Nick At T's – Herbie Nichols
One of Herbie Nichols' more Monk-esque compositions, which riffs on the upper extensions of m7♭5 chords. The bridge, however, is pure Nichols. A Piano Melody Transcription is available.
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- Recording: Herbie Nichols - Complete Blue Note Recordings of Herbie Nichols
- Recorded on: August 7, 1955
- Label: Mosaic (MR5-118)
- Concert Key: E-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (uptempo)
- Piano - Herbie Nichols
- Bass - Al McKibbon
- Drums - Max Roach
The bridge breaks away from this Monkery, starting with an eighth-note line that has all the Nichols essentials: downward leaps followed by upward steps, sequential descending arpeggios, and ending on the third beat (in this case in the third measure). The same phrase, which outlines a II-V7-I in G major, is repeated in E♭ major. Though Herbie's original manuscript shows the second phrase of the bridge as an exact transposition of the first, on the recording he plays F and C at the end of this second phrase instead of the G and D that he wrote, on both in and out heads; our lead sheet reflects how he played it. The C section is the same as the A section.
The intro is a little different from many Nichols intros, not being based on any part of the head. It's a simple, staccato phrase over two measures of Bmaj7♯5 and two measures of E13(♯11); the bass does not walk here but instead alternates a whole note and two half notes. As with Furthermore and 'Orse At Safari, the intro is followed by a four-measure drum break and reappears as a coda, where it is bookended by two four-measure drum breaks.
A Piano Melody Transcription is available for the in and out heads; click on the Piano Corner tab for more details.
Nick At T's was recorded in 1994 by bassist/cellist Buell Neidlinger on "Blue Chopsticks," an album of Nichols songs; another recording of this song comes from guitarist Richard "Duck" Baker's 1996 solo album "Spinning Song," also a Nichols tribute.
For the out head CLIP, he takes this entire melody/harmony structure two octaves up, with a slight variation: a three-note voicing in the left hand (again with the 7th on top), dropping to D♭ on the third beat for both the G and F chords for an unusual sort of pedal point. The last two measures of the out head's A sections are one octave above where they are on the in head, not two octaves as in the rest of these sections. Herbie returns to the original octave in the bridge, varying the melody a little in the C section. All important articulations are shown in this transcription, especially small accent marks where certain melody notes stand out just a little from the notes around them.
January 3, 1919 – April 12, 1963
Two years ago (January 3, 2019) we were at the Van Gelder Recording Studio celebrating Herbie's 100th birthday with his family and pianists Frank Kimbrough and Glenn Zaleski. Both Frank and Glenn each recorded a previously unrecorded Herbie Nichols composition, on the same piano Herbie played for his Blue Note sessions. These were the initial recordings that started my new project, the Herbie Nichols Solo Piano Summit. Read more...