Sir Felix – Jimmy Raney
An elegant medium-up song that starts in minor but ends in major. Transcriptions of Jimmy's solos are available for both the master and alternate takes.
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- Recording: Ted Brown - In Good Company
- Recorded on: December 23, 1985
- Label: Criss Cross Jazz (1020)
- Concert Key: D-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (medium up)
- Tenor Sax - Ted Brown
- Guitar - Jimmy Raney
- Piano - Hod O'Brien
- Bass - Buster Williams
- Drums - Ben Riley
The changes are again simple but very interesting, with some unpredictable movement. They start in B♭ minor, going to E♭ minor at the 9th measure, suggesting a sort of minor blues. In the last eight measures, however, the harmonies change direction: after a resolution back to E♭ minor, there's a final cadence in D♭ major.
The rhythm section starts with a 2-feel; on the B section there are pedal-like figures with bass playing the downbeat and a piano chord on the "and" of 2. The C section goes to a 4-feel, which is used for the solos as well.
Our lead sheets show the two-note voicings Jimmy Raney plays in the first two measures of the B section. Either line could work as the melody.
"In Good Company" is one of the very few recordings of Ted Brown between 1959 and 1999. It was only his second album as a leader, almost 30 years after his debut "Free Wheeling." A 1976 Lee Konitz session and two live albums in the Netherlands in 1987 are Ted's only other recordings from this period, before a resurgence in his career starting in the '90s that continues to this day.
Jimmy's solos are in the spirit of his melody—elegant and concise. He combines bebop vocabulary with simple, lyrical phrases that flow through the changes. It's interesting to note the similarities between Jimmy's solos on the two takes. At C of the head, he plays the same pickup but takes the line in different directions.
Jimmy's solos are noticeably similar on the master and alternate take for much of his first chorus and the beginning of the second. While they're never exactly the same (except for the last two measures of the first B), his phrases have similar lengths and general melodic direction. Clearly, he had figured out his own personal vocabulary for this set of changes.
In both solos, Jimmy frequently plays an eighth-note line over E♭ minor chords which encloses B♭ from below and above and then descends to enclose G♭ the same way. He plays this twice on the master take, three times on the alternate. On the latter take, the three appearances of this phrase all start in different places in the measure—beats 1, 4, and 3.
August 20, 1927 – May 9, 1995
Jimmy Raney was one of the most fluent and deft bebop players of all time, having assimilated the language of musicians such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Dizzy Gillespie in such a thorough manner that pianist Barry Harris, one of the world’s foremost bebop masters, once remarked that “Man this cat (Jimmy Raney) plays like Yard (Charlie Parker)!”’ Read more...