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. 


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