Here’s a very loose sketch of one of the unreleased jams Miles Davis recorded as part of his “Jack Johnson sessions” in 1970. There is only sparse percussion and no bass at all, so it’s Keith Jarrett’s comping alone that holds the structure together. Keith’s playing is my favorite part of the track, as he keeps some semblance of continuity while setting a quiet backdrop for Miles and John McLaughlin to experiment with textures and effects. Most of the pieces the band recorded were meant to be edited into coherent songs later on, so there is little structure or continuity to be found, but it’s well worth a listen and fun to jam on as well.
Here’s a transcription of Oscar Peterson’s bluesy solo on the classic “On Green Dolphin Street”, from the album Very Tall, featuring Milt Jackson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen. I play the tune often at jam sessions, but this version also holds a special significance for me…
It was a snowy December evening many years ago, when I was still in my teens. I had just acquired a turntable and was excited to start my vinyl collection, so I stopped into a record shop to peruse the stacks. As soon as I walked through the door I heard the mellifluous sound of Milt Jackson’s vibraphone filling the air. I was so transfixed, it was hard to concentrate on the titles of the records I was flipping through. I ended up listening to the entire record while standing at the counter, and bought it as soon as the needle came to rest. To this day I think fondly of Very Tall every time I’m walking on a cold snowy night.
The solo starts at 3:45 of the song for those listening along.
Here’s a pretty song by Brad Mehldau. As is usual with his compositions, the exact harmonies and rhythms are up to interpretation. I feel like Brad’s melodies revolve around fluid tonalities rather than chord structures: often he will play a dissonant note over a triad and make it sound perfectly logical. Good examples of this can be found here (and even more so in another chart on this site, “Schloss Elmau”)
Not to be confused with Hilton Ruiz’s tune of the same name, this one comes from In the Bag, a Nat Adderley release that features a young Ellis Marsalis on piano.