<![CDATA[bobbysternjazz.com - Blog: B Natural]]>Thu, 26 Nov 2015 09:45:01 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Back to the Future 'Trane - Transcription of John Coltrane's 1954 Solo on "In a Mellow Tone"]]>Mon, 16 Nov 2015 10:29:41 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/11/november-16th-2015.htmlBack to the Future 'Trane
Transcription of John Coltrane's 1954 Solo on "In a Mellow Tone"

This transcription of the first chorus of John Coltrane's tenor solo on Duke Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone", was taken from a live (possibly radio) recording from sometime in mid 1954, when 'Trane was on the road with Johnny Hodges' septet. The band included Hodges' fellow Ellingtonians, Harold "Shorty" Baker - trumpet, and Lawrence Brown on trombone.

This version of "Mellotone" was originally released, to my knowledge, in on a "bootleg" vinyl in the 1970's on the "Enigma" label. A friend of mine had it and I promptly copied it to cassette (remember those?.....OK, maybe not).

Then as now, 'Trane's solo here blew me away for several reasons.

First of all, through this recording, we get a glimpse of a 27 year old John Coltrane, who was still a little more than a year away from the start of his historical association with trumpeter Miles Davis. In the second chorus of this solo, which is not transcribed here, we hear a portent of things to come; i.e. sixteenth note scalar runs, which he seemed to be hearing as if from a distance, but didn't quite have the concept, which we would later know as "sheets of sound", under his complete control yet.

The first thing that should be apparent to anyone listening to this recording is: "Ain't no bebop bein' played here!". The rhythmic pulse of this music is of the Ellington and Armstrong era: quarter note bounce; swinging and danceable.

Coltrane, who almost certainly grew up hearing Ellington's music, and so was intimately familiar with it, was originally a Charlie Parker inspired alto saxophonist, switching to tenor more or less for good in 1949 or '50, while as a member of the big bands and small groups of one of bebop's co-founders', Dizzy Gillespie.

So it's like pre-Bird meets post-Bird; and in the middle.....no-Bird!

Also importantly, leading up to his tenure with Hodges, 'Trane was the tenor saxophonist with popular Rhythm & Blues (the original R 'n' B) saxophonist, Earl Bostic, for which Coltrane had great respect.

The saxophone, alto and tenor, was the main solo instrument in R 'n' B and pop music, before the advent and popularity of the electric guitar in the next decade. This is notable because 1950s R & B is in unmistakeable evidence in Coltrane's approach here.

So it's against this backdrop that Coltrane's solo on "In a Mellotone" takes place.

Coltrane takes the third solo, behind Hodges and Shorty Baker. Both solo's are swing era in style and content; Hodges' typically lithe and bouncy and Baker hitting you with his melodic and rhythmic inventiveness, blues, growl and a timely placed quote from Khachaturian's, "The Sabre Dance".

Enter Coltrane, who comes on like the "Tenor Player Who Fell to Earth"; heralding things to come. The first thing you notice, as always, is his presence. His sound is big and robust with his familiar edge; evident even though the recording quality is less than one might be used to by today's standards. Also evident is his typical sense of urgency and insistency in his phrases.

His vocal sounding "hoy, hoy"
on the "high G" of the tenor saxophone in bars 12 and 13 induce the shivers.

For me, the beauty of this chorus is in its relative simplicity
and in the way 'Trane outlines each chord change. Then there are, of course, the intangibles (tone, nuance, etc.) that made anything Coltrane did greater than the sum of its parts.

I think they call that "soul".

This is a very singable chorus and not
that technically challenging. It's a fun solo to memorize, study and try to emulate. It's taught me how certain basic chordal structures can sound really great in the right context.

It's also fun to realize that this is the same guy who, less than 5 years later, gave the world "Giant Steps", and then "A Love Supreme" some 5 years after that.

Space", anyone?

