Artificial Intelligence and jazz?

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote a post on an artificial intelligence called Chat GPT. In it, I asked the AI questions about playing jazz. A few people took issue with the answers, as they were not what you might get from the world’s foremost authority on jazz. But those who took the time to correct every detail of the answers missed the point. What was impressive was not that it would know exactly the perfect scale to play over a F7 b9, but that it could know enough about the subject to provide a reasonable answer at all. After all, this was a machine!

One year and significant advances in technology later, I’ve created my own GPT dedicated to jazz that is truly amazing.

Using an AI developed by my Computer Science major son Cooper, we transcribed every interview I conducted through my Jazz Master Summit event in 2020/2021. I then added every word spoken throughout those interviews into a massive database that the AI would reference as its brain or store of knowledge. I also added every word from my books with Richie Beirach and Dave Liebman as well as some recorded video conversations I had with them.

Throughout these past few years, I’ve recorded several conversations with Richie that were either turned into books, articles, or just videos sitting on my hard drives. I’ve included all of that. In all, the database for what I am calling the Music Savvy Chat is nearly 1 million words.

Think of it this way: it’s as if a super genius listened to every word of the 75 hours of interviews, read all the material I put together with Richie and Lieb, and can now in an instant recall every detail in order to answer questions on playing jazz from the perspective of each of these jazz masters. It’s as if one can now have a conversation with the collective knowledge and experience captured by these jazz greats.

In case you’ve forgotten or didn’t participate in the Summit, the musicians included in my GPT (the interviews) are: Adam Nussbaum, Allan Chase, Anton Schwartz, Aubrey Logan, Barry Green, Bill Riechenbach, Bob McChesney, Bobby Ferrazza, Bobby Shew, Brian Camelio, Charles McPherson, Conrad Herwig, Dave Cool, Dave Liebman, David Amram, Dennis Rowland, Fred Wesley, George Cables, George Schuller, Ignacio Berroa, Ingrid Jensen, Jamey Aebersold, Jim Pugh, Joe LaBarbera, Joe Lavano, Joe Magnarelli, Karl Latham, Laurie Antonioli, LeeAnn Ledgerwood, Lenny White, Lew Tabackin, Lewis Nash, Mark Egan, Pete Levin, Phil Markowitz, Ran Blake, Randy Brecker, Richie Beirach, Rob Arbittier, Dr. Rodney Brim, Ron Carter, Ron McClure, Rufus Reid, Russell Schmidt, Sheila Jordon, Dr. Steve Demby, Steve Swallow, Ted Nash, & Toshiko Akiyoshi.

What can you do with all of this?
Well, ask it a question. Now realize that I only want it to draw from those 1 million words, not from the internet, as normal Chat GPT does. So I wrote guardrails into it for that purpose. I tested it by asking who Taylor Swift was. Music Savvy Chat replied that that was beyond what it knew. Perfect!
Why does it matter? Because I purposefully crafted my interviews and topics for my books to gather information that was unique (and I believe better and more nuanced) that the standard knowledge. Plus, none of this material is publicly available online so Chat GPT cannot draw from it. Remember that the dataset for Chat GPT is the entirety of the Internet. That’s very big but certainly not the whole of human knowledge. My interviews and books are not publicly available on the internet.
Let’s look at one example. I asked, who wrote Nardis? The normal Chat GPT that access the entirety of the Internet responded with:


The jazz tune “Nardis” was written by Miles Davis. It was famously recorded and popularized by pianist Bill Evans, but the composition was written by Miles Davis.

Here’s the answer Music Savvy Chat provided to that exact same question:

The authorship of the song “Nardis” is a topic of controversy and ambiguity. Although it is generally stated that Miles Davis wrote “Nardis,” this notion is met with skepticism.

For instance, Richie Beirach expresses disbelief in this claim, citing the complexity and structure of the tune, which he feels is uncharacteristic of Davis’s known compositions. Beirach speculates that the real composer might have been someone else, possibly Bill, as “Nardis” seems to align more with the style and complexity of Bill’s other compositions, like “Waltz for Debbie” and “Time Remembered.” Beirach’s perspective highlights the tune’s musical intricacy and suggests that it’s more characteristic of a pianist’s composition, which aligns more closely with Bill’s style rather than Davis’s​​​​.

As I test Music Savvy Chat, I’ve had many conversations about a variety of topics. Now these are not just questions like the ones you type into Google, but rather they can be conversations. At a certain point, you may feel that you are talking to a person. Anyone for a Turing test?! 

I’ve compiled a sampling of my interactions with Music Savvy Chat which you can see here. Again, what I am experiencing is that the answers are much more nuanced that those given by the more general Chat GPT (and certainly by Google and other search engines).

How can you gain access?

I welcome you to use it since at the moment I have submitted it for public availability through Open AI. However, there is a catch.

Open AI is the company that created and owns Chat GPT. This is all new tech and developing day by day. While you can sign up for Chat GPT for free, you need a premium membership to access custom GPTs like Music Savvy Chat. Currently, we developers do not make any money off of the premium membership, which is fine, since Open AI gets to set their own rules for their playing field and we developers can choose to participate or not. We expect that to change at some time which will transform that marketplace into something more like Apple’s App Store.

If you already have Chat GPT 4 (the premium subscription for $20/mo) you can access Music Savvy Chat using the link:

Eventually, I’ll be able to put Music Savvy Chat on my websites as a chatbot, but at the moment access is only available directly through Open AI. 

As a plug for Chat GPT, I recommend that you at least try the free version. It is a super genius assistant that can perform amazing feats saving you time and effort. It is not perfect, and as the footer of the page states, “ChatGPT can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.”

So while it could give you a detailed step by step on how to argue your case in court as your own lawyer, I’d recommend leaving that to the professionals! But if you want some solid tested advice from some of the best players and teachers in the world on playing jazz better, all directed by my questions and curiosity, I hope you get a chance to check out Music Savvy Chat!

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Michael Lake

Michael Lake

Trombonist, author, marketer, & tech guy

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