Templejazz

Softly as a Morning Sunrise

36 posts in this topic

Thanks, Soul Stream!

It's great to see most of the familiar names here! (I'm not too sure whether I like all those pictures, though. :) )

Sure, bring on the Sonny Clark any time. I especially love those bell-like, twinkling tags that he throws in at the end of some pieces. It's off-topic, but I have really been enjoying "Leapin' and Lopin'" recently - I have the JRVG.

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How about LD's version on Sunny Side Up. Sonny is hard to beat, though.

Shrdlu good to see you. Wondered how you were.

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I’m surprised nobody’s yet mentioned the hornless, dehorned or horn-impoverished version on the new Miles Blackhawk set. It’s such a jaunty rendition.

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That's 'cos we are still waiting for our new sets to arrive! :)

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When I first heard "Spiritual", I could not figure out what those chords were that McCoy was using! Then, one day, I worked it out while doodling on a piano: he was using three notes a fourth apart with a top note a major third above that (e.g. D, G, C, E) plus various root notes in the bass. This approach opens things up a lot harmonically.

C major traid with the 9th in the bass.

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Yes, it is, but it sounds the way it does because of McCoy's inversion into that particular order. In theory, it is nothing new or amazing, but McCoy was the first pianist I that I heard doing it. When Eric Dolphy was scoring "Africa/Brass", he basically just gave the horns McCoy's chord voicings; he had to ask McCoy which voicings he was using.

You won't hear those voicings in the late 50s work by Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Sonny Clark and the others.

In other news, the new Miles box has arrived, and promises to be some good listening. Four hours of music!

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You won't hear those voicings in the late 50s work by Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Sonny Clark and the others.

Is that true? Off the top of my head, I'd say the Bill Evans voicings from the start of 'So What' on KOB are stacked fourths with the a thjird on top...Can't remember though. Either way, I still take the point that it wasn't a common sound!

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Yeah, that's the point. Sure, Bill uses them there, but none of the other pianists sounded like McCoy at that time, and Bill did not voice that way a lot. Trane himself said so. I forget where the quote is, but Trane said that McCoy's voicings sounded different from those that others used.

That example that I gave (D, G, C, E), though possibly C9, has an ambiguous sound that opens things up. You can use more than one root note in the bass with it. You can also stack D, G#, C#, F next to it, as a passing chord.

A classic use of this chord "shape" is in the descending melody of "Dahomey Dance", where the trumpet, alto and tenor just play notes taken from it, taking their lead from McCoy. I used to play that tune a lot, and was always glad if we could round up three horns for the melody. By the way, André Prévin was given that piece in a Feather Blindfold Test for Down Beat, and described it as "annoying and horrible"!

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Yeah, that's the point. Sure, Bill uses them there, but none of the other pianists sounded like McCoy at that time, and Bill did not voice that way a lot. Trane himself said so. I forget where the quote is, but Trane said that McCoy's voicings sounded different from those that others used.

Absolutely agree! I'm not quite sure what my point was, in fact! It is a pretty un-Bill Evans voicing. I guess it's the touch that gives him away, because you couldn't pick those opening chords of 'So What' on their voicing, that's for sure. McCoy is certainly unique in his sound.

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Further point: the word is that Gil Evans arranged the opening to "So What". Whether that extended to the actual chord voicings, who knows. By the way, Wynton uses those fourths in the Blackhawk version of this piece, but only in the opening (I am hearing the Blackhawk stuff for the first time at the moment); seems as if they are considered as part of the composition.

I traced the Trane quote about McCoy. It was in a logical place: the notes to McCoy's first album under his own name, "Inception", though I think I have seen these remarks somewhere else too.

"He also gets a very personal sound from his instrument; and because of the clusters he uses and the way he voices them, that sound is brighter than what would normally be expected from most of the chord patterns he plays."

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I'd not be at all surprised if Gil arranged that intro to "So What" (we ARE talking about the solo piano, right?). But I'd not be surprised if it was Bill who came up with it. Either way, it was an Evans!

Either way, Gil orchestrated it for large ensemble, and beautifully so, for the 1961 Carnegie Hall concert. As beautiful as it sounded on piano, his orchestration really takes it somewhere else.

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