Download PDF
Bb                Concert                Eb
This video is of the complete album. "In a Mellotone" starts at ca. 9:13
Coltrane's solo starts at ca. 13:10

B. Stern
<![CDATA[Slide, Glide & ACE a Ride on the Wild Side With This Penta Flat-6 Two Five]]>Wed, 21 Oct 2015 16:16:25 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/10/slide-glide-ace-a-ride-on-the-wild-side-with-this-penta-flat-6-two-five.htmlSlide, Glide & ACE a Ride (on the Wild Side)
With This Penta Flat-6 Two Five

In automotive terms, a flat-6 is a six cylinder, horizontally opposed engine used by Porsche, among others.

Since automotives is not really my thing, the flat-6 (b6) referred to here is none other than an old "5 cylinder" friend
and Melodic Minor derivative, the Pentatonic b6.

As explained in several previous posts on the topic, The Penta b6 can be thought of either as a Maj. Pentatonic with a flatted 6th degree from the root (ie. C Pentatonic b6 = C-D-E-G-Ab), or; as being built from the 5th-6th-7th-octave-b3rd scale degrees of F Melodic Minor, in this case.

It can also be built simply from scale steps 1-2-3-5-b6 of the Harmonic Major Scale, but it's the Melodic Minor derivation that we'll be dealing with here.

This exercise is the latest of several posts which deal with the Pentatonic b6 as applied over a 4 bar, minor ii-V7-i cadence, using the "ACE" three Melodic Minor "scale / key" approach.

"ACE" here refers here to the 3 different Melodic Minor keys used in a 4 bar minor ii-V-i resolving to E min. (ii: F#-7b5 / V: B7alt /i:  E- / E-), where:
F#-7b5 = A Melodic Minor / B7alt = C Melodic Minor / E- = E Melodic Minor (see the next to last line (#11) of the downloadable exercise).

Since Melodic Minor has no "avoid notes", we can therefore use any combination of notes from that Melodic Minor scale / key, including any of its native pentatonics.

In this case, getting back to line #11, the three Pentatonic b6s used for the ii-V7-i would be:

F#-7b5 = A Melodic Minor = E Penta b6 (E-F#-G#-B-C)
B7alt = C Melodic Minor = G Penta b6 (G-A-B-D-Eb)
E- = E Melodic Minor = B Penta b6 (B-C#-D#-F#-G)

The "ACE" acronym, referring to the applicable Melodic Minor scale / keys, is cool because it spells an identifiable word, at least in this particular key.

However in all cases, the letters used spell out the notes of a minor triad a perfect 4th above the tonic minor (i) key. (eg. A-C-E for the roots of the scale /keys and E-G-B - the actual letters of the tonic (home key) minor triad - for the roots of the applicable Penta b6

As a further exercise, label each measure of the downloadable PDF with its appropriate Melodic Minor scale as well as its Pentatonic b6.

The first measure of each line is actually missing a single scale tone from being a true Penta b6. Can you find the missing note in each case?

Is there an appreciable difference in sonority, with and without?

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Treble Clef          Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[A Plus in Your Scale Arsenal - Augmented Scale ii-V7-I]]>Tue, 15 Sep 2015 13:44:38 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/09/september-15th-2015.htmlA Plus in Your Scale Arsenal: Augmented Scale ii-V7-I
This is the latest post in the Augmented Scale category, this time with an exercise that negotiates a common ii-V7-I with a single augmented scale, which is:

A six note scale (hexatonic), formed by:

2 augmented triads a minor third apart (C-E-G# & Eb-G-B = C-Eb-E-G-Ab-B)

2 augmented triads a half step apart (C-E-G# & Db-F-A =

A Major triad and a minor triad a Maj 3rd below (C-E-G & Ab-B-Eb = C-Eb-E-G-Ab-B)

A minor triad and a Major triad a Maj 3rd above (C-Eb-G & E-G#-B = C-Eb-E-G-Ab-B)

3 min 2nds a Maj 3rd apart (C-Db, E-F, G#-A)

3 min 3rds a Maj 3rd apart (C-Eb, E-G, Ab-B)

There are also Perfect 4ths and 5ths, as well as Maj & min 6ths, plus Maj 7ths included.

