Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Wild Irish Rose



Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!   In honor of St. Patrick's Day,  my selection for this blog post is

My Wild Irish Rose.    "My Wild Irish Rose" is an Irish-American tune written by Chauncey Olcott.   Olcott also write the more famous "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling".    The song was inspired by a visit to to Ireland that Olcott and his wife took in 1898.  During the visit, a young boy gave his wife a flower. When she asked him what it was called he replied "...a wild Irish Rose." She put the flower in an album, and later when her Olcott asked her for suggestions for a song title she opened the album, pointed to it and said: "There's the title for your new song."

I've have always been inspired by the beautiful, simple-sounding solo treatment of the song performed by Keith Jarrett on his "The Melody At Night"  CD.   Of course,  what he is playing is anything but simple!   He has different,  unexpected chord voicings in every possible place, modulations, and a wonderful lyrical texture,  woven across a lilting rhythm that is locked in solidly.

With my arrangement,  I try to take a little bit of that influence and create a sound that is in keeping with the spirit,  but is playable at my low level of ability.

The beginning of the song actually start the same as the Jarrett version from a transcription:  



This hopefully sets the simple pattern and lilting quality that is played throughout.  I quickly break from the transcription and into my own arrangement for mercy's sake:-)

Jarrett does a beautiful modulation from Eb into Ab,  and I also work a modulation to Ab into mine.  I do this both in the melody and in the improv section.

The form of the arrangement is:

- Melody once through AB
- modulate to Ab,  play melody A section
- modulate back to Eb play melody B section
- Improv AB
- modulate to Ab, Improv A section
- modulate back to Eb play melody B section
- tag ending
- gospel ending
- free ending

I added Celtic drums in the mix to add an extra air of Irish-ness to the song.  I also thought that I may have done this at a little bit too slow of a tempo,  and the drums help liven it up a bit.

My wild Irish Rose
The sweetest flower that grows
You may search everywhere
But none can compare with my wild Irish Rose

My wild Irish Rose
The dearest flower that grows
And some day for my sake
She may let me take the bloom from my wild Irish Rose

My wild Irish Rose
The sweetest flower that grows
You may search everywhere
But none can compare with my wild Irish Rose

My wild Irish Rose
The dearest flower that grows
And some day for my sake
She may let me take the bloom from my wild Irish Rose


The Melody at Night, with You is a solo album by American pianist Keith Jarrett recorded at his home studio in 1998 and released on the ECM label in 1999.It was recorded during his bout with chronic fatigue syndrome and was dedicated to Jarrett's second and then-wife, Rose Anne: "For Rose Anne, who heard the music, then gave it back to me".