This week I have been listening to Wabash Blues, which was recorded on the album 'Back to Back,' a fantastic blues/ jazz album by Duke Ellington & Johnny Hodges recorded in 1959,
On the album 'Back to Back,' the track 'Wabash Blues,' for me, is the standout track, originally composed by Isham Jones. Being a sax player, I'm drawn to Hodges on this record - he sounds fantastic, He makes the changes with some very lyrical diatonic soloing and is rhythmically interesting throughout the album. The entire band play very well on the record, but I was also very impressed with Harry 'Sweets' Edison, the trumpeter as his soloing style compliments Hodges perfectly. Hodges and Edison go really well together on this record, both playing gorgeous melodic content in their solos - something to aspire to in my eyes! Also, during the solo's there's also a consious use of space, which can sometimes can be forgotten by players 'these days,' (I know I'm guilty of this on occasions) As a result, it's very refreshing to listen to! Anyway, have a 'gander' & make your own mind up.
Just quickly, the personnel on 'Back to Back,' are:
Johnny Hodges - Alto saxophone
Harry 'Sweet's' Edison - Trumpet
Les Spann - Guitar,
Duke Ellington - Piano
Sam Jones - Bass
Jo Jones - Drums
If you like this album definitely listen to 'Side by Side.' which is a recording by Ellington & Hodges in the same year as 'Back to Back.' It was a follow up album off of back to back, featuring a wider array of jazz greats, including the above (minus Sam Jones) and:
Roy Eldridge - Trumpet
Lawrence Brown - Trombone
Ben Webster - Tenor Saxophone
Billy Strayhorn - Piano
Wendell Marshall - Bass
Worth a listen - I hope you agree!
Below are the PDFs for 'Wabash blues.' The rhythm section parts are just outlining the harmony and rhythms which are used. All the other parts have the 'head,' as played by Johnny Hodges.
I've included a play-along for practicing improvising. It's only midi - but serves it's purpose!
Again, I can't reiterate enough - play along with the record. This really is essential!!! Getting the notes and rhythm correct is only half the job, which hopefully my parts will make easier. Remember, whilst you play along you need to get all the nuances. For example bends, vibrato, accents etc. These little details are what makes Johnny Hodges sound so great & unique! There's no shame in replicating - it's the highest form of flattery and will help you 'pay your dues,' to the jazz greats!
Anyhow, until next time, keep practicing & listening. For the next transcription post, I'll be jumping back to Oscar Peterson, so keep your eyes peeled.
All the best and catch you very soon.
P.s. If this is helpful/useful or you have any questions/suggestions/ requests please comment below or even get in touch via my email. Again, good luck & until next time good luck!
Discover, Learn & Play.
A blog aimed at discovering artists, songs and learning to play along the way. All of this alongside other useful tips.