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  1. #1

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    Our standard for Jan 2018 will be Take the A Train - by Billy Strayhorn (1941).

    Background:
    Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (Take the "A" Train)

    Contrafacts:
    Dextivity - Dexter Gordon (1947)
    Rhodomagnetics - Wilber Harden

    Best wishes for the coming new year!

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I just noticed that David (TruthHertz) is also doing Take the A Train this week, in his song-a-week thread.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?
    Last edited by M-ster; 12-31-2017 at 05:26 PM.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    I just noticed that David (TruthHertz) is also doing Take the A Train? this week, in his song-a-week thread.

    Commit to a song a week. What could a serious student hope to learn?
    Yes, but I think our approaches are broad and this piece is lovely enough to warrant the study. I have a relaxed and rigorous tune a week approach that introduces optional suggestions for deeper study every week. This week with A Train, I'm also including a challenging Etude that we can use to highlight and assimilate a working bebop vocabulary into our linear constructions. It's my intention that that etude will be ongoing beyond this week as my Rhythm changes thread was.
    I love it that we're on the same wavelength here at the start of the year. Let's have fun M-ster!

    David

  5. #4
    You need to do it with 100% confidence. Because what you got, it works. Drink a whiskey before recording. Or smash a window. That's what is missing. The notes were all good! Timing&feel also. No need to be shy anymore.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Drink a whiskey... smash a window...
    I don't think they let you play guitar in rehab

  7. #6

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    My take is after whiskey and beer......
    ...a little time problems....
    HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018

    Last edited by kris; 01-01-2018 at 02:15 PM.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    a little time problems....
    MORE VODKA!

    And Happy New Year too :-)

  9. #8

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    I put update after one vodka...much better...:-)...really!
    https://app.box.com/s/0zob3rv7zboyn6bkl6ajkiihz0cxi7hl

  10. #9
    This is good. I'll buy a beer or two and try this. Seems working.

  11. #10

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    I have to practise more...
    Ps.
    I will see my progress.
    Last edited by kris; 01-16-2018 at 02:22 AM.

  12. #11

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    So is this thread about how to learn these tunes? If so I've found the following the easyist way.

    1.) A section =8 bars
    2.)B section= 8 bars
    3.) AABA form =32 bar form
    4.)2 bar turnarounds = exit, or on ramps to A or B sections

    *Melody and Bass line are the guides, Harmony is the interpretation in between those 2., Memorize the melody first by singing or humming it. then look how bass line goes> upwards or downwards direction

    *Bridge sections always seem to go to the 4 chord, if not it moves usually in major or minor 3rds.

    ** Repeat over & over slowly until you are really familiar with Melody & Form!

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    So is this thread about how to learn these tunes? If so I've found the following the easyist way.

    1.) A section =8 bars
    2.)B section= 8 bars
    3.) AABA form =32 bar form
    4.)2 bar turnarounds = exit, or on ramps to A or B sections

    *Melody and Bass line are the guides, Harmony is the interpretation in between those 2., Memorize the melody first by singing or humming it. then look how bass line goes> upwards or downwards direction

    *Bridge sections always seem to go to the 4 chord, if not it moves usually in major or minor 3rds.

    ** Repeat over & over slowly until you are really familiar with Melody & Form!
    There are a lot of backing tracks on youtube.Try to sing and play with them.
    ...and the next try to play solos:

  14. #13

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    My goal is to learn to play at least two tunes a month and I think that I'll use this section to choose one tune.
    Good way to start with it.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by jads57 View Post
    So is this thread about how to learn these tunes? ...
    The Practical Standards thread is monthly and has been ongoing for a few years or more.

    I think it's more about posting one's take or interpretation of the tune-of-the-month. And maybe about making and discussing observations or insights gleaned after digging into the tune.

    But, of course, everyone posts at will, so it becomes what it becomes.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    The Practical Standards thread is monthly and has been ongoing for a few years or more.

    I think it's more about posting one's take or interpretation of the tune-of-the-month. And maybe about making and discussing observations or insights gleaned after digging into the tune.

    But, of course, everyone posts at will, so it becomes what it becomes.
    I have learned quite a few of the "tune of the month" songs over the past few years. I don't always post but have been exposed to new material and seeing how others approach the material has helped me get a start on the songs.

  17. #16

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    Over in the Robert Conti group this tune came up and I went ahead and learned the head, with a backing track, and put his exercise solo with it. So this isn't my improvisation, but the head is my own playing and ideas, modest though they might be. The Conti solo also has some good moments, though it's obviously a beginners' level solo to illustrate how lines go with chords.

