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hgweber

Frank Paparelli

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this may be one of the strangest piano solos i've ever heard. genius or accident? any thoughts?

 

 

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I like it!  Left turns a plenty.

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What happened this guy? The two tracks for Guild - the other, Groovin' High was rare for a long time - were his only session, Same for the bass player Murray Shipinsky. 

Edited by mikeweil

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Weird in what way. Maybe it’s the quality of the recording?

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The piano solo reminds me of some early Argonne Thornton/Sadik Hakim solos with its chromatic runs. That and some Monkish intervals. But was Monk's style known on the scene by the time these tracks were recorded?

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1 hour ago, mikeweil said:

The piano solo reminds me of some early Argonne Thornton/Sadik Hakim solos with its chromatic runs. That and some Monkish intervals. But was Monk's style known on the scene by the time these tracks were recorded?

yes. i think paparelli was quite familiar with monk's style. the first chorus has some really sloppy monk runs. the first two bars of his second chorus, i have no idea what he's doing. sounds pretty far out.

http://www.frankpaparelli.com/bio.htm

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Versatile man, Mr Paparelli:

51PQ5XVP0SL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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Hi Holger! One reason it sounds weird is because he's not playing off the blues form like all the other solos on the tune. It's some type of weird little section of turnarounds they added for the piano. He does use some Monkish descending runs, but it sounds weird because he keeps playing the flat two note (the third of the VI7 chord in the turnaround) when we expect to hear some type of blues progression.

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4 hours ago, hgweber said:

 the first two bars of his second chorus, i have no idea what he's doing. sounds pretty far out.

http://www.frankpaparelli.com/bio.htm

I don't have perfect pitch but do have semi-good reflexes, which is jut to say that it sounds to me like he starts out playing a half-step above the key, resolves and the immediately moves to the trione ("flatted fifth") chord which then resolves to the expected IV chord.

So if you're in Bb, it would be

B  Bb| E   | Eb....

//  //   | //// |//// etc

Not sure that's looking right on screen, and not 100% that's exactly what's happening, but again, that's what it sounds like to me just by ear.

You're right to hear it as "out", especially for its time (remember, though, that a lot of stuff happened during the Recording Ban that made bebop sound even more radical than it already was to consumer ears), but it's really a rather uniquely phrased (and yes to the Monk influence!) use of what were then becoming popular applications of then-"modern" harmonic ideas:

  • Playing a half step above the home key. This works theoretically, because if you're in, say Bb, the V chord is going to be F, and you can always replace one dominant with its equivalent a tritone away (to explain this further, we'd have to look at common tones and resolution expectations...yuck!), but that's a fancy way of saying that if you're going to play a figure from an F7 over a Bb chord, no biggie, because it has the ear expecting it to resolve anyway. So you can just as well play a figure from a B7 over a Bb chord, and although it might be a little more jarring to the expectations, it's ok, because there's still the implicit resolution expectation in place.
  • The use of the tritone substitution going into the IV chord. The same principles as above apply here, jsut with slightly different functionality. If you're in Bb, your IV chord is going to be Eb. At the same time, the V of the IV chord (Bb) is the same as the tonic, Bb. So to do a tritone sub of that Bb give you an E, which resolves quite naturally to the Eb.

And easier way to put it is that the closest gravity points in ANY chord are those a half-step away. Conventional diatonic harmony likes to run it as the circle of fifths, but imo, that's a bit of taming of the beast, so to speak, Half-tones away are the strongest pull,

Also, coincidentally both of these maths are used, albeit for a whole different impact, in a BIG lot of straight-up blues environments. Those cats knew how to cut to the chase,

Sorry if that's too inside baseball.

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  6 hours ago, hgweber said:

 

Very interesting article - answers many questions. The Black Lion Tatum album has long been suspect, and I had heard Paparelli's name mentioned as the possible pianist. This confirms it. It would be nice if some of the material she possesses could be made available for those of us who are interested. 

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Interesting thoughts.

Of course Blue´n Boogie with Diz and Dex is a classic and I´m glad I have the Groovin High with Dexter also, and indeed it was hard to find for some time.

About the piano style. I noticed, that many young piano players who started to play "Bop" had difficulties to play flowing lines, many of them seemed to think about "Bop" as a more abstract form of "jazz". It sounds like those pianists thought "Gee that´s something weird, we don´t really understand it but let´s try to play "weird" also.

