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  1. #1

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    The winner is "Naima", a John Coltrane jazz standard. Below, you will find a backing track consisting of a BIAB jazz trio with an intro, 3 choruses, a standard ending and a lead sheet. Good luck with this song and have fun with it.

    wiz (Howie)

    Backing track---->

    Lead Sheet------->


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I can but the lead sheet looks way different than my real book Naima version which sounds very similar to Coltrane's recording. At the very least Howie's version will allow us to practise our 16th notes at a slow tempo.

    Edit: After trying to learn the first 4 bars of the melody I think that this tune is a perfect vehicle for me so count me in this month.
    Last edited by Liarspoker; 04-04-2016 at 09:11 AM.

  4. #3

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    I'll start us off, as I had a little time to play through this weekend.

    So my idea this month, since I really love this tune, is to post a few videos as my playing on it this is day 1, you're hearing below, I did not previously know this tune...So basically we'll see what a month of getting "inside" a tune can do for me.

    Last edited by mr. beaumont; 04-04-2016 at 08:53 AM.

  5. #4

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    So, to start an actual conversation--this is a cool piece that isn't really "functional" in it's first run through here is by ear, so you can hear a little tentativness as I'm working things out.

    Today, I sat down and tried to actually figure out what the "harmonic environments" I was hearing's where I'm at now:

    (I'll analyze in Ab, the common key, keep in mind to use the low open E as a pedal in my solo version I moved the tune up a half step)

    So the first four bars go between Dorian and Mixolydian sounds--to my ears. So a Bb Dorian sound to an Eb Dorian, then two descending dominant sounds to an Abmaj sound. Most charts seem to talk b5 or #11 on the dominants, which is cool, but the 13th is the most important note in those...

    In the bridge, we get a little Spanish...4 bars of Phrygian and Phrygian Dominant alternating...and then some stuff I'm not so sure what to call yet...I'll be reporting back again in a bit, once I can put a name to these note sets and not sound like an idiot.

  6. #5

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    Very nice!

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    I'll start us off, as I had a little time to play through this weekend.

    So my idea this month, since I really love this tune, is to post a few videos as my playing on it this is day 1, you're hearing below, I did not previously know this tune...So basically we'll see what a month of getting "inside" a tune can do for me.

  7. #6

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    I've never worked on this one before, either. I was thinking about it, and I never called this tune ever. Had it called on me, but there was always a horn player and a full combo.

    So when you talked about this one as a solo piece, I looked at it and there are some really interesting problems to solve.

    The thing I wrestled with was those pedals in the bass are important, but the original key is a beautiful key. I was remembering who wrote this one, too.

    I decided to play this one my steel string acoustic, too. John McLaughlin's "My Goals Beyond" is one of my favorite records, you know

    so I did sort of like you did and moved everything up a half step, then I tuned my A to a B so I'd have the pedal for the B section on an open string, then I tuned the whole mess down a half step back to the original key. Or at least the original key as it sounds on my turntable.

    so here is a sketch of the head and ending tag with my attempt at keeping the bass part going

  8. #7

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    Sounds great, Nate!

  9. #8

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    thanks, Jeff!

    yours also sounds really good. I was checking out how you played the pedal in the B part, too. That, I think is the more practical playing solution. I have a guitar in "Naima tuning" this month, which isn't how you would go about it in real life playing situations

    BTW, you got me into playing this one, so thanks! I've been having some fun with this tune. I got my old vinyl copy of Coltrane's Greatest Hits on the turntable. Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb on that cut with Trane. So that's my model.

  10. #9

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    i done a quick solo version, loving the interpretations so far

  11. #10

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    I'd like to talk a bit about harmonic analysis on this one. First, I want to note that the form is clearly ABA. It's unfortunate that the bass pedals aren't notated on the sample lead sheet, because those notes are important not just for the texture, but I think also for the real meaning of the harmony.

    The bass pedal in the A section is on Eb and in the B section it is on Bb. This bass motion alone would give us an ABA form in Eb, wouldn't it? How many times did the great composers go to the dominant key in the B section? Lots of times. So just tuck this idea of the bass parts outlining a form in Eb for now and I'll come back to this idea later.

    Now we note that the key signature is in 4 flats. The A section and the tune itself end on the Ab harmony. but you know what's missing? A leading tone. Look at the second bar. That Eb minor. That's Gb, not G natural in that chord. Remember, John Coltrane knew what the **** he was doing. The leading tone is intentionally flatted. Is this done to obscure or delay the Ab tonality, or is it done because Ab isn't really the key? (rhetorical question)

    There's some other things I noticed. Both parts cadence with an Eb in the melody and always in the same register. The melody and the bass part alone would put this tune in Eb. But there is no doubt that the Ab harmony is where this tune comes to rest. This is the engine on this tune. That right there. The outer voices outline a tune in Eb and the cadence is made in Ab. 2 + 2 = 4. The key to the complexity and beauty in the harmony is this combining the keys Ab and Eb.