    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post
    The Practical Standards thread is monthly and has been ongoing for a few years or more.

    I think it's more about posting one's take or interpretation of the tune-of-the-month. And maybe about making and discussing observations or insights gleaned after digging into the tune.

    But, of course, everyone posts at will, so it becomes what it becomes.
    Really began with the idea of presenting approaches for learners like myself, combined with posting PLAYING from players of all levels. It's kind of become something different I guess, not a good or bad thing necessarily.

    I would appreciate initial thoughts on approaches to playing and such personally, but these are great threads regardless.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by M-ster View Post

    I think it's more about posting one's take or interpretation of the tune-of-the-month.
    Well, that's what I thought, hence posting multi-versions. I have to say I never thought about sharing insights or describing my thinking because, frankly, no one else was doing it.

    But I think now I'll start that, a little at least. See what happens! I'm glad this has come up.

  20. #19

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    So, for me - and I won't repeat my version posted above - it's basically a train song. Not in the country music sense but a kind of trundle through the NYC subway, not all of it underground, basically heading up through Harlem to Manhattan. Perhaps that's quintessentially jazzy itself, that idea. It's also (how can I say this so it stays 'PC'; you know what it's like today) essentially a black-based idea, culturally. It's not swish nightclub stuff for rich white folks, or something like that. Although, I hate to say it, it may have ended up that way.

    Personally, I like that a great deal. One had the same kind of feel going round Brixton in London where I lived for some time. There was a totally different feel, socio-culturally, to what happened when you went back over the river to Victoria and into central London. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

    So there's that. It's a swing tune too, not bop or blues, although there are moments where the odd blues sound should happen. And happy, not in any way introverted. Whether an old Brit whitey like me can do it justice, of course, I don't know. Let's hope so.

    Musically speaking, it's very straightforward, just a few of the usual chords in C. The interesting point, of course, is the D7#11. The obvious thing to use is the wholetone scale but I found that sound became repetitive and predictable, especially as it repeats 3 times each chorus! So, personally, I used A melodic because it gave me greater scope. But I also put in a bit of wholetone and a touch of D alt (Eb mel). That was basically it. I found it had to bounce rather than glide so I did that too.

    Re. other versions, Ray Nance with Ellington played his simple but acknowledged swing trumpet solos. Oscar Peterson used wholetone double-stops beautifully but I did think Paul Desmond's sound glided a bit smoothly for the tune.

    Will that do?

    (And is that catchy lick a version of the Jimmie Rodgers yodel-oh-oo, yodel-oh-oo, yodel-oh-ooo??? :-))

  21. #20

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    Sorry, that's yodel-ay-ee-oh, yodel-ay-ee-ay, yodel-ay-eee. I just looked it up


  22. #21
    Chewed through once. Not at all like it was meant to be played I guess.

    train.mp3 - Google Drive

    edit: oh, I read the above comments and get it now. Next month, if I can, I try to do something complete instead of a cut.
    Last edited by emanresu; 01-03-2018 at 10:46 PM.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by emanresu View Post
    Chewed through once. Not at all like it was meant to be played I guess.

    train.mp3 - Google Drive

    edit: oh, I read the above comments and get it now. Next month, if I can, I try to do something complete instead of a cut.
    Going in good direction...nice!
    Best
    Kris

  24. #23

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    Hmm. See, I don't think you're playing 'Take the A train'. I think you're playing all kinds of clever stuff over the changes to that song. That's not the same thing. Where's the party? Where's the train? Where's the bubbling life? Where's HARLEM???!

    You might say 'But that's Jazz - you can do what you like with a tune, it's self-expression, it's jazz!'. I don't know. The professionals don't do that if you listen to them, they play the tune - that is, the spirit of the tune. The good ones do, anyway.

    Also, if the idea of the thread is to provide insights and musical advice etc about your thinking, where is that? I mean, something as sophisticated as what you were playing needs explanation to those learning, right? My stuff's easy but yours isn't.

    You don't mind if I speak frankly, I hope; that's what I feel about it.

  25. #24

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    I found spontanic jam version of Take A on youtube with me/guitar/...a little Scof feel...:-)...opps 2014...today I play different:


  26. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Well, that's what I thought, hence posting multi-versions. I have to say I never thought about sharing insights or describing my thinking because, frankly, no one else was doing it.

