Johnny sent me a YT clip featuring Denny Dias playing a guitar solo across an early version of a Steely Dan recording. It was great, listening to him roll across the chord changes, just barely keeping up. And it was the ‘just barely’ that made the whole thing so enjoyable.
I’m not a jazz player, and though I love jazz music, it’s not for me, playing-wise. It’s all a bit ‘chamber music’ and self-referential.
Give me Neil Young’s shambolic opening to Oh Susannah any day of the week – it takes the drummer twenty seconds to find the right groove, and the rest of the band don’t make it to the party until almost a minute in. And it’s magic.
The only time I’ve ever ‘played across changes’ in a jazz style was when I did a wedding gig with Ralph and he had the band playing standards. When it came to my solos he’d sit next to me whispering ‘Ab, Bm, D#’ or whatever and I just clicked into whichever scale he told me.
Got to admit, it was great fun.