Saturday, October 25, 2014

Stormy Minor Monday

Ever get the feeling that you just want to sit down at the piano and play the blues?  I've been feeling that way recently,  coupled with a lack of energy to tackle another tough jazz composition,  coupled with knowledge that I am way overdue for doing some blues work,  coupled with my sense of shame for not being able to just sit down and play a 12-bar blues decently.

Well,  I can't just sit down and play anything decently,  but you really should be able to have a go at a 12-bar blues.  The time was right.

So I'm sitting down at the piano fiddlin' with  a Cm blues,  and it is beginning to sound to me like Stormy Monday.   Stormy Monday is my all-time favorite blues tune, and probably the only one that I know the words to.    I have the fabulous Eva Cassidy version,  and I've listened to it many, many times.  I went online to see what chords  most people are using for this song,  and I come to find out that it is a major blues,  not minor.

There are quite a number of excellent versions,  but as far as I can tell  they are all major, and all vocal treatments.   The chords,  keys,  time signatures,  melody,  melody spacing  etc.  are all played around with by the various artists.  The Allman Brothers chord voicings are copied by a lot of musicians.

I decided that I was going to do this as an instrumental (no choice there since I cant sing!),  and as a Cm blues.  I call it Stormy Minor Monday. In order to do this I had to change the chords to minor blues style chords.  It also meant that I couldn't play a melody for four verses - that would be snooze-ville for sure.  I had to change to more of a jazz tune structure  where I would state my version of a melody in the first 12 bars,  then do three choruses of  improv until restating the "head" again in the last verse.  

In the middle verses I throw in some guitar background soloing that I think meshes well with what I'm doing.    During the third verse I switch into major blues harmonies for a couple of measures.  I'm actually using the Allman Brother progression  dm7-em7-ebm7-am7-fm7   instead of  Ddim-Edim-Ebdim going into dm7b5-g7b9b13  like the rest of the song.   This momentarily seems to lighten the mood,  then it comes right back down.   It sounds like it works to my ear.  What about you?

Special credit to my constant companion Cliff for vocals throughout :-)  


Stormy Monday



They call it stormy Monday but Tuesdays just as bad 
They call it stormy Monday but Tuesdays just as bad 
Wednesday is worse and Thursdays also sad 

The eagle flies on Friday; Saturday I go out to play 
The eagle flies on Friday; Saturday I go out to play 
Sunday I go to church, hmm, 
Thats when I get down on my knees and pray 

I said Lord have mercy, 
Oh Lord, Lord, Lord have mercy on me 
Yeah Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord have mercy on me 
Don't you know I'm just trying to find my baby 
Won't somebody please send him on home to me 
Oh yeah

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me, 
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy on me, 
Don't you know I'm just trying to find my baby 
Won't somebody please send him on home to me


Eva Cassidy - Stormy Monday



Allman Brothers - Stormy Monday





1 comment:

  1. Well Ken, you did it again. The B-3 in the background really does the trick. Bring in the guitar came as a complete surprise after our discussion the other night.
    boy does it work well!
    Piano staying out front using the colorful chords is beautifully done.
    Keep up the great work.
    Best,
    Ed

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