Here’s a song I first heard on Anita O’Day and Cal Tjader’s Time for Two album. Teddi King recorded the song as well, and this lead sheet is a mashup of the two versions. The phrasing of the melody here is closer to Anita’s version, but she stretches the bridge out to sixteen bars. The form isn’t a twelve-bar blues, but the A sections follow the same harmonic path (first to the four chord, then a turnaround back to one).
A couple years ago I dubbed this month “Blues March” and dedicated four weeks to various forms of the blues. As I said then, the blues is an art form with a deep tradition, and may be America’s most ubiquitous contribution to human music. I’ve decided to do the same thing this March.
Let’s start with this simple tune by trombonist Frank Rosolino. It has a few more chords than your average 12-bar blues, but the underlying structure is the same. The string of changes in bars 2 through 4 finds resolution in the subdominant F chord. Similarly, bars 8 to 10 bring us through the dominant G7 to our tonic C major. I’ve added a new page to the site that I’ll use to periodically write about things that helped me become a better musician and bass player. It seemed appropriate given this month’s theme to post about reharmonizing the blues.
This one comes from Bobby Hutcherson’s 1967 album Happenings.
Here’s an old classic that I sometimes try to break out at gigs if the players are familiar with the original.
This winter I’ve been going through hundreds of old transcriptions I did with pen and paper when I was first training my ear to recognize melodies and chord changes. Some of them have egregious mistakes, but it brings back good memories to revisit my old files.
Ginseng Woman is an album by guitarist Eric Gale. It’s full of solid performances by great players, and it’s also a testament to Eric’s versatility and artistry as a “session” musician; even on his own record he doesn’t flaunt his considerable skills, but tailors his playing to serve the music. Chances are you’ve already heard Eric’s understated playing on some of your favorite jazz, funk and pop songs… I’m still discovering records in my collection that I didn’t even know he was on, from Paul Simon to Ashford and Simpson to Billy Joel and more.
From his first recording sessions in the 1950s to his last in 2014, Charlie Haden made deep, beautiful music. He played bass with confidence and style, and pretty much every album he graced as a sideman counts among the leader’s best work. Over the years his music got quieter and simpler without losing any of its profundity.
Charlie recorded this song many times, but my favorite version is on his 1995 duo album with Hank Jones, Steal Away.
Speaking of songs I like that aren’t in fake books, here’s a Jimmy Van Heusen song first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1943.