400 Years Ago, Tomorrow – Walter Davis, Jr
Alternating styles, time signatures and feels make this composition a wild ride! Solo piano arrangement with exclusive MP3 audio available.
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- Recording: Walter Davis, Jr. - Scorpio Rising
- Recorded on: June 27, 1989
- Label: SteepleChase (SCS 1225)
- Concert Key: E-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (uptempo)
- Piano - Walter Davis, Jr.
- Bass - Santi Debriano
- Drums - Ralph Peterson
Our lead sheets show an alternate ending, more along the lines of trumpeter Woody Shaw's 1982 "Master of the Art" version. Two choruses of out melody, the second time to the Coda, where the tempo becomes slower then ritards into a hold (fermata) on what would have been the first chord of letter D's last section. Woody Shaw's ending actually just does a slight ritard into this last chord, ending at D.
On Walter's two recordings, he plays the A section (as is) as an interlude, soloing from B through D. On the Woody Shaw sextet recording, the group included both piano and vibes, so someone was always available to play the recurring A theme, letting the soloist continue soloing over the A theme.
Ending: Walter's recordings offer two ending variations.
1) On his solo piano recording he ends with an extended left hand tremolo at the last D section, arpeggiating and soloing on top of it.
2) On his trio recording, after the solos he returns to play two complete choruses of melody, then plays A again and vamps and solos over the A section, eventually fading out.
Our photo of Walter was taken by a neighbor, Paul Barth, a very talented photographer who has an interest in jazz. We were lucky to come to know him in the 1980s, when we didn't have a camera but did have amazing and unforgettable musicians as daily visitors. We are very grateful that Paul kept his negatives.
September 2, 1932 – June 2, 1990
Walter's piano playing was influenced strongly by Bud Powell, and he had that Bud Powell energy in his piano playing. Like many of the other talented players coming up in the 1950s, Walter's ears were wide open to everything good. For example, he listened to Stravinsky with Bird and Dizzy, and in later years, you could find Walter hanging with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Read more...