Feel

(Good) feel is something I would define as a certain quality some players have (or had, for those no longer around) that makes their music groove and breathe and everything they play feels solid, like they really, really mean it, and like it couldn't be played any other way. I think it's certainly related to technique, but goes beyond mere rhythmic and technical precision. It's also almost an attitude. Some players that I feel have this quality in abundance are: Mike Stern, Clint Strong, Mike Brecker, Pat Metheny (in a slightly subtler way, perhaps), and the all time king of them all, Jaco Pastorius. This groove/feel/attitude thing is something I make a conscious effort to have but I feel like I often come off going for it, screw it up and sound worse than I would if I hadn't tried. Yet I feel this compulsion to go on with it and keep plugging away.


A Voice / Technique / Feel / Spreading Myself Too Thin
Sounds / Getting Nervous / Guitar / Introduction


As I mentioned in the introduction, the essay was written several years ago (during the summer of 1996). Since that time I feel like a lot of my questions and frustrations have begun to resolve themselves, almost without any conscious effort on my part. I don't know if it was the influence of Mick Goodrick, what he had to say, or simply the fact that I wrote out all these thoughts and was able to discuss them with someone who had been more or less down the same road already, but soon after my lesson with him I felt like I began to see things a lot more clearly, and really DID stop worrying so much about "when will I find my own voice" or "am I talented/good enough to even be trying to do this music/jazz thing?" When I go back and read the things I wrote I find that the answers to most of the questions I was asking fall somewhere in the middle of the possibilities I speculated about, and that again, time and patience seem to have a way of making everything fall imperceptibly into focus.