I’m headed out of a town for a few days and won’t have the means to put up a ii-V of the day while I’m gone. Expect the next one to be up around Thursday. Happy practicing!
Dexter from a 1964 Belgian TV show.
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.).
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.
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!
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.”
Click to enlarge.
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.