from middle. And that sounds great. Of course, many other great musicians have their own great time feel which are good enough to move people. But I want to ask you how you get this subtle time feel. I think you really dig down about time since you were young. I’ve been improved alot by listening to my own recordings which can help me to see my time more objectively. I want to know your case and any practice method. Or any thoughts what you are thinking about this matter.

Pat’s Answer:

Hi Matthew, I have always felt that having good time and a good feel is far and away the most important aspect of what makes a musician compelling to listen to. It isn't fun to listen to or play with someone who doesn't groove. There are musicians who have all kinds of advanced harmonic fluency and lots of chops, but have a hard time playing a convincing idea with a deep connection to time. I like how you use reference the idea of "moving people". Without a deep pocket of some kind, it is rare that music achieves that kind of connection. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by taping yourself and especially by being aware of how critical this issue is. To me, a note that is not placed right with the rhythm section or in the context of the music that is being presented is the same as if it is a big giant clam (a wrong note). I hear people kind of letting it go as if it is fine to be way ahead or behind or all over the place. Step one is to be aware of how it is all feeling. Playing with a metronome or a drum machine or sequencer is a good thing - but the best is to play with other people who have good time feels, particularly drummers. It is certainly something that you can work on. Pretty much everyone at every level has plenty of work to do in this department - myself included. Thanks for writing in.