Transfiguration – Gigi Gryce
Like many Gigi Gryce compositions Transfiguration has a tuneful, spirited melody. Gigi's alto sax solo transcription is also available.
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- Recording: Mal Waldron - Mal 1
- Recorded on: November 9, 1956
- Label: Prestige (PRLP 7090)
- Concert Key: E-flat
- Vocal Range: , to
- Style: Swing (medium up)
- Trumpet - Idrees Sulieman
- Alto Sax - Gigi Gryce
- Piano - Mal Waldron
- Bass - Julian Euell
- Drums - Arthur Edgehill
Gryce didn't record albums as a leader in 1956, possibly due in part to the fact that he was so busy recording as a sideman. The year began for him with three January sessions with the Teddy Charles Tentet. On March 1, he recorded on two tracks as one of several artists for an ABC Paramount "Know Your Jazz" segment. The following day, he recorded on the first session of an Earl Coleman date for Prestige. Within the same month, he also recorded with accordionist Mat Mathews.
On April 25, he was once again in the recording studio. This time, he was arranging and conducting four tracks for Betty Carter, including his own composition, Social Call.
On June 8, the Earl Coleman LP, started in March, was completed. Although it is unconfirmed, it's likely that Gigi was in the studio that day for the recording of his two compositions, Reminiscing and another great version of Social Call.
Three days later, Oscar Pettiford's "Orchestra in Hi-Fi" sessions started (June 11, 12 and 19), for which Gigi contributed eight arrangements, including three of his own originals: Nica's Tempo, Smoke Signal and Two French Fries.
On July 2 and 3, he did two sessions with the Tony Scott Orchestra before heading to the Newport Jazz Festival to play with the Teddy Charles Tentet. His next session was with Mal Waldron in November, featuring Transfiguration.
Learn more about Gigi Gryce at Noal Cohen's Jazz History website. Also see Gryce's discography.
Transcribed Alto Sax Solo: Gigi Gryce's delightful solo alto is available in three editions: E-flat (alto sax and baritone sax), B-flat (trumpet and tenor sax) and C treble clef editions (piano, flute, guitar).
On Gigi Gryce's Transfiguration, Mal Waldron's accompaniment is supportive and clear, using mainly four-note voicings within an octave. He often uses the basic chord change without adding many alterations. Notice his careful management of the Gm7 chord at B, which in this case, as a III chord, functions more as an E♭maj7 chord than a typical G-minor chord.
The à la series (in the style of) provides a sample chorus of voicings drawn from the song's original recording, but notated as footballs: simple whole notes and half notes, or the basic harmonic rhythm of the chord progression of the solo section. They are also annotated, showing the original chord symbol above the voicing, as well as any extensions below the voicing. The idea is that these voicings could be of varied uses to any level of pianist—a beginner pianist could play the music exactly as on the page and provide a supportive and harmonically hip sounding accompaniment to a soloist, while a more advanced pianist could use these same voicings with varied rhythms in the style of the recording. Ultimately, a pianist would be able to absorb how these voicings were derived from the chord symbols, and then be able to create their own.
November 28, 1925 – March 17, 1983
Gigi Gryce was a fine altoist in the 1950s, but it was his writing skills, both composing and arranging (including composing the standard Minority) that were considered most notable. After growing up in Hartford, CT, and studying at the Boston Conservatory and in Paris, Gryce worked in New York with Max Roach, Tadd Dameron, and Clifford Brown. He toured Europe in 1953 with Lionel Hampton and led several sessions in France on that trip. Read more...