Tag Archives: jazz

Central Avenue

An interesting thing happened while I was playing music at a restaurant recently.  It had been a hot day, and a cool breeze was wafting the sweet smell of flowers from a nearby park.  All around me people were smiling, talking genially with friends, laughing with their children.

After an hour or so, someone on the staff came over and turned on a television near the bandstand.  Those of you who have been in this situation know what happened next… conversation stopped, the smiles disappeared, girls and boys sat looking at their plates while they faded to the periphery of their parents’ attention.

Most didn’t seem to notice that after just a few minutes of watching TV, their behavior had changed drastically.  I wonder how they would have answered a questionnaire asking: “Did watching TV affect your dining experience?  Did your food taste better or worse?  Did you have more or less satisfying interaction with friends and family?”  I don’t have anything against television, but any restaurant that takes pride in its menu or ambiance should consider its role in their establishment.  Now when I’m with people I care about, I try to count the number of times I turn away from them to look at a screen of some kind.  Try this yourself.  You might be surprised.

Anyway, here’s a cool blues by saxophonist Geof Bradfield, from his 2012 album Melba!

Central Avenue

Central Avenue – Score

Those Who Chant

You may not be surprised that this tune started as a left hand exercise for pianist Walter Bishop, Jr.  I’ve written it as he plays it on an old video in which he explains how he incorporated the cycle of fourths into his music.  On the third page I’ve included the solo section as played by the band on Walter’s Keeper Of My Soul album.

Those Who Chant - ScoreThose Who Chant – Score

Bunny

The other day I came across a breezy, swinging album called Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges.  I’m a big fan of both saxophonists, and it’s nice to hear them together.  I think their lilting, melodic style is underappreciated by modern musicians and listeners who prefer a more “in your face” mode of playing, but it expresses a deep musicianship that I really admire.  This is the first track, written by Gerry for Johnny, whose nickname was “Rabbit”.

bunny

Bunny

 

Strange Feeling

 

Hi everyone, I didn’t mean to go two months without posting, but I’ve been dealing with the rule of entropy recently.  After having a busy few weeks mostly away from home, I dealt with a broken piano, a vacation, a computer crash, and now my Finale program doesn’t work with my new OS, so I’m back to transcribing with pen and paper.  I even had to buy a new printer just to scan this lead sheet.  I have no plans to stop posting though, so stay tuned.

Strange Feeling is a pretty Billy Strayhorn song.  I’ve heard two versions of the song, one by Strayhorn himself and one by the Ellington orchestra.  This lead sheet is based on the solo piano version, which is played rubato so I’ve only approximated the the rhythms.

strange-feeling

Steepian Faith

Kenny Kirkland is perhaps known as much for his work with Sting’s touring bands as he is for his exquisite playing on records by the Marsalis brothers and other “Young Lions” of the 1980s jazz scene.  Sadly, he only recorded one album as a leader before his untimely death.  It has a great blend of jazz, latin, and funk influences.  I’ve been listening to it all week and can’t recommend it enough.  Here’s one of Kenny’s originals.

steepian-faithsteepian-faith