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!
So this week, I've been listening to some early 'Cannonball' Adderley, specifically the album 'Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley.' The tune which I have decided to transcribe is a piece called 'Rose room.' Unfortunately the link isn't to Cannonball playing, as it's not on YouTube, though the link is for Nat 'King' Cole, he's not too shabby! :) You can if desired, buy 12 classic Cannonball albums for £3.49 which includes the song 'Rose room,' among many others - It's thoroughly worth investing in!
On the album, released in 1955, was a line up of some fantastic musicians of the era, including:
All of the music on the album, was arranged by Quincy Jones, who is still going strong today!
Interesting fact... you know you want it..
'Rose room,' was originally composed by Art Hickman with lyrics by Harry Williams in 1917. The chord sequence was then used again by Duke Ellington which he then composed a different tune for. The new song is known as 'In a mellow tone.' In the 'music world,' this is known as writing a 'contrafact,' this is where a musician composes another melody over a pre-exsiting chord sequence. Once you start looking for 'contrafacts,' you'll start noticing a lot of jazz tunes share chord sequences...
Song: 'Rose room.'
Artist: Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley.
Album: 'Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley' (link to 12 classic albums) Original album released in 1955.
I have included a lead sheet for 'rose room,' Unfortunately, it's not the full orchestrated Quincy Jones version, maybe later in the year I'll find time for that. Meanwhile, here are some lead sheets. There are copies for concert pitch, including bass clef, Bb and Eb instruments.
Hopefully you'll enjoy playing along with the recording (if you buy it). If not, feel free to use the Mp3 backing below to practice the head, and soloing.
The whole point of using the transcriptions & play-alongs, is to help your phrasing. One of the most important things which people wish to achieve in jazz is good phrasing. This, unfortunately, is hard to teach, It's picked up by repeated listening and playing along with whichever recording you're learning, Whilst playing, aim to get perfectly in sync with the artist, copying articulation, dynamics & feel.
If you want to be able to slow the piece down, as well as loop the piece It'd be worth you buying this program: Transcribe. It allows you to slow a recording down gradually without changing the pitch, however you can also change the pitch too if desired!
Use the transcription to help you develop your phrasing/grab lines for inspiration or even just use the chart to play on a gig! (This has been tested in gig situation and works as well as 'You look good to me.' found in post 1 of my blog.) Hopefully you'll get the same enjoyment from learning it as I have,
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!
Thanks again - Ben
Whilst rummaging through my record collection, I found one of my preferred albums from my childhood, It's Oscar performing live at 'La Salle Pleyel,' in Paris with:
Lorne Lofsky - Guitar
Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen - Double Bass
Martin Drew - Drums
Oscar Peterson is one of my favourite jazz pianists of all time. He was born in Montreal, Canada on August 15, 1925 & sadly passed away in December 2007 at the ripe old age of 82. In his time on the planet he recorded hundreds of 'swinging' albums.
When Oscar recorded this album, he was 70 years young & it was post the trio which he'd had with Ray Brown & Ed Thigpen (The combination of Ed, Ray and Oscar produced some of my favorite music of all time, especially the album 'We get requests.' have a listen if you have a moment spare). The younger, and current, me has always loved the virtuosity in Oscars playing, The way in which he plays at speed combining various rhythms, jazz and blues lines in his playing definitely has a resonance with what I enjoy. All of this combined, makes me feel he's able to create melodic and gripping solos which I can, at present, I feel I can only dream of replicating!
Anyway, back to the previously mentioned CD. Upon listening through the various tracks, 'You look good to me.' was the one which instantly jumped out. The desire to try and replicate some of Oscars lines on a saxophone was slightly daunting to say the least, but left me inspired. I set about transcribing the parts and learning the head to play at my next gig, as well as documenting the process & making some practice aids - see below.
Song: 'You look good to me.' <-- (YouTube link.)
Artist: Oscar Peterson,
Album: Live at 'La Salle Pleyel.' June 25th, 1996.
Here are the PDF's for the song 'You look good to me.' There are copies for concert pitch, Bb and Eb instruments.
Phrasing Practice. One of the most important things which people wish to achieve in jazz is good phrasing and feel. Phrasing is hard to teach, It's picked up mainly by repeated listening and playing along with whichever recording you're learning, Whilst playing, aim to get perfectly in sync with the artist, copying articulation, dynamics & feel. use the YouTube link to practice along with, unless you can find the CD to buy!
If you want to be able to slow the piece down, as well as loop the piece It'd be worth you buying this program: Transcribe.
Secondly, below are some MIDI backing tracks to help you practice playing the pieces without the artist, as well as a place to experiment with improvising. These again are at 50%, 75% and 100% speed.
Please use the transcription to help you develop your phrasing/ grab some lines, for inspiration or even just to play on a gig! (This has been tested in gig situation and works!)
Hopefully you'll get the same enjoyment from playing it, & learn a bit more about the way in which Oscar plays, as I have. In the not too distant future I'll work out his solo... gulp! Meanwhile, enjoy :)
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. Good luck!
Thanks again - Ben
Discover, Learn & Play.
A blog aimed at discovering artists, songs and learning to play along the way. All of this alongside other useful tips.