×

 

VOTI - voices of the industry

LIAM NOBLE’S ADVICE FOR JAZZ STUDENTS #8: H IS FOR HARMONY

 

 

Harmony drives me crazy.

 

My ambition was, and is, to be the least “harmonic” pianist in jazz. I like to see chord changes as a rhythmic sequence: whilst standard songs like “Body and Soul” are originally like a kind of simplified Da Capo aria (discuss), we are not dealing with Mozart anymore, wonderful though he (mostly) is.

 

The old fashioned aria sets up a “situation”, creates tension in the middle, comes back to the beginning with some kind of sense of resolution and…stops. Jazz takes that structure and loops it, a slow burn that gets more intense as it goes, as it goes nowhere, but just sits better and better in the same place. There’s no arc, no learning.

 

In a jazz sequence, a chord is therefore partly a rhythmic moment, the intensity of which varies depending on its position in the form. It’s like a big crotchet. When Sonny Rollins overlaps the harmony between one chord and another on, for example, his solo on “Tune Up”, he is syncopating.

 

I think harmony is a material, it’s not the structural, fundamental element it’s often seen as, but is rather absorbed into the rhythmic structure. This opened a lot of doors for me; it also explained why half of my record collection doesn’t relate to harmonic theory at all. And yet, it’s an invaluable and sophisticated tool. I’m not anti harmony in the same way I’m not anti garlic, but there’s a difference between the garnish and the main dish.

 

Harmony is a beautiful jewel box full of glittering premonitions. Harmonic theory is an invitation to create, but it’s not the finished piece. Harmony runs out, reaching both a critical aural density and a finite number of configurations. Melody and rhythm are infinitely variable: whatever flexibility harmony has, it’s completely reliant on melody and rhythm.

 

Take an idea. Play it, play it again, play it with a change, repeat these three steps, then play it with another change, make that the new idea, repeat, leave space, then repeat all this. Once you can feel the music this way, harmonic savvy will both intensify it and refine its curves.

 

That’s where the party’s at.

 


 

about Liam Noble

After studying music at Oxford University, and jazz at the Guildhall in London, Liam Noble started to build a reputation of note playing with Stan Sulzmann, Anita Wardell, John Stevens and Harry Beckett. His first CD, a solo entitled “Close Your Eyes” was released in 1994, and contained a mix of standards, originals and improvisations. This mixture of approaches has characterized his music ever since.

 

In 1997 he joined the Bobby Wellins Quartet, the rhythm section of which continues today as the Liam Noble Trio, recently documented on the 2009 CD “BRUBECK”, gaining an almost unprecedented 5 star review in The Guardian.

 

In 2001, “In The Meantime”, released on Basho Records, explored longer compositional forms and unorthodox improvisational structures, and April 2002 saw a commission from Birmingham Jazz resulting in a song cycle based on Japanese Death Poetry. Noble plays keyboards and samples throughout, marking a new foray into electronica inspired by artists such as Aphex Twin and Arto Lindsay.

 

In 2004, following a Cheltenham Festival gig the previous year, Liam recorded the acclaimed “Romance Among The Fishes” on Basho Records with guitarist Phil Robson and the New York rhythm section of Drew Gress and Tom Rainey on bass and drums respectively.

 

Liam’s working relationship has continued with Tom Rainey in the free improv trio, “Sleepthief” with Ingrid Laubrock, with an album released in September 2008, and a second, “The Madness Of Crowds” in 2011. Other frequent collaborators have included Christine Tobin, Paul Clarvis and Julian Siegel. His growing reputation as a free improviser has also resulted in recent performances with Mary Halverson, Marc Ducret, Mat Maneri, Evan Parker, Okkyung Lee and Peter Evans.

 

In June 2011 he was featured on a recording by Zhenya Strigalev with Larry Grenadier, Tim LeFebvre and Eric Harland. His newest project is an expanded trio with Chris Batchelor and Shabaka Hutchings. As a kind of summation of the diverse areas in which he works combined with a compositional eye for structure, this new group was highly praised at its premiere performance at the Cheltenham Jazz festival in 2012.’

 

His newest recording is a solo CD, due for release in early 2015 on Basho Records, which features an eclectic mix of improvisations, as well as versions of music by Edward Elgar, Joe Zawinul and Rodgers and Hammerstein.

 

Liam holds posts as Lecturer in Jazz at Birmingham Conservatoire and Trinity College of Music. He has published 4 volumes of transcriptions of the Bill Evans Trio, and a book of original compositions “Jazz Piano; An In Depth Look at the Styles of the Masters”, both published by Hal Leonard.

