Daily Licking 026: Back to Coltrane - Chorus 5 of Mr. P.C

Okay, after having to resort to repeated listening of "Music Box Dancer" in order to offset the Coltrane that has been bored into my ear holes, it is now possible to resume with our next chorus of the merciless onslaught. Steel your loins. If you have them.
He is not happy with just playing "wrong" notes all over the place, he is double-dog-daring someone to call him on it. He is saying, "hey, its not enough for you when I play the major seven huh, well how about if it is the very first note of an entire chorus, huh, now what you are gonna do? Huh? Oh you gonna do something now?".

Because that's what the man does, on the very first note of the entire chorus on beat 1 of measure 1 - honk - big ol' major seven. AGAIN. He is clearly just into flouting chordal conventions.

And guess what. He does it again in measure 12, plays the exact same little cell of four notes - b,g,a,b - but then for the second half of the bar uses a different pattern. He has an entire catalog of those little re-useable cell note groups that he busts out all over the place. This entire chorus is a by-the-book example of it.
Cell Variations
Look at measure 3. Now look at measure 8. It's ALMOST the same pattern, but he mixes it up. In measure 3 he goes - g eb d f - but in measure 8 he goes - g eb f d. He uses the same cell of four notes but just varies the order of the notes as he see fit. On the fly. At over 200 bpm. Yea.

It is the same concept as was discussed here, and here too, but instead of using only chord tones, he uses the first notes of the scale - d eb f g. But the recipe works exactly the same: take any 4 notes you want, and there are 24 different combinations they can be played in. And he knows it. It is truly frightening that he can think at this tempo and make such subtle adjustments as to just switch two notes around at 230-ish bpm.

Check out measure 1 and measure 7, he does a variation of it again. These are not accidents. In measure 1, he plays the 4 note cell - b g a b - and in measure 7 he plays almost the same cell, he just doesn't repeat the b, he uses a d - g a b d - and then follows it with the same phrase both times for the second half of the measure.
Sounds Familiar
Listen to measure 5. I know I have heard that in some classical thing before. It might be Mozart or Beethoven or something, but it is very familiar. Now, Coltrane might not be quoting anyone (although he did do that sometimes), he is just using chord tones (almost exclusively) so it may just be that some other musical genius like 'Trane found that same phrase interesting a hundred or so years ago and turned it into a string quartet or a symphony or a madrigal or a minuet or some other thing they used to do their high fallutin' prancing around to before they discovered things like electricity and toothpaste.

Bonus points if anyone can identify that phrase, or one very similar, it might not be exact.
See the Enclosed
In measure 4, there isn't a more text book example of a device called an enclosure (or appoggiatura depending on where you are and who showed them to you) than that. He is setting up the F (the root) on the 1 on measure 5, and he tees it up with a chromatic approach from below, to a whole step above approach. This is another little cell you can move around, just keep the relationships the same, but point the cell to surround the note you want target.

Ed Byrne has entire books about these kinds of approaches, Don Mock has done a book about them, and Hal Galper has a chapter about them in his "Forward Motion" book. This little lick is a classic example.

To see what the heck I am talking about, take that same cell/pattern/lick and move it up to surround each note in the chord. For example:

bass lick 4/4 tempo 120 | Fmin7 r2 e8 eb e g | f2 g8 gb g bb | ab2 b8 bb b d | c2 d8 db d f | eb2 e8 eb e g | f1

And here it is with a little more ridiculoso sprinkled upon it. See how the notes have the same relationship every time - start with a half-step below the note you are going to hit, then go down another half-step, then go back to the first note, then jump OVER the target note to the next note in the scale (or a whole step above), then, finally, play the note you are setting up.

bass lick 4/4 tempo 120 | Fmin7 r2 r4 e16 eb e g | f4 g16 gb g bb ab4 b16 bb b d | c4 d16 db d f eb4 e16 eb e g | f1

There are a gazillion variations on these things - start a half-step above, jump to a whole step below, etc. etc. it goes on forever. But a lot them come from people reverse engineering licks from Charlie Parker, and guess who else - Coltrane.
Making Change
On the turnaround, he does that thing from a chorus or two before where he hops over to a note a half-step away as the chords change. He REALLY likes that run on the Ab7 where he starts on the b7 and goes up the entire 9th chord, this is the third or so time he uses it. But the the little cherry on top is that it ends on the 9 of Ab which is Bb, and that leaves him a nice half step away from B natural which just happens to be....the third of the next chord, G7.

So he just hops right over for a little half-step resolution. He plays ONE note and he picks the note that makes it so you can hear the chord change. And the very next bar? Starts with the same note, since it the natural 7 of C. Crazy.

I am including a half-speed version of just this chorus, but you should really get a copy of this album. It is one of the most famous recordings in the history of jazz, so it is worth having. I won't post the actual track, but since this is strictly for educational purposes, posting a chorus-length chunk at half-speed doesn't make me feel like a creepy music stealing turd. So go get this album if you don't have it, if you are into improv at all, this is a historically important demonstration of it, plus then you can listen to the entire thing whenever you want.

You can also go to the first installment of this series and click on the YouTube link to hear a copy someone else posted. Someone who obviously is not as concerned about being a creepy music stealing turd.
'Trane Himself - Half Speed
90 bpm for Bass
bass lick 4/4 tempo 90 | CMin7 b8 g a b c d eb f | g c g f8~ f4 f8 eb | g eb d f eb c r4 | r2 e8 eb e g | Fmin f c f ab g eb g bb | ab eb c ab d c bb ab | Cmin7 g16 r16 a8 b8 d8 c d eb f | g eb f d eb c g4 | Ab7 gb8 ab bb c eb gb ab bb | G7 b8 r8 r4 r8 [a16 b16 c16] d8 c | Cmin7 b g a b a f~ f8 r8 | Cmin7 r4 r8 f8~ f2 |
230 bpm for Bass
bass lick 4/4 tempo 230 | CMin7 b8 g a b c d eb f | g c g f8~ f4 f8 eb | g eb d f eb c r4 | r2 e8 eb e g | Fmin f c f ab g eb g bb | ab eb c ab d c bb ab | Cmin7 g16 r16 a8 b8 d8 c d eb f | g eb f d eb c g4 | Ab7 gb8 ab bb c eb gb ab bb | G7 b8 r8 r4 r8 [a16 b16 c16] d8 c | Cmin7 b g a b a f~ f8 r8 | Cmin7 r4 r8 f8~ f2 |

Until next time...

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