However, I believe that once a player has a foundation, and is somewhat experienced, then it's time to figure out how to get to the next level. And in some ways, the next level is how to set oneself apart from the crowd. I think this applies to life in general, depending on your ambition. History is filled with successful people who weren't afraid to "break the rules" and "think outside the box". The great writers, painters, inventors, and scientists have all tried to push the limits of what is known. Are we encouraging young musicians to do this?
When I was first learning about jazz, I was once advised that jazz players who sounded "out" were actually playing "very inside". What he meant by this is that an advanced player can manipulate the dissonances (as related to each chord of a song) at will, as long as he is relevant to the changes.(You can also relate this to rhythm and harmony.)But I think even advanced players can get bogged down in the typical traps of chord-scales, bebop cliches, and so on. So how does one get out of it? Well, if we understand the notes in the scale, why not isolate the notes NOT in the scale, and really get to know how they sound against the chord. For example, if the chord is D minor 7, then the chord scale tones are D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D. The notes that are "not" in the chord are Eb,Gb,Ab,Bb,Db. Instead of thinking of these as dissonances, why not start on one of the notes in the latter group? (I used to call this an "opposite" scale, but I question that nomenclature.)
Furthermore, once you get comfortable with the "wrong" notes on a scale, you might want to see how the "wrong" shapes, patterns, or triads work over chords. For example, can you play a Bb minor triad over a E minor chord and resolve it? Or take a C#triad over a F major chord, and resolve it to a C# diminished chord, and THEN resolve to a "correct" note in the F major chord. Hopefully, you can see that the sky is the limit if you want to try unexpected sounds over a chord progression.
Rhythmically, this philosophy can work as well. If you can play WITH the groove, why not play AGAINST the groove to create tension and interest? Hopefully, you won't lose your place, but experiment with staggered triplets, or playing purposely behind the beat. If you do it with a sense of tension and resolution, you will be surprised at how useful this approach can be. Some players, like Gary Bartz, or Joe Henderson, or even Trane and Bird, sound like they are playing rubato over the groove. And it sounds perfectly natural.
|Stravinsky, although I don't think he was arrested for wrong notes......|
This is related to why I love to play wrong notes. In creative music, the consequences of playing the "wrong" or "shocking" notes are so much less than if you were to do something "shocking" in your life. Doing something "wrong" can bring attention to what you are doing. On the bandstand, you will get musicians to take an interest in what you are playing. In life, you might go to jail, or you'll lose all your money, or die of a drug overdose. So save the "risk taking" for the bandstand, if you can....