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.

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