Sunday, December 30, 2012

Here is David Berger's transcription of the bass part from Ellington and Strayhorn's "Deep South Suite" part 4, "Happy Go Lucky Local".  The bassist is the great Oscar Pettiford.  We'll be playing this tonite at the Creekside along with Ellington's Nutcracker.  For this one there are about half a dozen licks that I've got a 60% chance of getting right on any particular attempt, so it will be an adventure.

I was telling Joe that when it comes to performing a transcription of a bass part like this, some of the licks seem really awkward and hard to play.  The important thing is that  they were apparently idiomatic to Pettiford.  The bassist has to try to get in Oscar's head and figure out what it felt like to Oscar to play the phrase and what he was trying to express.

When I attempt to play a transcription of a part by somebody like Pettiford or James Jamerson I always realize that their playing was unfettered.  From any note or phrase they play they can branch out in a dozen different directions where my technique limits me to running in the same 2 or 3 little alleys.

The recording is from November 25 1946 in NYC as found on Prestige LP P-24029, "The Golden Duke".  The liner notes by Ralph J. Gleason say the tune was originally released as 2 separate 78 RPM record sides which were "edited together" for the LP version.  He doesn't explain the strange reverberation that occurs briefly at 3:26. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

The II-V-I Orchestra holiday show Sunday December 30, 2012 at the Creekside Grill will feature Duke Ellington's classical adaptations: Tchaikovsky's NutCracker Suite, and Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite. The second set will be our usual dance set with featured vocalists Patty O'Connor and Jim Paravantes.

The show starts at 6:30 and we anticipate a good crowd so get there early!

Here are sound files for study purposes:

track 1
track 2
track 3
track 4
track 5
track 6
track 7
track 8
track 9

Peer Gynt:
Morning Mood
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Solvejg's Song
Ase's Death
Anitra's Dance

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dave Brubeck
(December 6, 1920-
December 5, 2012)

Dave passed away today at 92.  His quartet with Paul Desmond ( November 25, 1924 – May 30, 1977) initiated me into jazz music.

His love of melody, harmony and good solid swing was unabashed.  His art was filled with musical and social courage.

Here from 1954 is "Le Souk", from the early quartet with Bob Bates on Bass and Joe Dodge on drums.  It's not Gene Wright and Joe Morello but the swing is light, tight and strong, Desmond creates understated tension through his phrasing and use of register, and sets up Dave's bombastic, percussive solo.  Listen to the release as they close it - that's real musical empathy.

And here from 1959 is "Strange Meadow Lark"

And here from 1963 at Carnegie Hall is "Bossa Nova USA", the only melody I can think of that starts with a minor ninth interval.

My sympathy to the Brubecks, a great American musical family, and we'll continue thanking Dave (and Paul) for their many gifts.