Check 'em out.

This exercise came about as an altered, Augmented scale version of the typical 1-2-3-5 or 1-2-3-4 type major scale "digital" scale patterns, made up here exclusively of scale tones from a single Augmented scale, over a ii-V7-I chord sequence.

One of the more interesting (and challenging) aspects of using the Augmented scale in this manner is the fact that the Augmented scale has no tritone (eg, F - B), which makes its tendencies toward normal resolution (as in Major or minor scale harmony) somewhat ambiguous.

But hey, ambiguous is good in this case; as in "inside-outside" and vice versa.

The Breakdown:

The whole first line uses the Bb (D, F#) Augmented Scale (Bb-C#-D-F-Gb-A) over
C-7b5 / F7 / Bb / Bb /

Line #1, Measure #1 - C7b5 (Parts of the chord in parenthesis):
D (9) - F (11) - Gb (b5) - Bb (b7)   A (6) - Bb (b7) - D (9) - F (11).

Pretty consonant (inside), actually.

Line #1, Measure #2 - F7sus:

C# (#5) - D (13) - F# (b9) - Bb (11) - A (3) - Gb (b9) - Db (b13) - F (root).

As mentioned previously, the Augmented scale is devoid of tritones, but melodically, in this case, it still pulls toward a resolution to Bb; with the root and 3rd of the V chord being present. The Bb in the scale also supports this.

Line #1, Measures #3 & 4 - Bb Maj7

A straight up Bb Maj7 with a C# (#9 or b3) and Gb (b13 or #5)
thrown in for flavor.

As the Augmented scale divides the octave into 3 equal parts
, the result is 4 different Augmented scales. The exercise is transposed by ascending half steps into all 12 positions (keys), the basic scale repeating every 5th line (ie. line #1 & line #5 are from the same Augmented scale).

If you have a sequencer (Band in a Box, iReal), try practicing first with just the bass notes or bass line, then add shell voicings (3rds and 7ths).

Download PDF
Treble Clef            Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[NOT Peanut But Uhhh... - Thelonious Monk's "Skippy"]]>Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:01:57 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/08/not-peanut-but-uhhh-thelonious-monks-skippy.htmlNOT 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.

I think the term, "abstraction" is very appropriate here, as Monk definitely created his own very special blend of "Tea". Because of the exclusive and constant movement of dominant 7th chords, both in 4ths as well as chromatically (tritone subs), there's never much of a harmonic resting place, as the line and harmonic motion just keep on skipping along.

The original "Tea", being in the key of Ab, moves temporarily to C for the second eight bars, then back again to Ab.

With all the cyclic motion in "Skippy", which starts on a D7 chord (the bV7 of Ab), the perceived key center of the melodic line still seems to be Ab, as in the original; especially for the first, third and last 8 bar sections.

The key center or the second 8 (measures #9-16) of "Skippy", however, is somewhat more ambiguous.

As in "Tea for Two",
the start of the second 8 bar section of "Skippy" modulates up a Maj. 3rd
, (starting on an F#7 in measure 9, again a bV7 chord, this time of the key of C). It seems as if Monk just used this as a starting point, because any subsequent harmonic or melodic reference to the key of C in this section, to my eyes and ears at least, is anecdotal at best.

Instead, Monk employs three 2 bar descending chromatic mini-cycles, each moving up a whole step from the previous one (Gb7-F7-E7-Eb7,  Ab7-G7-F#7-F7, Bb7-A7-Ab7-G7 before cycling neatly and logically back to D7 (bV7 of Ab again)
via F#7-B7-E7-A7 in measures #15 & 16.

