Here is a simple backing track of Julia (Lennon/McCartney) as harmonised by Medeski, Martin & Wood on their album Out Louder which features John Scofield on guitar. The track is made to help practicing improvising over the changes which requires a changing of scales for each chord.
A |F#m | C#m | E | 2x
Verses (and for solos):
A | % | Em | % |
F#7b9 | % |Dm | % |
A | F#m | C#m |E |
A |A |
G#m | G#m | A | A |
F#m | % | C#m | % |
% | % | A | F#m |
C#m | E | A | F#m |
C#m | E |
Our new salsa band “Grupo Tumbao” did its first public performance on Saturday February 1st. The venue Cafe Sanaa was filled to the rim by an enthusiastic audience. Our 2 sets consisted of standard dance tunes such as Chanchullo and La Musica Cubana, both recorded by Ibrahim Ferrer. A section of the music of Irakere included Claudia, Boliviana and Mambo Influenciado. Late additions to the repertoire included Mambo Mongo and Mayeya by Mongo Santamaria.
Jazzpianist Billy Taylor explains and demonstrats how jazzmusicians improvise by playing and altering George Gerswin’s tune “They can’t take that away from me”. Worth noting is Taylor’s comments on the importance of being prepared in order to make a successful improvised performance. Translated to music this means that he needs to know Gershwin’s tune, for a start, to be able to alter the tune’s harmony, rhythm and melody. He draws a parallell between giving a speech and performing jazz, which both requires preparation and the knowledge of a language and which in both cases should be articulated in coherent, meaningful phrases.
During a weekend in late april 2008, I brought my audio pc to Studio Bergen to do my first ever demo recording using Cubase SX 2.2 and the Creamware Scope DSP system. Having invested in a 8 x 8 Luna break out box, my system was capable to record and playback 8 tracks simultaneosly. We used a Yamaha mixing console for pre amps and routed the signal from the insert outs into the Luna audio interface. The experienced producer Gunnar Innvær provided invaluable assistance throughout the session.
Larsen å di, live at Nøsteboden
The band who acted as a guinea pig was “Larsen å di”, who plays 60’s rock and beat music, and who perform annually at the Bergen beat club events at Nøsteboden. The band plays with a genuine 60’s flavour which I was hoping to capture on disk by doing a simple mix without over using effects and processors.
The musicians at that session were Willy Berg Larsen, (drums), Magnus Monstad (guitar/vox), Finn Erik Pedersen (bass/vox) and Kjell Alvin Førlandsås (guit/vox). I added keys later on a couple of the tracks. All in all a good learning experience to record the demo. The band shows that it has great vocal capabilities and a sound and style that suits the musical material they perform.
The October edition of Jazzspinneriet was dedicated to the music of Herbie Hancock. In addition to previously presented material, which is documented elsewhere on this blog, we added this time Hancock’s “Driftin'” and Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye pork pie hat”, which Herbie did with Joni Mitchell on the album “Mingus”. The latter features many interesting changes naturally invites to exploring the alterations and upper structure harmonics as source for musical material in the solos.
Our version of “Good bye pork pie hat” came out in a slow tempo with a 12/8 feel. Here is the piano solo. Driftin’ piano solo is here.
Autumn 2012, (1 year ago…) at the October edition of Jazzspinneriet, we were fortunate to be joined by Kristin Raknes (vocals), Thomas Nøkling (sax), Jan Erik Reknes (trumpet) and Torbjørn Hillersøy (bass) – 4 great musicians who substituted the regular band members who were busy doing gigs elsewhere. Theme for the concert was Autumn, and the set list consisted of regulars such as Autumn leaves and Autumn in New York, but we also selected tunes for my upcoming 40th birthday gig and used the concert as a setting for testing material for that.
Our version of Autumn Leaves opens with the g-minor section which can be heard in the early Miles Davis recordings, and is played in a very modest swing tempo. Some delicate solos by Reknes and Nøkling, rounded off by my piano solo.