    Now in the second part, the B section there is a B major. Very hard to reconcile that chord. But without this chord, I wouldn't even make the case for the key of Ab. In the B section, there is tension. A B major over a Bb pedal sure makes tension. But what is the relationship between Ab and B? Its a minor 3rd. Wasn't Coltrane exploring harmonic relationships of keys a minor 3rd apart around the time he wrote this one? So this B section goes back and forth between the tension chord and the release chord. the second phrase of the B section does the same thing, but it starts off on the triton sub of the Bb7 we've been using as home base in our tension/release

    anyway,so there are some of the things I noticed as I figure out an improvisational approach to this tune. I'm certainly not explaining everything, but I think I'm getting a grasp on what it is that makes the unique harmonic tension in this tune.

  12. #11

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    Yeah, the pedal tones are important...if you look at where Trane took this one a few years later, it's all about shifting note sets against pedals...and it's gorgeous...

    The version from "Live at the Village Vanguard Again" is just one of the best things I've ever heard...and Pharoah Sanders' solo is otherworldly...he goes so far start thinking, "awww, he's just blowing," and then BAM! he nails a resolution in a way that you realize he knew exactly where he was the whole time. It's magical.

  13. #12

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    I got to check that out. I have an old double vinyl albumn with Trane and Pharaoh called "Live in Seattle" or something like that. I'm going to dig that record out tonight. The version I have on his Greatest Hits, Trane doesn't take a solo, Wynton Kelly does a chorus on piano and then they come back and play the head out.

    back to the bass notes...I always saw this tune in Ab and thought of the pedals as just being the 5th in the bass, but I only gave this tune a cursory look over before the boys kicked it off in the past. After looking at it seriously, I'm not so sure that's really what's going on.

    One thing I always noticed about this tune was that the harmony is beautiful, but its also very fragile. Its pretty easy to play something that "breaks the spell" and effs everything all up. So why is that? Also, why is it so hard to find harmonic ideas that are different from the record but still work? That doesn't happen in jazz very often. That's what I mean by "fragile"

    I think the complexity comes from Trane purposefully not giving us an EbDom7 with a G natural leading tone. Its just enough to blur things. Is that the 5th in the bass or the root? We'll never know...and that might be the key to the whole thing

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller

    One thing I always noticed about this tune was that the harmony is beautiful, but its also very fragile. Its pretty easy to play something that "breaks the spell" and effs everything all up. So why is that? Also, why is it so hard to find harmonic ideas that are different from the record but still work? That doesn't happen in jazz very often. That's what I mean by "fragile"
    Boy is that a good point. It is remarkably fragile...

    I mean you take most standards...really, you got 12 notes to use, there's ones to land on and ones to pass through...

    But can't play bop on quote Miles, you gotta "play the pretty notes, M----------r."

    The melody is soooo important here. Which is interesting, because on the original, the melody is played so simply...long tones...and as Trane progressed with it, he added a lot. But the melody is still there, guiding all.

  15. #14

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    the melody has some very interesting things going on in it. One thing that strikes me is how many of those long notes are on upper extensions...either the 9th or the 13th. The only time you see a note lasting more than a single beat that isn't an upper extension is at the cadences... the Eb

    also notice that the first chord, that 9th of the Bb minor is also a 13th against the pedal in the bass. Not sure if there's any significance to that yet, but it is interesting.

    also, the opening of the B section puts that long note as the major 7th above the pedal, which is a very tense interval

    as I write this, I am beginning to realize that these intervallic relationships of the melody to the bass pedals on those long notes is what makes this tune fragile.

  16. #15

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    Yeah, if you play the chords without the pedal, it loses all of that.

    It's a "modal" jazz piece, really...

    I'm noticing I'm having an easier time creating melodic lines if I treat the pedal as the in the beginning, NOW I'm thinking E mixolydian to E dorian. The notes don't change, but my approach does.

  17. #16

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    see, I was starting to think like that last night, too. I even looked at the notes in each of the chords to see if there were ways of seeing those harmonies in Eb. I was thinking that first chord might be another voicing for an Eb6, but there's an Ab in there and all that. I came up empty, but I was finding all these good arguments for seeing this in Eb, I just had to take a look

  18. #17

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    I'm thinking there's something to this...relating everything to the pedal...the drone...

