Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cat in the Hat

Here’s a Billy Cobham tune from his 2008 album Fruit from the Loom, which includes Junior Gill on tenor pan.  I “cut my teeth” playing cello pan in a steel band, and wish steel drums were heard on more jazz albums.  A few Jaco Pastorius records feature the great Othello Molineaux, but in general steel drums have been neglected in the world of jazz.

The pan has untapped potential as an “idiophone”, an instrument that vibrates as a whole (as opposed to “membranophones” (drums and larynxes), “aerophones” (horns and reeds), and “chordophones” (strings and pianos)).  In most jazz bands, cymbals are the only idiophones.  Sometimes vibraphone or clave is added to the mix, but I feel pan is just as legitimate as these to add interesting timbres to jazz compositions.

I first heard this tune on the radio while driving home from a late-night gig, and I’m not sure yet how much I like the composition, but the steel pan and the Latin-inspired solo sections caught my ear enough to transcribe it.

Cat in the Hat

Cat in the Hat

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Zone

Zone

Zone Score

I thought I’d start the new year with a song by Ryan Keberle, trombonist and leader of the group Catharsis.  This chart is based on their live performance on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts” series, a cool platform for bands to play stripped-down, acoustic versions of their songs.  The version on their album In the Zone has more improvisation, especially at the fermata before the trumpet takes the melody.

As a bit of an experiment, I notated the score in 18/8.  This way I don’t have to write a 6/4 chart filled with triplets.