Measures #17-22 are a facsimile of #1 through 6, with #23 & 24 setting up the mad dash to the finish line in bars #25-32, including the doubled chromatic eighth notes, with descending dominant 7th chords on every beat.


I compiled a downloadable lead sheet from several transcriptions which were already available. The minor discrepancies between
them seemed to stem from whether the transcriber used Monk's piano version of the head at the beginning of the original 1952 recording, or the ensemble horn version at the end of it, which has several small notational and rhythmic differences. See if you can hear them in the linked vid below.

For the most part, I tended to favor the former, since Monk, of course, wrote it; but used bits of the latter as well.

Most interesting (and challenging) to me is the phrase in bars #9-10. All of the notes in that 2 bar phrase belong to an
A# half tone / whole tone diminished scale and which is transposed up a whole step in measures #~11-12 (C ht / wt dim scale). Don't forget, this is 1952 and the diminished scale was not yet a common part of the music's still growing vocabulary. The phrase still sounds as hip now as it might have sounded strange then.

Likewise, bars #13-14, which employ descending chromatic trichords
in perfect 4ths; also not common at the time.

A note to tenor players:
"Skippy" was obviously not written with the tenor saxophone in mind and therefore, some range adjustments are necessary. In the Bb lead sheet below, I didn't make any range adjustments, which as a consequence, necessitate interval jumps to high G, G# & A; challenging but by no means impossible; something that I'm striving for. Use whatever range is comfortable for you.

Please excuse any C flats, F flats, B sharps & E sharps. I know that several of them got away on some of the parts.

Download PDF
Bb       Concert       Eb
Skippy on the Tube
Monk's original from 1952

Steve Lacy (not 'Trane) on soprano from 1957 (w/ Elvin Jones & Mal Waldron).
Anthony Braxton on Alto
Ravi Coltrane's group, live from 2012
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Dig it All! - Melodic Minor "Digital" ii-V7-I Exercise]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:41:20 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/07/dig-it-all-melodic-minor-digital-ii-v7-i-exercise.htmlDig 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.

Download PDF
Treble Clef                 Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Spring's the Thing! - An Etude Based on Freddie Hubbard's "Up Jumped Spring"]]>Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:17:27 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/06/june-23rd-2015.htmlSpring'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).

"Up Jumped Spring" also contains several slick deceptive cadences whereby, to my mind at least, it seems that Freddie was trying to avoid the common, expected root movements.

The tune starts out with a typical I-VI7-ii-V7 (Bb / G7 / C-7/ F7 concert) for the first four bars
, with the expectation being a return to Bb.

But on the last beat of bar 4 (of the tune, not the PDF, which is numbered starting with the pick-up measure) Freddie inserted an F# diminished 7th passing chord (I messed that up on the PDF. It should be a half step higher than labeled, see note below).

The F# dim7 passing chord is really a D7b9 without the root, which is in turn the V7 of G minor, which happens to be the root of the next chord.

The changes then descend very nicely via G-7 / F-7 / E-7 / A7
over the next four bars until we get to
D-7 /Eb-7 /D-7 / Eb-7, which might be the most challenging part of the tune.

As an improviser, repeating,
parallel chromatic changes can be challenging to navigate because of the scarcity of common tones....but we'll get through it - only to wind up at B-7b5/ E7b9 / C-7b5 / F7b9.

The B-7b5/ E7b9 here is another "deception", as it looks like
Ready Freddie was trying not to go back to to D-7, the iii7 of Bb, which would have begun the typical, and expected iii7/ VI7/ ii7/ V7 turnaround back to Bb..

Instead, he
substitutes the ii7b5/ V7b9 a minor third below D-7 (
B-7b5/ E7b9), which has it's roots in the same diminished 7th chord (B-D-F-Ab), which sounds as good as it is unexpected, and at the same time, moves seamlessly to the second half of the turnaround, ii7b5/ V7b9 (C-7b5/ F7b9) and back home to Bb for the second 16 bar "A" section.

