First of all, I’d like to send a quick shout-out to Darcy James Argue, who wrote this award winning (Charlie Parker Composition Award, 2004) piece, and is the leader of currently my favorite big band record, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Infernal Machines, on which this Ingrid solo is lifted. I am constantly inspired by Darcy’s music, and he is a big influence on my own big band writing.
Rhythm. What can be more definitive in music? Rhythm is what drives music forward, particularly in music that derived from African roots like jazz. Trombone Shorty knows all about rhythm. He’s one of those New Orleans guys who never really shook that New Orleans attitude in his playing (thankfully). Trombone Shorty’s playing on this track especially, is derived from New Orleans Brass Band trombone playing. He approaches his solo very rhythmically, and doesn’t vary the notes he uses hardly at all. I think he steps outside the notes of the Eb minor pentatonic scale maybe once in this entire solo. The information is not in the note choice, but in the rhythmic development. Continue reading →
Ambrose. My newest obsession on the trumpet. It took me months before I could remember his name “uhh…it’s this long name and starts with A, but he’s ridiculous!” but I’m sure I’ll never forget it. Ambrose is the perfect mix of math and emotion. Right when you think he’s lost you in a solo, he reels you back in with a sweet, warm melody, or just a straight up funky blues lick. Ambrose’s sound is mesmerizing. It’s always the first thing you hear, the sound of the instrument. Before all the licks, and all the “finger flapping” as Ambrose so humbly (he’s clearly full of it) calls it, you hear the sound. Just the pure sound of the instrument. Your sound is the #1 most important thing in your playing. It might sound weird, but I truly believe that. How can you tell when it’s Miles? It’s that sound. Dizzy? Louis? Clifford? Same thing. It’s their individual sounds, sometimes brittle, other times hypnotic, that make you go “No doubt about it, that’s Lee Morgan.” Continue reading →
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love me some Dave Douglas. Dave has been a huge influence on me both as a writer and a trumpet player, and this particular solo has been one that has haunted me for many years. Dave is a lyrical master, and this solo is a perfect example of his prowess. Almost the whole solo is played over a simple I (vi), ii IV V progression, but its basically just Bb major the whole time. His two horn writing is really some special as it is on display on this track.
Just a Closer Walk With Thee:
This week is a two-for-one. If you read my blog post on my trip to New Orleans, you know that I had an exciting time while I was there. Among other things, I had the absolute pleasure of getting to hear Leroy Jones at Preservation Hall, and since the Jack Brass Band (band I was on tour with) had played there the night before, I got to meet Leroy and talk to him a little. Mainly, it was just a treat to hear this man play traditional New Orleans music all evening.
Since most people don’t know who Leroy Jones is (which is a damn same), I’ll just give you a short synopsis. Leroy is probably best know for his work with Harry Connick, Jr, but he was also a member of the band that became the famous Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Leroy has been performing all around the world with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Harry Connick, and was born and bred in New Orleans. Leroy is as authentic as it gets, and when you hear him play over these simple I IV V I progressions, you wonder if you should ever even try to play trads again. It’s that good.
Somehow Leroy has gone widely unnoticed in the trumpet community, which I am particularly perturbed about. It seems as though if a trumpet player comes out of the woodwork with a less than “standard” trumpet sound, the International Trumpet Guild doesn’t know what to do with him. He fits nicely in his cute little New Orleans box, so that’s where we put him and that’s where he stays. Spoiler alert: You’ve all been missing out. Continue reading →
I never really understood the title of this tune until last weekend. I made my first trip to the city where this music all began, and got to experience the city as a performer. To say that it changed the way I look at things would be an understatement. Not just the way I view the city, but also the way I see the black/white line in jazz, the aftermath of Katrina, the importance of this city and the people who live in it. Continue reading →
Roy is one my favorite trumpet players of all time. His mix of hard bop and soul/gospel in his playing is exactly where I want to be as a player, so I tend to listen to a lot of (too much?) Roy. This tune is no exception. It’s from his record Earfood, which is pretty much a standard quintet record, except it has this track on it, and this track really just blows away the rest of the album, as good as it is. Everyone on the record plays great throughout, but it’s like they were all born to play this tune. Each solo builds on the last creating a track that ebbs and flows just right, until you’re hitting the back arrow on your ipod to listen again.
Ahh, BeBop. Will I ever be able to play you?
I transcribed this solo a few years ago when I was really trying to work on my bebop language in my solos. It’s been an interesting up and down road since then trying to perfect, or even just function in this very specific jazz art. Milt’s solo on Groovin’ High, one of the most iconic bebop tunes in bebop’s golden age, is a perfect example of the techniques a bebop player uses to sound like…well…to sound like Bird (Charlie Parker to you beginners out there).
Milt Jackson is one of the only really well-known jazz vibes players. There are others I have listened to, namely Joe Locke and Steve Nelson, but they’re both modern players who don’t really have that pure bebop thing happening. They’re both incredible players, and I am sure can play like that, but they’ve got other shit happening. The point in transcribing Milt was to dig in to someone who lived that language his whole life.
This however, is the first time I have revisited the solo, really practiced it (and checked for note errors, there were plenty), and did the analysis. I found some techniques similar to the Tom Harrell solo I transcribed for this site a few weeks ago. Pianistic arpeggios, Chromatic Approach Tones, Guide Tones on big beats (1 & 3), etc.
Legendary. That’s all I’ve got to say about this solo. Legendary.
Seriously, that’s not all I have to say. First of all, let me just issue an official promise to our readers that my next transcription will not be a trumpet player. Trumpet players, I am sorry. That being said, I just heard this track for the first time a few weeks ago and I knew I had to transcribe it. It’s just so amazing. Continue reading →
I got this disc when I was a freshman in college. My wife (girlfriend at the time) got it for me, and the first track that stuck out was this one. The groove is what first got me. The groove is this really great double time feel that is real open in the drums and piano. It just feels so good! And after hearing Nicholas’ playing on this track I knew I had to one day transcribe it. The first thing I noticed when I took some time to dig in was that they play with a double time feel, so it sounds like the chord changes go by at half speed. Payton’s solo fits so gently in to the groove, he’s simply an extension of the rhythm section.