Etudes

  • New songs, old year: songs for late December

    Jodi - Dexter Gordon A gorgeous ballad by a master of ballad playing.

    Please, Let Me Share This With You - Dexter Gordon (music) / Rachel Gould (lyric) Lyrist/singer Rachel Gould’s touching lyric creates a new valuable addition to the singer’s repertory.

    Blue Wail - Kenny Drew A great addition to your blues repertory: an intriguing melody with lots of rhythmic variety.

    Minor Scene - Gene Roland Another great medium up swinger by an often overlooked great composer/arranger.

    Later For You - Elmo Hope A challenging head based on standard jazz changes.

    Now, news about next year. We’ll be making some additions to the “Features” column.

    One addition will be ETUDES, which doesn’t mean you have to have new specially written music. Some heads also make great etudes. For me, Later For You is a perfect example, and I’ll tell you how I think you can best use it to your benefit: follow Charlie Parker’s advice: “Be able to play every melody in any key.” Elmo Hope’s Later For You exercises both your ears and your technical chops. Here is what I suggest:

    B-flat instruments: (1) Play the melody in A-flat concert (use your regular instrumental lead sheet). Trumpet players will play the B-flat lead sheet melody down an octave, except for one measure before D. (2) Next play the melody from the E-flat lead sheet: you’ll be learning the melody in the key of F. (3) Next play the melody from the C treble clef lead sheet: now you’ll be playing it in the key of A-flat.

    After you have the melody together in those three keys, pick any other key. Using your “ear,” see if you can play it in that new key. If you’ve really disciplined yourself in three keys, the next key should be a lot easier,

    If you already play a concert key instrument, then you should learn the melody in B-flat (from the B-flat lead sheet) and in E-flat (from the E-flat lead sheet).

    E-flat instruments, learn the melody in the B-flat instrumental key and the concert version key.

    Another useful category I’m working on is SAME CHANGES, where we’ll list the standard changes titles are based on. For example, Later For You is based on the chord progression of “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm.”

    And here’s a link I love to browse: the album covers, all on one page.

    Happy New Year!

    Don Sickler phone 212-741-1175 email don@secondfloormusic.com

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