Kristin Raknes, who this time was backed by a trio, contrary to her previous appearance which was a piano / vocal duet setting. She did brilliantly two tunes by Kate Bush in their original key, and also a smooth version of the standard jazz ballad Cry me a river.
We continued by doing one of Thomas’ favourites, Sail away, a bossa tune with some interesting changes, a tune which we had not done before and which not very often can be heard at the Bergen jazz clubs.
Finally, we did Miles Davis’ Tutu. Floating around on the Internet are 2 accurate notations of the tune – (see Lucas Pickford’s below). At the solo parts, we copied Michel Petrucciani’s version and changed every now and then between Gm7 and Bbm7 at the choruses. Some great solos by Jan Erik and Thomas, and solid backing by Jan Tore and Torbjørn. My piano solo concluded the solos.
Some great musical moments took place that afternoon!
Here is a recording I made of Miles Davis’ Tutu. We did the tune recently at the Jazz spinneriet, and I thought it might be a good idea to lay it down in Cubase playing all instruments but the drums myself. Since the chords are fairly static, Gm7 – Bbm7, the track is good for practicing guitar solos in minor pentatonic and minor scales.
The track was put together in Cubase using Creamware Scope and the Dynatube amp, the B2003 hammond organ, along with the Native instruments Hendrix plug in. Drums are by NI Studio Drummer.
In an attempt to get to know better the minor scale positions on my guitar, I recorded the main parts of Ritchie Blackmore’s version of Howard Blake’s Snowman. The chords shift nicely between Em – D – Am – C – Em which lends itself to exploring E minor and minor pentatonics derived thereof. This is a work in progress, another step made to learn to play the guitar. Recorded in Cubase Elements 6 using Creamware Scope 4.5. Native instruments studio drummer provides backing track along with my Fender jazzbass through the Vinco compressor. The guitar is processed using Amplitube Jimi Hendrix.
For the sake of reference I have added to the media library a recording I did in 2008 of Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage. The clip was uploaded to the Creamware user community on PlanetZ, and my forum posting read:
“I came across a live CD with Herbie Hancock and his VSOP orchestra recorded live at the Newport festlval in 76. I really like his modal jazz tunes such ans Cantaloupe island and Maiden Voyage. My idea was to try to recreate the groove and attitude of Maiden Voyage only using Scope and Cubase. I ran my Yamaha S80 Rhodes through Interpole and used the Minimax to present the theme. The STS 4000 is used for drum samples and the Individual out function allow the snare drum to be processed by adding delay.”
Saturday September 3rd marked the opening of the third season of the monthly event, the Jazzspinneriet. The autumn term 2011 is still in the planning, but new and exciting local musicians have already marked the dates in their calendars and will be introduced to our audience at the next gigs. On September 3rd, only the backing band; me, Peter, Pia and Jan Tore were playing. The repertoire consisted of a mix of standard tunes of different shapes and genres.
Kurt Weill’s September song was a natural inclusion in the list. The version we did is from one of the unofficial Real Books and featured some changes which differs from the official of the New Real Books. In particular the static B – section may seem odd in the version we did. Maybe the versions are based on different recordings, I don’t know, but the piano solo was still fun to do, this time in a less-is-more style making an attempt on building meaningful musical phrases. Some double hand licks are dropped towards the end which creates a sort of climax of the impro.
Also a couple of F – major blues forms entered the set lists. Billie’s bounce and Now is the timeare similar as far as changes are concerned, the interesting part is then to compare our performances, one in each set, and to judge if we differ in expression and musical ideas, or if we sound the same. The piano solos are here; Billies_pno , (which features Petrucciani style octave riffs, a quotation of Weather report and some latin montunos)and Now is the time.
In F-minor, there is AfroBlue- a jazz waltz which allows for some McCoy Tyner style quartal chord drops in the left hand after a few waves of choruses – piano solo is found here. Also, typical of the band these days, every solo is given space to grow by reducing the dynamics dramatically in the beginning. Some attempts on “outside playing” can also be heard.
Finally Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage is added for the sake of demonstrating how the many glitches in the beginning are covered up by being added to a musical phrase. The Caravan piano solo is added, as is the full version Caravan.