The last 4 bars of the second "A" do exactly what Brother Hub was trying to avoid the first time around: a straight up ii7/ V7/ I (C-7/ F7/ Bb Maj7) before two fiving (A-7/ D7) into G min, which itself becomes a ii7 (G-7/ C7/ F Maj7/ D-7) for the first four bars of the bridge, or "B" section.

Once on the bridge, the composer then returns to his deceptive ways with a straight up, parallel tritone substitution for the iii7/ VI7 (Ab-7/ Db7 for D-7/ G7) before two fiving it (C-7/ F7) back to Bb again and the third and final "A" section.

The last four bars of the tune take a final twist:
ii-V7 in the first two bars and then a very slick and unexpected bII Maj7 (Cb, "you can call me B" Maj7) with the melody (A#, enharmonically Bb) as the Maj 7th, resolving on the second beat of the final bar to the Maj. 7th (A) of the tonic I Maj7 (Bb Maj7) chord.

I kept the final two notes of the original melody in the etude, also, as well as the melodic rhythm of the last 2 bars.

This is one very cool tune. Logical, intelligent, beautiful melody, challenging but not intimidating. Plus it's got a clever title.

Well done, Frederick, my man!
I only regret I didn't know more about this stuff when you let me sit in back in '81. I would have had a much sharper pick with which to have picked your brain! Thank you, man & R.I.P!

Ooops, talking to the spirits again!

The etude itself is a combination of improvised and composed lines, which were then edited as needed in order to create rhythmic balance in and between the phrases.

Hope you likes!

Download PDF
Bb         Eb
Concert        Bass Clef
Please Note: The Diminished 7th passing chord in measures 5, 21 and 45 of the etude should be one half step higher than what is shown on the PDF (ie,. F# dim7 concert and not F dim7 concert, as is erroneously labeled.).
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Diminishing Perspective - A Diminished Scale Line]]>Fri, 22 May 2015 10:51:41 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/05/diminishing-perspective-a-diminished-scale-line.htmlDiminishing 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.

In line #1, measure #1, notes 2 through 7 (Ab to A natural) spell out a descending Tritone Scale, which is a hexatonic (6 note) scale formed from a Triad Pair; in this case, 2 Major triads spaced a tritone (an augmented 4th or diminished 5th) apart. The Maj. triads here are Ab and D.

In measure #2, the tritone scale idea continues.....almost (absent the note Eb), and in measure #3 transposes down a minor 3rd (missing the note C).

The line is presented in groups of 4, each line in that group belonging to the same diminished scale, and therefore, interchangeable.
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Treble Clef             Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Three's a Pair! Pt. 2 - Melodic Minor Triad Pairs - Rhythm Changes Bridge]]>Mon, 27 Apr 2015 14:03:56 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/threes-a-pair-pt-2-melodic-minor-triad-pairs-rhythm-changes-bridge.htmlThree'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.


In order to differentiate this triad pair from Major and give it the distinct MM flavor, the D in the G Maj. triad is raised a half step to the all important Eb (minor 3rd of minor key!), creating a G aug. triad.

In fact, he only augmented triad occuring diatonically in Melodic Minor is based on the 3rd scale degree, or Eb (Eb aug. = Eb-G-B) in C MM.

Because the inversions of an augmented triad are symmetrical, G aug., Eb aug. (as well as B aug) are all interchangeable. I just thought it more accurate, given the diatonic nature of the augmented triad in MM, to refer to it as forming from the 3rd scale degree, rather than the fifth.

Regardless how you call it, the premise of this exercise is based on the bridge - the middle 8 bars - of "I Got Rhythm" changes.

Because the harmonic structure of these eight bars is made up of 4 dominant 7th chords moving along the Cycle of Fifths at a rate of 2 bars apiece, the exercise can be pieced together in groups of 3 to complete a full cycle.

