I’ve had a bad cold the last few days, so as much as possible I’m staying indoors close to a warm teapot and a good book. I also like to use these periods of forced torpor to digitize old albums and transcriptions. This song comes from a James Williams CD I borrowed from a friend. I returned the album long ago, but playing through my handwritten lead sheet on piano brought back good memories. James had a beautiful sense of melody and harmony.
Here’s a partial score for Yosvany Terry’s “Son Contemporaneo” (or “Contemporary Son”). This tune is a far cry from the folkloric son music of 1890s Cuba; it eschews traditional instrumentation and tonality, and is mostly built on a major triad with a flatted 6th, a sound that’s been in vogue in the early 21st century.
This almost never happens, but when I heard this on the radio for the first time I had to pull my car off the road just to listen.
Just re-watched this movie the other day and was digging on the Roy Ayers soundtrack.
Pianist Larry Willis recorded this blues a few times in his career, but the first version I know of is on Junior Cook’s Something’s Cookin’ album.
Here’s a transcription I did a while back of Israel Crosby’s bassline on Cheek to Cheek, from Ahmad Jamal’s Ahmad’s Blues album. This trio is famous for playing tight arrangements, and many of them feature a balance of busy rhythmic figures and moments of sparse piano accompaniment that leave space for the bass to shine through. Although Crosby is more than capable of improvising basslines that sound like written melodies, he probably honed this line into a finished product over dozens of live performances to a point where there may be no improvisation at all here.
Here’s a swinging blues from Benny Golson.