Speaking of songs that have a fresh, new sound when played in 3/4, I was really pleased to find “One Step Ahead” on Cecile McLorin Salvant’s latest album The Window. The original is one of my favorite Aretha Franklin songs, and now that her voice is gone it’s bittersweet hearing someone else sing the words. Still, this version really has a life of its own, and like all great jazz has one eye toward the past and one on the present. This is just a lead sheet sketch of the melody, the phrasing should be unique to each performer.
One Step Ahead
This song is usually in 4/4, but play it in waltz time as Frank Rosolino does, and it takes on a lilting quality that fits the lyrics well.
Thou Swell (FRosolino arr)
I’m slowly going through hundreds of old transcriptions done with pencil and paper, back when I used to sit next to a cassette deck or CD player with one finger on the rewind button. One by one I’m entering them into the computer and recycling the stacks of paper I’ve been living with for years.
This bossa nova from Ron Carter was a project from early in my quest to improve my ear. I find bossa nova music in general to be a treasure trove of interesting chord qualitites and inversions. Needless to say, this one had some mistakes in it (and still might).
I remember vividly the times I got to see Mulgrew Miller perform live. If I was lucky I’d be sitting close to the piano, watching waves of concentration ripple over his face, feeling his deep appreciation of the present moment and the infectious joy of making music. This song is named after one of his bands, or maybe it’s the other way around.
Here’s a pretty James Williams song that I’ve heard covered by some of the piano players he’s influenced.
Alter Ego (with lyrics)
This tune by pianist Darrell Grant isn’t exactly a blues, but it follows the same road map. The melody is two statements of a phrase, once over the tonic chord and again over a subdominant, followed by responding phrase that passes through the dominant back to the tonic. Extra material in the form of a nice intro and interlude makes for a well-rounded and interesting composition.
Gettin’ Mean with Mateen – Score
Gettin’ Mean with Mateen – Trumpet in Bb
Gettin’ Mean with Mateen – Tenor Sax
I love the bass playing of Reggie Workman. He is always listening attentively to his bandmates, matching their intensity and prodding them to new heights without stealing the spotlight. On this Freddie Hubbard blues, he gets a short walking feature out front to set up the tempo.
For Spee’s Sake