Anyway. it breaks down like this:

Line 1, Measures #1 & 2- The first line is simply made up of ascending triads, with one inversion. Since the bridge to "Rhythm Changes" begins on the III7 of the key in question, we're looking at E7alt in this case (Rhythm Changes in C).

Since the "altered scale" of choice for this E7alt would be - you guessed it - the E altered scale, or the 7th mode of F Melodic Minor, the triad pair derived from the 3rd & 4th degrees of F MM are Ab aug. & Bb Maj. In this case, however, we begin the line on the Major triad, which doesn't really impact its overal tonal flavor.

Measure #2 continues the ascending line, offering the next inversion of both the Bb Maj and the Ab aug. triads.

Line 1, Measures #3 & 4 is similar to the first 2 bars, with chord, scale, and triad pair transposing down a Perfect 5th (or up a P4th) - A7alt = Bb MM = Eb Maj. & Db aug. triad pair.

Line 2, Measures #5 & 6 is a bit different in that the line begins with a descending augmented triad. The triads change direction and rhythmical shifting is employed as it spirals downwards.

As in the previous measures, each chord, scale and triad pair transpose down P5th from the last.

Measures #5 & 6 - D7alt = Eb MM = Ab Maj. & Gb aug. triad pair

Measures #7 & 8 - G7alt = Ab MM = Db Maj. & B aug. triad pair.

I guess the "Rhythm Changes" part of this exercise is really only incidental. The real purpose is to practice Melodic Minor triad pairs over dominant 7th chords through the Cycle, and this works well on the bridge of "Rhythm"

Try alternating the order and direction of the Maj. and augmented triads, as wel as of the line itself
Download PDF
Treble Clef       Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Polly Juanna Safecracker? - Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise]]>Sun, 12 Apr 2015 16:08:24 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/04/polly-juanna-safecracker-pentatonic-b6-combination-exercise.htmlPolly Juanna Safecracker?
Pentatonic b6 Combination Exercise

PictureMs. Polly Juanna Safecracker
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).

The "combination" part of this exercise comes from the melding of one bar apiece of Bergonzi shape #5 (ascending), the interval make up being:

Skip up - Step up -
Skip down - Step up - Skip up - Step up - Skip down

or shape #1 (descending):

Skip down - Step down - Skip up - Step down - Skip down - Step down - Skip up

with diatonic 3rds, moving in the opposite direction.

This creates a 2 bar phrase which is very "loopable" as the 3rds lead back nicely to the starting note. Each 2 bar phrase begins on a different scale step of the pentatonic, which will give you a great sense of flexible manuverability, once you get it down.

Since the Penta b6 contains a tritone between the 2nd and 5th scale degrees, make note of which dominant 7th chords it could express.

For example, C penta b6 (C-D-E-G-Ab, derived from F Melodic Minor, with the tritone "D - Ab", would indicate an E7 alt, or a Bb7#11, which would normally resolve to an "A" something or other.

You've got the combination, so get to crackin'!

 Look Out!
Download PDF (8 Pages)
Treble Clef                        Bass Clef
B. Stern
<![CDATA[Toot Your Own Horn Dept. - A Self-Transcription / Etude of "Like Someone in Love"]]>Sun, 29 Mar 2015 17:56:07 GMThttp://bobbysternjazz.com/1/post/2015/03/toot-your-own-horn-dept-a-self-transcription-etude-of-like-someone-in-love.htmlToot Your Own Horn Dept.:
A Self-Transcription of  "Like Someone in Love"

PictureThe Rev. Dizman Tootoot
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?!

"Like Someone in Love" was written in 1944 by the songwriting team of Jimmy & Johnny (van Heusen and Burke, respectively) for the movie "Belle of the Yukon" and was originally sung by Dinah Shore. It became a hit for Bing Crosby a year later and has become a popular vehicle for improvisers ever since.

