Daily Licking 034: 1st Chorus of Clifford Brown on "PentUp House"


Another new one today. And, yes, I realize there are multiple tunes in progress, but hey, I get bored easy. So piano, tenor, trumpet, bass...that should do it for a while. Maybe.

After Mr. Evans and Mr. Coltrane, Clifford Brown is almost easy to transcribe. His tone is so clear, there is no ambiguity in either his notes or his rhythms, his execution is very, very precise. It's like he plays piano, but just with his mouth.

Hopefully, you know who Clifford Brown is. He probably would be the most famous trumpet player ever if he didn't die so young, but he was already well on his way to being that anyway.

The way he plays is just about the definition of bebop, the note choices, the phrasing, it is classic, the pinnacle of the style.

This particular tune, written by Sonny Rolllins, is a ii-v fest, the entire short tune (only 16 measures) consists of nothing but two-five one progressions that take you through 3 different keys on its short but merry journey.

The tune goes:
ii- v - I in G majj (G for two measures)
ii- v - I in G maj
ii - v in C maj
ii - v in Bb maj
ii - v - I in G maj
From an improvisational stand point, the things you would be thinking are..."I can use F# for 8 measures, during the G major, then switch to no sharps or flats for two measures, then switch to playing Bb's and Eb's (for the two measures of Bb major) and then back to G Maj, with just the F#"

Of course, someone like Mr. Brown is gonna play a few extra special notes as he goes through all this, and if you wanna learn how to build a solo that has a beginning a middle and an end, well pull up a tuffett and have a seat and see how it is done.

For example:
  1. The Sparse Beginning - He doesn't come out guns a blazin', he leaves himself somewhere to go by starting off very, very simple. He picks one little ol' note, the D, and milks it through the the entire first four measures. He rides the D when it starts out as the 11/4th of Amin, then it becomes the root of D7, and the finally the 5th of GMaj. Sneaky. Finding common tones that span multiple chords and highlighting them. Write that one down, huh?.
  2. Development - aka repetition, our old friend. He doesn't just play one phrase, then another, then another, he links ideas together and uses snippets of what he played previously to do it. The first 8 measures are basically just two ideas that get progressively developed. Also, measures 9 and 11 use the same rhythm (like we saw Mr. Evans do yesterday).

  3. Chord Tones, Chord Tones, Chord Tones. This is a textbook example, in fact this is where the style comes from! The only measures he starts with the root of the chord are measures 8, and 15, at the end of a phrase when he has a 1 chord to come to rest on. Every other measure of the solo, he starts with 5ths, 4ths,3rds, and 7ths. So remember, even though we play bass, don't just reach for the root every time your solo comes around! In measures 5, 6, 11, & 15 he just goes straight up or down the chord, just not starting on the root. And it sounds great!
Right down the Amin7 from the 7th - G E C A E
Right up the D7 from the 3rd - F# A C D
Down the Cmin triad from the 5th - G Eb C
Down the Gmaj triad from the root - G D B G
So tons of goodies on this one, he takes a total of six choruses of nothing but by-the-book ii-v licks.

So stay tuned for more.
Pent-Up House - Clifford Browns Solo Chorus 1

Pent-Up House - Clifford Browns Solo Chorus 1
bass lick 4/4 tempo 200 | Amin7 r4 d4~ d4~ d8 r8 | D7 r8 b8 r16 c#16 d8~ d8 bb4. | GMaj r4 r8 d8~ d8 a4.| GMaj r4 r8 b c d d# e | Amin7 g e c a e r g e | D7 f# a c d f c c# e| GMaj d bb r b d f#- r a+ | Gmaj g d8~ d4 r2 | Dmin7 r8 g+ e c8 r8 a8 f e | G7 d a c bb b g+ r4| Cmin7 r8 f+ d bb r8 g eb c| F7 b+ g bb g a eb d g | Amin7 e8 f4 f#8 r8 a8 c d | D7 [f8 e eb] d bb gb eb [ab16 bb16 ab16] gb8 | Gmaj g8 d b g d+4 r4| Gmaj r1 |

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