    I've been giving it a good workover the last few days...I'll do another video soon...I'll just cut right to the improv, take a chorus or two, see what comes out.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzthebee

    There is a leading tone on the second last chord of the A section. I guess most charts say A13 or A7b5, which would contain G, and essentially outlines Eb7#9#5.

    well spotted! yes, that's the tritone sub for the A13 and there's a G in there for sure. Here I was focused on why the Eb minor in the 2nd bar, but there's a leading tone right where you'd expect: leading to the cadence

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzthebee

    The weird thing is I hear Gma7, not Gmaj7#5 or Gma7b5 (which would normally be part of A13 or Eb7alt). Even though the melody hits Eb, there seems often to be a D in the piano chord. Gma7/Eb!!!

    In fact I hear the preceding chord as Amaj7. To confirm this, just listin to the tag at the end a few times and you'll hear the E to D to Eb in the voice leading.

    The A section can be thought of as a constant structure idea over a pedal tone, with the melody always on the Ma7:

    Dbma7, Gbma7, Ama7, Gma7, Abma7, all over an Eb pedal.

    The B section can also be thought of as types of Ma7 chords over a pedal, also with the melody always on the Ma7:

    Bma7, AbdimMa7, Dma7b5, Abma7, Ema7b5 all over a Bb pedal.

    very interesting. "Dbma7, Gbma7, Ama7, Gma7, Abma7, all over an Eb pedal." I think you are onto something there with the first chord a Dbma7. That is the same chord that starts the B section, too, it just has a different relationship to the bass note in the B section

    that right there actually makes a lot of sense, fuzzy.

  20. #19

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    I'm guys are hearing the last chord of the A section as a dominant sound?

    I'm hearing maj7...over the pedal really more like a maj6 chord with the pedal as the root...

  21. #20

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    no, I'm hearing an Abma7 at the end of the A section for sure. I was talking about the G leading tone in the A13 in the 3rd bar. He was talking about hearing a Gma7/Eb in that spot which would give you all the notes of an Eb7#5#9

    but all that is about the chord in the 3rd bar leading into the Abma7

    it gets a little confusing for me, though, because I moved the tune up a half a step on the fretboard. I'm talking about the tune in the key its written, but all my mental images are a half step up from there
    Last edited by Nate Miller; 04-05-2016 at 03:44 PM. Reason: for clarity

  22. #21

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    Ah, I see.

    Ok, so in the original key, I hear....or I should say, my brain WANTS to hear...those two chords in bar 3 as a Gbmaj9/Eb and a Emaj9/ 5th in either...
    Last edited by mr. beaumont; 04-05-2016 at 04:15 PM.

  23. #22

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    I noticed that too. I sort of took an adapted Schenkerian approach to analyzing this at one point last night. Another thing I noticed is that both phrases end on the same Eb in the same register.

    In the A section, we are filling in the space from the C to the Eb.

    In the B section, it starts with a smaller interval, but look what happens at the end of that phrase. The only time we get the second degree of the scale above that Eb in the B section (I'm saying 2nd degree because melodically I am taking Eb to be the first degree) but the only time we get it is in the middle of a triplet that then immediately goes up to the highest note up to this point in the B section.

    then we complete the B section by filling in from the Db to the Eb

    the upper and lower bounds of the two sections was something I'm thinking about as I think about how to approach improvising solo guitar on this one.

  24. #23

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    So what are you guys gaining by "compartmentalizing" the harmony? It's interesting to me, but it doesn't seem particularly useful.

    I've actually decided the tune is pretty simple...An opening sequence that goes from dominant to minor, then a cadence to a point of resolution.

    The bridge is all about Phrygian/P. Dominant sounds against a pedal, and that cool Lydian Dom chord...

    Anyway, that's how I see vid coming today, I think.

  25. #24

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    I worked a bit on this last night. I've got a nice little chord-melody arrangement using the Real Book changes, but haven't done any improvising with it. I'm going to try not to analyze it too much, but just play and see what sounds good.

  26. #25

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    While it is quite easy one (to memorize), I don't think it is simple, at all. You can harmonize it in so many ways, with pedal, or without and still sound pretty good playing along Coltrane's band. Problem is, nothing sounds good enough. There is always one note in excess, making unpleasant tension. Like someone said above, seems Coltrane's way is the only real way. Even in original recording, as soon as pianist tried to do "his thing" it crashed at wrecked, IMO, of course. Luckily enough, he was smart enough to realize how inadequate and not try doing it again.
    That's what makes Coltrane great. It's his song, all the way, not some random Jazzy junk standard progression to blow over.

    BTW, my hobby horse, that's why people don't like listening to instrumental Jazz for extended period of time, first place, they sense it as being some generic junk to blow over, or force hardness where it's no place, without strong appealing personal touch. That's why it's so fit for elevator music.