Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Somethin' Blocky

In the last post, I had just finished transcribing Miles on Autumn Leaves. Leaving the melody intact, I added my own arrangements, block style.

Here they are:

This is the first half of the first chorus. Typing these notes is really slow. I gotta find a better way. Or write arrangements with less notes. Paper is a lot easier.

In any event, I welcome any kind of feedback on this. I will try and record it soon. I am working on too many things at the moment, but I'll try and complete this within a week or so.

Keep playing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Somethin' Else

I will spend some time on playing block chords. A few weeks ago, I posted a Youtube link in which George Shearing himself describes his approach to block chords.

That's basically it.

I'm going with Autumn Leaves. For several reasons. First, it fits nicely in a 100 bpm or so tempo. Anything faster gets technical when playing block chords. Second, I already played a version of Autumn Leaves using Blocks, from Jim Snidero's book. So the technical issues should not be a hurdle.

As a starting point, I will use what I consider one of the best, if not the best interpretation of Autumn Leaves I've heard: Miles Davis on Somethin' Else. This Album is under the name Cannonball Adderley. One of my all time favorites. Miles just totally owns the space.
So here's part one of the transcription:

The lead is Miles' trumpet. The bass is Sam Jones. Very laid back.

The approach is this:
1. Transcribe these trumpet + bass parts
2. Play over Miles to imitate articulation
3. Arrange something "blocky" while trying not to clash with Hank Jones in order to keep the overall idea
4. Play and record.
5. Start over with part 2.

Arranging the melody in blocks is a very interesting exercise. There are many harmonic possibilities. I just try to pick what sounds best.

I will attempt to write down the full arrangement, but I make no promise because of the amount of notes. This will be in the next post, along with recordings. I will pick random keys as usual.

I will also try to record on the acoustic because blocks just sound so much fuller.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Simple Bb Blues

Here's a Simple Bb Blues.

I'll work from a simple bass line in Bb:

And use simple Shells for the RH.

Target tempo will be 120bpm.

Random keys:
Bb B Eb Gb
Here's the matrix:


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blues for Rhonda - Chorus 1

I've managed to extract the walking bass line from the first chorus of Blues For Rhonda on Gene Harris' Maybeck album. (available at emusic.com)

I also added my own arrangements for the RH. This is an interesting exercise.

Here's the result in PNG. I used Finale Notepad, but I'm not sure how to add chord notation, which would be nice, as it would better show the kind of reharmonization used.
[update: I added the chords in Gimp. Not ideal notation, but will do for now. I will try Sibelius for the next transcription]

Next step is to play this. Let's draw the die to determine 2 keys in addition to the mandatory F and Bb.
Winners are:
F, Bb, Db, G

So here we go with the table. I'll add as I record. As with the last exercise, I'll set a target tempo of 100 bpm.


Bluesy Time

Time to start the same exercise I did for Satin Doll, this time on the blues.

I will play a walking bass line with RH chords. Most likely 3 choruses. Again, in 4 random keys. Well not totally random. It's the blues, so I just have to at least do it in F and Bb. The other two will be random.

I chose to extract the bass from a tune called 'Blues for Rhonda', played by Gene Harris on his Maybeck album. The album is a real treat, and very accessible as well. On this specific F blues, Gene plays a great walking bass during the entire tune.

I'm not going to even attempt transcribing Gene's RH, so I'll come up with RH comping based on his changes.

I'll start my matrix and start recording in a following post. At this time, I am writing my arrangements with pencil. I intend to share my work here, so for readability, I may type it in some software, I'll see... In any event, when you practice stuff like this, I don't recommend transposing on paper and sight read. That would be missing the point.