My firsr encounter with fhe tune was upon hearing John Coltrane's haunting, super slow trio version from his Prestige album "Lush Life", which was among the first few jazz albums I owned. Being a novice at the time, the pianoless version was hard for me to decipher harmonically, but it was ever so beautiful and mysterious, and still is.

'Trane's version was in the key of Ab (concert), as were most of the other recorded instrumental versions of the tune that I had heard, although all the lead sheets and playalongs I found were in other keys.

As I've always thought of this tune as being in Ab (tenor key Bb) by default, I was happy to find an Ab playalong track for this little project at www.playjazznow.com. The track has a very straight ahead, relaxed, bouncy feel to it, inside harmonically and easy to play to. They might have chosen a more imaginitve ending, but hey.

"Like Someone in Love " is no doubt an interesting tune harmonically, winding its way through several key centers along it's 32 bar journey. Its most noticeable harmonic device is the descending bass line which happens for most of the first four measures,

Ab7   C/G  |  F-   F-/Eb  |  Bb7/D   Db7#11  |  C-7   F7

as well as the deceptive bv - VII (D-7 G7) cadence in measure #6, resolving momentarily to the tonic (Ab Maj7) for a measure.
It then jumps up and ii-Vs (Eb-7  Ab7) to Db for a bar.
It just can't sit still, so it jumps up once more and ii-Vs itself (G-7 C7) to F, this time for 2 bars, before cycling back for 4 bars (F-7 | Bb7  | Bb-7 | Eb7) to the tonic Ab.

Pretty slick for 1944
! Pretty slick for right now!

PictureOl' King Toot - Retro Style
And now for the TOOT!!

It's kind of difficult to comment on my own playing, but I'll give it a shot

OK, to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't think the results were decent enough, right?

I've been playing on people's tracks for a lot of years now, so I have a pretty good instinct for style, that tends to click in automatically, depending on the situation.

Play-a-longs are a great way to practice and learn the basics of a tune, but past a certain point, they can become confining and can actually limit what you can do harmonically. One work around for that is to mute the channel with the piano and play with only bass & drums. I love playing that way, anyway, with a strong bass player especially.

You need to know the tune really well, and have the ability to both define and move outside / inside the harmonic format, in order to make that work.

With this particular track, unfortunately one is unable to mute the piano, as it is recorded in stereo. The Aebersold play-a-longs allow you do this, but for this particular tune, I specifically wanted to play it in Ab concert, and this track is in that key, and swings nicely to boot.


One thing about this short solo, which lasts a chorus and a half, that I'm pleased with, is my use of false fingerings, both on the head and in the solo. Because the tenor key is Bb, I'm able to make effective use of the lower octave fingerings for middle range Bb, C, Db D & F, as well as alt fingerings for high C & D. I tend to move back and forth between the actual and alternate fingerings, creating a quasi "wah-wah" effect. Maybe, because I started out on bluesharp, I feel the need to do this. Maybe it's just oral gratification, I dunno.

I like the fact that I'm instinctively using space, especially after flurries of 16th notes, that allow the very together and well recorded rhythm section to come through.

I also like the fact that there's a pretty fair amount of rhythmical diversity in the solo; i.e., a mixture of swung eighth notes, sixteenth note groupings; a few quarter, eighth and sixteenth note triplets, thereby avoiding a flow of any one rhythmic division exclusively (constant streams of eighth or sixteenth notes, etc.).

Range-wise, it spans from tenor low Eb to altissimo Ab; so 2 1/2 octaves, for a chorus and a half. OK..

The only thing that bugs me a little bit is that the first two 16th note phrases (bar 6 and 9-11) feel a bit rushed to me, but maybe not terrible enough to do a Disney on it.

Harmonically, it's pretty straight up. Linear, for the most part, with a few Melodic Minor (altered scale) devices thrown in on most of the ii-V7s.

Anyway, I don't know how "killin'" it all is, but I think I sound like I was having fun; which I was.

I hope you do too!

Have yourself a good Toot de Jour!

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Bb               Concert
B. Stern