ii-V of the day: John Coltrane – 9.24.10

Today’s ii-V come from John Coltrane‘s I Hear A Rhapsody solo from his 1957 Lush Life album.

The phrase starts on A7(b9), which is VI(b9) in the key of C. The line starts on that (b9), Bb, moves chromatically down to the 7th (G), and then descends down the arpeggio before resolving to the root of Dmin7. The next part of the line starts on the leading tone of Dmin7 (C#) and ascends in stepwise, scalar motion. This motion continues into the G7 measure with the Ab (b9) and Bb (#9, technically A#). The line then changes direction moving from Bb>Ab>G and then descending through the G Augmented triad. (G, D#, B, G). We end up on the 3rd (E) of CMaj7, repeat the descending triad motif (E, C, A), and end up on the 9th (D).

I Hear A Rhapsody is a 32-bar AABA form. It is usually played in Eb (The first chord is Cmin, but I think all the changes lead, ultimately to Eb.).

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ii-V of the day: Rich Perry – 9.23.10

Today’s ii-V comes from one of my favorites, Rich Perry. It’s taken from his I’ll Remember April solo from his album At The Kitano 1.

Unlike other ii-V’s I’ve posted to this point, this one has VI(b9) (A7(b9)) which would resolve back to ii (Dmin7). If you played this line over a ii-V-I that stayed on I (CMaj7) instead of moving to VI(b9) (A7(b9)), it would sound fine. The line is anchored by strong descending motion that starts on the 3rd of Dmin7 (F) and moves chromatically down to resolve on the 9th (D) of CMaj7. F on the downbeat of Dmin7, E on the ‘and’ of 4 of the same measure, D# on the ‘and’ of 3 in G7, and the D on the downbeat of CMaj7. There are quite a few pitches that would be labeled as non chord tones in this line, but I think the strength of that descending line and resolution is what makes it work.

I’ll Remember April is a 48-bar tune with an ABA form. Each section has 16 bars. It is usually played in G and that’s the key in the recording.

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Transcribed Lead Sheet: Drifting On A Reed – Charlie Parker

Here is a leadsheet for the tune this blog is named after, Drifting On A Reed. This tune was recorded with various titles. The most common title, and the one that I originally knew this tune as, is “Big Foot”. Other titles include “Giant Swing” and “Air Conditioning.”

There are versions for C, Bb, Eb, and Bass Clef instruments. The tune is a 12-bar blues in the key of Bb. If you listen to the recording and try to play along, you’ll notice that the recording is actually in B. It’s not uncommon to come across recordings from this time that were sped up a little and sound higher than they actually were.

I decided to transcribe this melody for two reasons – it’s the tune from which I got the name for the blog and more importantly, it’s not in the Charlie Parker Omnibook. Enjoy!

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ii-V of the day: Dick Oatts – 9.22.10

Today’s ii-V was played by Dick Oatts on Blues for Alice on Red Rodney’s 1988 One For Bird Album.

This line looks and sounds like something that could have easily come from Charlie Parker. You can definitely hear that influence.

Blues for Alice is a 12-bar blues usually played in F. The chord progression is different than a typical 12-bar blues and is generally referred to as “Bird Blues.”

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Click to enlarge.

Video: Moksha – You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Here’s a video from the August 8th Moksha show at Blakes on Telegraph in Berkeley, CA. Special guest Jennifer Hartswick is singing Stevie Wonder’s You Haven’t Done Nothin’. Jen’s also playing trumpet, Jeff Cressman (another special guest) is on trombone, and I’m playing tenor saxophone.

ii-V of the day: Hank Mobley – 9.21.10

Today’s ii-V was played by Hank Mobley on There Will Never Be Another You from the 1956 The Jazz Message of Hank Mobley album. This album can be tough to come by. I could only find a Japanese import (expensive) when I was looking for it and ended up buying it because was about the only choice available at the time.

Hank Mobley’s lines are a good source of bebop vocabulary. He really outlined the harmony well and used the melodic devices of the time in a way that are accessible to the student (self-included!) looking to understand the mechanics of a good eighth-note line.

The ii-V starts off on the root of the Dmin7 followed by a chromatic lower neighbor tone. We then move up to the 3rd (F) and back down to the root. We then have an enclosure going to the C# (#11) on the downbeat of the G7 bar (D>C>C#). The C# can be analyzed as the beginning of an enclosure to the D 0n beat 2 (C#>E>D). We then move down in scalar motion until we get to the Ab (b9) on beat 4. This begins another enclosure, this time going to the G on beat 1 of the CMaj7 measure (Ab>F#>G). The line ends with 5-1 (G>C).

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Don’t forget to check for loose screws on your horn!

I wish someone had said that to me tonight. I went out to play the final scene of Jersey Boys tonight on baritone saxophone and found myself unable to play anything below E in the lower register and D and Eb in the middle. I ended up having to leave a lot of notes out and just fake it until the end of the show. When I got back in the studio, I saw that the pad on the D key wasn’t sealing at all, not even close. I then turned the horn around and saw that the screw was out of the post, at the bottom of the rod that holds all the right hand keys. A look at the top and the screw in question was sticking up about a half inch. After a few turns of the screwdriver, I was back in business and everything was working as it should.

Moral of the story: Look at the screws on your horn every now and then to make sure everything is where it belongs.