Nica Steps Out – Freddie Redd
A lively “rhythm changes” head with a pedal point intro and coda. Our piano melody part shows how Freddie plays the melody on the recording.
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- Recording: Freddie Redd - San Francisco Suite
- Recorded on: October 2, 1957
- Label: Riverside (RLP 12-250)
- Concert Key: B-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (medium up)
- Piano - Freddie Redd
- Bass - George Tucker
- Drums - Al Dreares
There is an intro which repeats a descending line over an F pedal. This line implies G♭7 to F; the lines and the pedal rhythm have a call and response structure. Eight measures of the pedal are followed by eight measures of stop-time breaks leading into the head. The coda is the same as the first half of the intro, leading to a final B♭13(♯11).
The melody as Freddie plays it has quite a wide range—two full octaves. Tenor saxophonists can play it in the same range as on the recording, but most other melody instrumentalists will have to take some of it up an octave (as shown on our C treble clef, B♭ trumpet, and E♭ lead sheets) or down an octave (as on our C bass clef lead sheet). We also have a single-staff piano part which shows the melody as heard on the recording. This part goes into bass clef for the lower sections of the melody.
It’s notable that Nica Steps Out is about the same tempo as Gigi Gryce’s Nica’s Tempo ; check out the Historical Notes for the first version of that song for a possible explanation.
May 29, 1928 – March 17, 2021
Pianist Freddie Redd, best known for his role as composer and actor in the play and movie "The Connection," started playing the piano when he was in the Army. Mostly self-taught, he learned while performing in clubs with other musicians. According to Nat Hentoff's liner notes to "Shades Of Redd," Freddie says he's "been influenced by many things I've heard on a lot of instruments. What I do is try to piece together what stimulates me into my own way of feeling things musically." Redd's music is simultaneously optimistic and knowing—it makes you want to play along with it, to join in the experience. Read more...