NOT Peanut But Uhhh...
Thelonious Monk's "Skippy"
"Skippy", which was originally recorded by Thelonious Monk for Blue Note on May 30th, 1952, might be considered (no, is!) one of his most challenging compositions.
The melody alone, which is uncharacteristically dense by Monk standards, is a workout in and of itself.
Harmonically, the descending cycle of 5ths and chromatic tritone subs require considerable "'shedding" in order to confidently negotiate improvised lines through the changes.
In this post, we'll just concentrate on the head, with the rest to follow.
"Skippy" is 32 bars long with what appears to be an A1-B-A2-C song form. The tune is Monk's reharmonization and abstraction of Vincent Youmans' well known standard, "Tea for Two", which due to the melodic consistency between the sections, comes off more like an A1-A2-A3-B form.
Dig it All!
Melodic Minor "Digital" ii-V7-I Exercise
I'm going to try and keep this brief, so I'll refer you to an earlier post for the basic premise of this exercise.
The difference here is that:
1) this one focuses on "digital patterns" starting on the 3rd degree of the Melodic Minor scale (scale steps 3-4-5-7 / 6-7-8-4; ie. F#-7b5 = A Melodic Minor = C-D-E-G# / F#-G#-A-D), and
2) as a ii-V7-I, the pattern transposes up exactly a minor third from the ii7 to the V7 chord (B7alt = C Melodic Minor = Eb-F-G-B / A-B-C-F. It should be noted that the order of the two 4 note cells can be reversed with no change in effect (A-B-C-F / Eb-F-G-B).
This is a nifty little device, which if not overused, can be quite effective over a ii-V. It is also a good sounding "altered" alternative to your typical Major Scale ii-V7 melodic patterns.
Spring's the Thing! - An Etude Based on Freddie Hubbard's
"Up Jumped Spring"
Seasonally speaking, I realize I'm a few days late, but one tune I've always enjoyed playing is Freddie Hubbard's classic jazz waltz, "Up Jumped Spring" - so I wrote a "solo style" etude based on its changes, which I present here.
Freddie Hubbard was not only one of the music's all-time great trumpet voices, he was also an accomplished and prolific composer who contributed a number of classics to the repertoire (Little Sunflower, Birdlike, Red Clay, etc.), as well as some great lesser known gems (Lament for Booker, Blue Spirits, among others).
"Up Jumped Spring" has a form of A1-A2-B-A3. Each "A" section is 16 bars long and has a different ending. The bridge, or "B" section, is 8 bars long, which adds up to and makes this a 56 bar tune.
Can you name another tune with the same form?
One tune which immediately "springs" to mind is Kurt Weil and Ogden Nash's "Speak Low" (Shhh! It has the same AABA, 16-16-8-16 = 56 bar form, in 4/4).
Diminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line
Here's a nifty little four bar line, best served over a modal type vamp, which utilizes the complete 8 note symmetrical diminished scale.
Because the diminished scale is devoid of avoid notes, and due to its symmetry, is essentially polyphonic in nature (hosting 4 Major and 4 minor triads, 4 dominant 7th chords, as well as 2 distinct non enharmonic diminished 7th chords), a single tonal center can be somewhat ambiguous and not always immediately apparent. Nor does it need to be.
However, for the purpose of this exercise, letting my ear be the guide, a tonal center was chosen which felt natural, with alternates, based in the same diminished 7th chord (listed in parentheses).
They all "work", in both theory and practice, and are only suggestions in any case.
Three's a Pair! - Part 2
Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - "Rhythm Changes" Bridge
Back on the subject of Triad Pairs in general and Melodic Minor derived triad pairs in particular, this previous post would be a good preliminary read, containing the basic premises for this post.
As mentioned in that article, the pair of adjacent triads which most captures the sound of Melodic Minor are the Major & augmented triads, built off of the 4th and 5th scale steps, respectively.
(In C Melodic Minor = F Maj.(F-A-C) & G aug. (G-B-Eb) triad pair).
However, the quality of the pure diatonic triad built on 5th step of Melodic Minor is not augmented, but Major - G Maj. = G-B-D, which is exactly the same in C Major.
