Sunday, November 6, 2016

Autumn Leaves III

It's November, so it seems like the perfect time to take another crack at Autumn Leaves. This is now my third time around on this tune, and another completely different arrangement.

My first arrangement was quite a few years ago. That one was ballad style and had a lot of background accompaniment to fill in for my lack of full voicing ability with both hands. I really enjoyed putting together the overall sounds and the story about my family.

The second arrangement was done last year, and was much more complicated. This was was done in an uptempo waltz style, but was both re-harmonized and re-melodicized. I thought that the arrangement was really nice, but some of the solo sections with the band were a bit iffy. I loved that idea of a re-melodicized tune that is so identifiable that you can still easily tell what song it is.

This time, I m still working on solo studies. The arrangement starts with a full run-through at legato tempo with full Shearing chords. It then goes to them up-tempo section with alternating embellished moldy and staccato chords. I think that I got this from Wynton Kelley, but I haven't been able to find the exact performance where he does this.

The song then goes into a walking bass motif to finish out the verse. The Bb vamp then gets much faster and goes into a another waking bass verse. This time the walking bass is done is a call and response mode. One of the great suggestions from my piano teacher, Ed, was that call and response is a good way to work your way into greater comfort with more constantly flowing walking bass. I also break it up with some synchronous double octave lines.

With this very fast tempo in play, I then go into a section of very full chords with m11 voicings. This sounds nice as a switch from the bass lines. But we comes back to bass at the bridge.

Coming toward the end, we slow down get back to legato Shearing chords. But rather then end legato, I come back to walking bass at the bridge. The ending repeats 3 times , mixing up the tempos a bit.

Wynton Kelly Autumn Leaves

Cavatina II

Well, I've been on a long hiatus from posting to this blog.  Seven months!   There seems like there has been way too much to do in real life lately to spend time on blog.  Then when I did want to get back and do a few posts,  the blog was in a state of dis-array.   Once again,  the embedded music player that I was using is no longer supported.   Ugh.   I did find another one,   but it does seems as though it has numerous limitations.    I am using the SCM music player now.   It appears to not work on some mobile devices and does not support https.    So you would have to access the blog with http: in order to see the music player.  Lovely.   I somebody knows of another free music player for blogs,  I'd love to know about it.  Thanks

Now for the song.  Cavatina (From the Deer Hunter)   I have already done a treatment of Cavatina once in a prior blog post.   This is one of my favorite songs because it is so rich harmonically, and has a simple yet beautiful melody.   It has elements of a classical music feel also.   The first time that I tried an arrangement for it,  I played it as a waltz with a (virtual) trio.

I have been in a solid mode of trying to work on my solo piano studies with my teacher, Ed.  Maybe it was losing my ipod to my son Cliff,  or having my Band-in-Box software go four years out of date,  but I've felt that I really wanted to work more and more on the solo aspects of jazz piano.  Some days I might be getting to a point where I could actually pull some of it off.

This time I am playing Cavatina in 4/4  with the distinctive rhythmic vamp  that Kent Wehman came up with.  He, of course,  plays this with a full trio and it sounds great.   But between legato sections, and his rhythmic vamp with solos,  there seems to be enough  material to work as a solo number as well.

Monty Alexander's brilliant solo version of Cavatina was also a big influence on me as I was trying to come up with an arrangement.

I recorded this quite a while ago,  so I don't exactly remember everything that happening at the time. I do remember that I wanted to put in a solo passage that was "out",  and it sounds like I got that in there in a decent place.   It sounds like quite of number of different chords substitutions throughout as well.  Overall,  it is kind of a rhythmically challenged, muddy mess,  but that is part of the process I guess :-)

Kent Wehman

Monty Alexander Solo