 

Liam Noble’s website

1. CONNECTSMUSIC MICROSITE SUPERLINK
FREE personalised Microsite with flexible ‘super-smart’ URL
Your customised music link-in-bio
The only music link you need
Your online music sales, streaming, and identity all in one place
2. HOW TO
Click on ‘Create Artist Microsite'
No coding or design skills needed
Free quick and easy to create
Connects to directory where everyone can find you
Be shared on ConnectsMusic features and social media
3. SHARE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
The perfect PR support
Connect audiences to all your music with one flexible sharable link
Select a music release, click 'share button' to auto-copy
Share your SUPERLINK URL to all online platforms featuring your selection
Your audience can enjoy your featured sounds, then click outside selection to explore all your additional music, videos and bio on your Microsite
ConnectsMusic Industry Support, Gigs, Features:

Brian Jonestown Massacre

 
Feb 7, 2023
  Riverside Newcastle

Sticky Fingers

 
Feb 18, 2023
  Alexandra Palace

Inside Out – Hannah Horton Quartet

 
Jan 18, 2023
  Pizza Express Jazz Club

Gong + Ozric Tentacles

 
Nov 29, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Blossoms

 
Nov 29, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

RACHEL PODGER

 
Dec 15, 2022
  Barbican

GreenMatthews Gaudete – candlelit concert at Stapleford Granary

 
Dec 14, 2022
  Stapleford Granary Arts Centre

Robert Mitchell and True Think

 
Dec 14, 2022
  The Lescar Hotel

SUNSHINE ANDERSON

 
Jan 15, 2023
  The Jazz Cafe

NINE BELOW ZERO

 
Dec 1, 2022
  The Cavern Club Liverpool

Nohun

 
Dec 7, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Sea Girls

 
Dec 1, 2022
  Alexandra Palace

Filomena Campus Quartet | Sirens’ Song | with Steve Lodder, Rod Youngs, Charlie Pyne

 
Nov 30, 2022
  PizzaExpress Live Soho

BRONWEN LEWIS

 
Apr 9, 2023
  The Glee Club Cardiff

Nuadha Quartet

 
Dec 17, 2022
  Llanwarne Village Hall

Isobella Burnham

 
Dec 2, 2022
  Jazzlive at The Crypt

Natasha Watts

 
Apr 7, 2023
  Bush Hall

Late Night Jazz: ISQ

 
Dec 8, 2022
  Royal Albert Hall

Onyx Brass – Candle lit Concert Stapleford Granary

 
Dec 13, 2022
  Stapleford Granary Arts Centre

Grace Campbell

 
Mar 11, 2023
  Alexandra Palace

Ahmed Fakroun

 
Feb 19, 2023
  The Jazz Cafe

Black Belt Eagle Scout

 
Feb 24, 2023
  Night & Day

APRIL MOON + The Jesse Janes

 
Nov 29, 2022
  The Jacaranda Club Liverpool

Lious Berry

 
Dec 20, 2022
  Night & Day Cafe

Grant-Lee Phillips

 
Dec 7, 2022
  Bush Hall

Senses: A BLUES100 Live Experience

 
Feb 17, 2023
  The Jazz Cafe

Jamz Supernova (All Night Long)

 
Dec 2, 2022
  The Jazz Cafe

Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forges Dingwall Alldayer

 
Dec 11, 2022
  Lafayette, London

Music for Awhile – Candlelit Concert at Stapleford Granary

 
Dec 12, 2022
  Stapleford Granary Arts Centre

Christmas with the Salvation Army

 
Dec 7, 2022
  Royal Albert Hall

GOAT + Special Guest

 
Apr 16, 2023
  The Mill

Clutch

 
Dec 14, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Pierce the Veil

 
Dec 9, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Jazz In The Round: A Gift For Ukraine

 
Dec 5, 2022
  The Cockpit

Dirty Honey

 
Jan 24, 2023
  The Garage

Faye Patton Nu Jazz Quartet + DJ After Party

 
Dec 3, 2022
  Temple of Art and Music (TAM)

Christmas with Katherine Jenkins

 
Dec 8, 2022
  Royal Albert Hall

Jocelyn Brown

 
Jan 20, 2023
  The Jazz Cafe

Carly Rae Jepsen

 
Feb 23, 2023
  Alexandra Palace

InMe & Raging Speedhorn

 
Dec 2, 2022
  The Garage

Francis Dunnery

 
Jan 22, 2023
  Bush Hall

Barbara Tinoco

 
Jan 11, 2023
  The Jazz Cafe

KARNIVOOL

 
Feb 4, 2023
  Riverside Newcastle

The Hermes Experiment & Shiva Feshareki

 
Jan 26, 2023
  Barbican

JESCA HOOP

 
Dec 6, 2022
  The Glee Club Birmingham

Kehlani

 
Dec 10, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Cassyette

 
Mar 16, 2023
  Riverside Newcastle

Placebo

 
Dec 8, 2022
  O2 Academy Birmingham

Lisa T

 
Feb 16, 2023
  Night & Day Cafe

Sleep Token

 
Jan 17, 2023
  O2 Academy Birmingham
Artists Connects Pages
artists
venue
media
What's On
live and streamed
Industry Nuggets
Top Tips
Info you need to know
VOTI
features
Interviews with Heavy Hitters
Watch & Listen
Features
selected music and videos
by creators for creators and their audience - music community at its core