Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summertime Bebop

As I am experimenting with playing new songs and arrangements,  I often record them for posting on this blog.  The experiments naturally wind up as a mixed bag of results.   On my computer I keep the recorded results in different file directories.  If I feel that a version of the arrangement (and performance) is good enough for posting, then that is good.  The song gets saved in multiple locations including in the ubiquitous "Cloud".

I also have a "Bad" file for songs that just are not going to make it.  This is usually because I'm not good enough to play the arrangement that I want yet,  or I spent too much time on it and I'm wasting valuable time with my lessons so I want to move on.  But if it is in the "Bad" file there is some redeeming quality where I think I can come back later and make another run at it.

Then there are the rare few that don't even make it into the "Bad" file.  Those are really not good.  In general, the whole idea for the song is probably just never going to work.  These are apt to just get deleted.

Summertime Bebop  was one of the ones that didn't make it to the "Bad" file.  I was recently on the verge of deleting all of the files for it, but decided to listen to it once before deleting.  I found myself wondering why I didn't consider this good enough to be bad?  I worked on it last year, and like the sound of it now.

Then I remembered why it was put on the junk heap:  the feedback that I got was that Summertime is supposed to be approached as seriously as a heart attack.  The Gershwin classic been recorded over 25,000 times making it the most recorded popular song in history.   You can wring every once of emotion out of it as a slow number.  You can swing it, or play it in any fast style as long you bring every bit of chops that you have and make a standout statement full of sweat and drained of energy.  But what you can't do is treat it as a  low-cal snack that sounds cute.  That was the criticism of my version.  I really didn't see any way to fix that in this version, so it didn't make it to the "Bad" file. 

But at the end of the day, you like what you like - so I saved this one from death.  I hope you like it.....      

Geek Alert

This arrangement is done with a bebop quartet that features both piano and guitar.  Normally you would not have the guitar player doing chords while the piano player is also playing some chords,  but in this style it makes the groove work without clashing if you can be tasteful about it.

Wes Montgomery quartet with Piano and Guitar