Polly Juanna Safecracker? Ms. Polly Juanna Safecracker
Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise
Been feeling locked out (or up!) lately?
This pretty little combination exercise, which unlocks the door and lets you get "up close and personal" with the Pentatonic b6 scale and its modes, is similar in construction to an exercise which I posted previously, based on the Pentatonic b2 scale.
While the Penta b2 could be considered as a derivative of the 8 note diminished scale system (as well as the lesser used Harmonic Major scale), the Penta b6 is derived from the Melodic Minor harmonic system (scale steps 5-6-7-9-b3), but also found as part of Harmonic Major (scale steps 1-2-3-5-b6).
As its name suggests, the Penta b6 is a 5 note pentatonic scale with the 6th (as being the interval measured from its root, not its scale step), flatted (eg. G Penta b6 = G-A-B-D-Eb, derived from C Melodic Minor or G Harmonic Major).
Toot Your Own Horn Dept.: The Rev. Dizman Tootoot
A Self-Transcription of "Like Someone in Love"
Welcome to another, "Toot my own horn!" moment, featuring a self-transcription of the van Heusen-Burke standard, "Like Someone in Love".
As I'd been checking this tune out lately (for about 30 years), I thought it would make good subject matter for a post, with a recorded solo example, as well as an audio file thereof; both downloadable.
Now ain't that generous?!
I think it's a very healthy thing, in terms of self-analysis, to record and transcribe one's self from time to time. The fact is, that if you don't happen to be one of the handful of "household (make that "practice room") names", you might as well transcribe yourself, for yourself.
Besides, "it's my blog and I'll toot if I want to"! Dig?!
Roller Coaster Ride! "Roller Coaster" - Karen Elzinger
A Snakey, Chromatic ii-V7 Line
This exercise, which features the smaller intervals of Maj. & min 2nds, was developed from one that I made up for myself a while back; when I first heard guys like Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, Steve Grossman and, of course, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and Miles Davis from the mid '60s before them; who made frequent use of these snakey, swirling, chromatic types of lines.
The original exercise was made up of a pattern which, connecting each measure by a half step, repeated itself down a perfect 4th, and which can be found on pp. 71-76 of my eBook, "Slick Licks That Stick!" which is available right here.
The downloadable exercise presented here is my attempt to tonicize and resolve the original line. Probably the easiest and most accessible way to do that, in my estimation, was as.......you guessed it; some sort of ii-V7-I resolution.
Colonel Bleeped! Col. Bleepdat knows "Satellite".
Coltrane's "Satellite" - The First Eight
This post presents an exercise over the chord changes to the first eight bars of John Coltrane's "(Giant) Step-ed Up" up treatment of the popular standard, "How High the Moon", (Charlie Parker's "Ornithology" is based on the straight changes of the tune).
I posted a full transcription of Coltrane's solo, on "Satellite", as well as information about the solo and the recording itself, so I won't repeat that here.
"Satellite" is but one of several 'Trane originals, based on standards, over which he superimposed his version of the "Cycle of Descending Major Thirds", which has become known to the world as "Coltrane Changes" or "Giant Steps Changes".
Be-Boppin' the Harmonic Major Prof. Diz - Dissecting the equations to some Universal Truths
As I've been recently treating the Harmonic Major scale like a new found toy, I've discovered, for myself at least, some of the unique and interesting qualities of this "hidden in plain sight" seven note harmonic system.
The practice of adding a non-diatonic passing tone to the Major, as well as the Melodic & Harmonic Minor Scales and their modes began as the "eighth note" became the basic rhythmic pulse unit of the music called "BeBop", and became known at some point as the "BeBop Scale"
I think it was David Baker who first "bopularized" the term.
In order to create an even 8 count of eighth notes trom the original 7 note scale and allow a melodic line to flow and resolve evenly through measures of 4/4, a passing tone was strategically added, the location depending on the mode used, allowing the chord tones to fall on downbeats (and vice versa), for the most part.
So, with that in mind, I was curious to see how one might "Bebop-a-size" the modes of Harmonic Major.
Right off the bat, I hit a slight snag.