When Bud played with other bop stars like Bird, Dex, J.J., it never sounded abstract or weird, he had the same ideas like those bop giants.

But listen to Al Haig when he started with Diz. He sounded "stiff", but 2 years later he sounded  beautiful. He sounds like a piano novice in 1945 and doesn´t really know to play a bop solo but later with Wardell Gray in 1949 or with Bird in 1949/50 or with Getz about the same period, he had learned a lot and sounds great.

Others .... I have difficulties listening to them. One is a Georgy Handy who plays on a 1946 track, something like "Tempo Allstars" but it sounds terrible to me, stiff and withouth melody. But I must admit when I started to play, I also sounded terrible. I Wanted to sound like Bud and didn´t have no idea how to finger it. When I wanted to play a solo, it seemed to sound like someone practicing chromatic scales. I felt something is wrong with it, and especially when listening back to it, took a lot of listening to good music to get it together, those learning years were hard....

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10 hours ago, sgcim said:

Hi Holger! One reason it sounds weird is because he's not playing off the blues form like all the other solos on the tune. It's some type of weird little section of turnarounds they added for the piano. He does use some Monkish descending runs, but it sounds weird because he keeps playing the flat two note (the third of the VI7 chord in the turnaround) when we expect to hear some type of blues progression.

hey steve. it's just a blues in Bb during the opening piano solo

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10 hours ago, JSngry said:

I don't have perfect pitch but do have semi-good reflexes, which is jut to say that it sounds to me like he starts out playing a half-step above the key, resolves and the immediately moves to the trione ("flatted fifth") chord which then resolves to the expected IV chord.

So if you're in Bb, it would be

B  Bb| E   | Eb....

//  //   | //// |//// etc

Not sure that's looking right on screen, and not 100% that's exactly what's happening, but again, that's what it sounds like to me just by ear.

You're right to hear it as "out", especially for its time (remember, though, that a lot of stuff happened during the Recording Ban that made bebop sound even more radical than it already was to consumer ears), but it's really a rather uniquely phrased (and yes to the Monk influence!) use of what were then becoming popular applications of then-"modern" harmonic ideas:

  • Playing a half step above the home key. This works theoretically, because if you're in, say Bb, the V chord is going to be F, and you can always replace one dominant with its equivalent a tritone away (to explain this further, we'd have to look at common tones and resolution expectations...yuck!), but that's a fancy way of saying that if you're going to play a figure from an F7 over a Bb chord, no biggie, because it has the ear expecting it to resolve anyway. So you can just as well play a figure from a B7 over a Bb chord, and although it might be a little more jarring to the expectations, it's ok, because there's still the implicit resolution expectation in place.
  • The use of the tritone substitution going into the IV chord. The same principles as above apply here, jsut with slightly different functionality. If you're in Bb, your IV chord is going to be Eb. At the same time, the V of the IV chord (Bb) is the same as the tonic, Bb. So to do a tritone sub of that Bb give you an E, which resolves quite naturally to the Eb.

And easier way to put it is that the closest gravity points in ANY chord are those a half-step away. Conventional diatonic harmony likes to run it as the circle of fifths, but imo, that's a bit of taming of the beast, so to speak, Half-tones away are the strongest pull,

Also, coincidentally both of these maths are used, albeit for a whole different impact, in a BIG lot of straight-up blues environments. Those cats knew how to cut to the chase,

Sorry if that's too inside baseball.

yeah, i thought along similar lines. i think he maybe was going for the B7 E7/ A7 D7/G7 C7/ F7 Bb7/etc. cliche. but it sounds so unlike all the standard licks and cycle runs that were played over that progression at that time by byas et al.

btw to me the cycle of fifths (i actually prefer to see it counter-clockwise as the cycle of fourths, since chords *fall* a fifth to their resolution) and the chromatic scale are just two sides of the same coin. 

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18 hours ago, hgweber said:

hey steve. it's just a blues in Bb during the opening piano solo

Yeah, it's 12 bars, but I hear that B natural in the 4th bar as leading to the ii chord, Cm7, which he plays instead of the IV chord Eb7, then he plays the standard blues changes.

In the second chorus he does what Jim said, uses the tritone sub E7 to get to the IV chord. In any event, I'm glad he passed his civil service exam...:g

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