    But I think now I'll start that, a little at least. See what happens! I'm glad this has come up.
    Honestly, posting multiple versions has always been done . There's a balance somewhere. Usually first run early and then maybe an update or two on progress. Maybe completely different style on the second or third run. if you want to post more than a couple of versions , I'd say that's fine , but maybe just add a link to previous post or something Instead of new posts every time and multiple updates commenting on them. I think the main issue people were having was scrolling through pages and it kind of taking over, ore being multiple takes which were very similar etc. Anyway, I don't have any official say in anything. Those are just my thoughts.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Hmm. See, I don't think you're playing 'Take the A train'. I think you're playing all kinds of clever stuff over the changes to that song. That's not the same thing. Where's the party? Where's the train? Where's the bubbling life? Where's HARLEM???!

    You might say 'But that's Jazz - you can do what you like with a tune, it's self-expression, it's jazz!'. I don't know. The professionals don't do that if you listen to them, they play the tune - that is, the spirit of the tune. The good ones do, anyway.

    Also, if the idea of the thread is to provide insights and musical advice etc about your thinking, where is that? I mean, something as sophisticated as what you were playing needs explanation to those learning, right? My stuff's easy but yours isn't.

    You don't mind if I speak frankly, I hope; that's what I feel about it.
    I respectfully disagree. Yes, you can use the tune as a prompt for improvisation, great players have always done that. But equally, great players take the changes and launch their own improvisations. Some were so fresh and different they became their own named tunes (contrafacts). Someone not using the tune but playing their own ideas over the changes are doing what improvisors have always done, especially since the bop era began.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    Hmm. See, I don't think you're playing 'Take the A train'. I think you're playing all kinds of clever stuff over the changes to that song. That's not the same thing. Where's the party? Where's the train? Where's the bubbling life? Where's HARLEM???!

    You might say 'But that's Jazz - you can do what you like with a tune, it's self-expression, it's jazz!'. I don't know. The professionals don't do that if you listen to them, they play the tune - that is, the spirit of the tune. The good ones do, anyway.

    Also, if the idea of the thread is to provide insights and musical advice etc about your thinking, where is that? I mean, something as sophisticated as what you were playing needs explanation to those learning, right? My stuff's easy but yours isn't.

    You don't mind if I speak frankly, I hope; that's what I feel about it.
    When I improvise I think about Trane/Coltrane/....

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I respectfully disagree. Yes, you can use the tune as a prompt for improvisation, great players have always done that. But equally, great players take the changes and launch their own improvisations. Some were so fresh and different they became their own named tunes (contrafacts). Someone not using the tune but playing their own ideas over the changes are doing what improvisors have always done, especially since the bop era began.
    I know, of course, that's what it's about. But I think it depends on the tune. With a lot of modern tunes the door's open, we can play with it endlessly, it becomes a massive learning tool and a great creative outlet. With 'A Train', though, I don't feel that so much, that's all.

    I suppose ultimately it's whether it works or not, no?

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    I know, of course, that's what it's about. But I think it depends on the tune. With a lot of modern tunes the door's open, we can play with it endlessly, it becomes a massive learning tool and a great creative outlet. With 'A Train', though, I don't feel that so much, that's all.

    I suppose ultimately it's whether it works or not, no?
    my 1 cent...
    I have very modern CD of fameous players.There is a new interprtation of old tune by Django.
    Very interesting and very creative.
    Jazz is an open art and tune like 'Take the a train" is just a great standard .

  31. #30

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    modern take :

  32. #31

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    Or this. I like this... I think it works.


  33. #32

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    This song...ugh...played it to death in my gypsy jazz days...tried to do the most non gypsy take ever here...

    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  34. #33

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    Great playing in this thread! I did a recording of TTAT last year, I posted it on the forum before, but fits in this thread, so for those of you who haven't seen it I'll post it again.

    Very long Aebersold backing track; I ran out of ideas at some point :-) But it's a very nice tune to solo over.


    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    This song...ugh...played it to death in my gypsy jazz days...tried to do the most non gypsy take ever here...

    I dig it! Superb tone and playing!

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay View Post
    Great playing in this thread! I did a recording of TTAT last year, I posted it on the forum before, but fits in this thread, so for those of you who haven't seen it I'll post it again.

    Very long Aebersold backing track; I ran out of ideas at some point :-) But it's a very nice tune to solo over.

    Very nice sounding Gib es-125 in your hands.
    You play long solo over backing track and all we know that is not so easy.Good job.
    All The Best
    Kris

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
    This song...ugh...played it to death in my gypsy jazz days...tried to do the most non gypsy take ever here...

    Hi Jeff,
    Is this backing track from youtube?
    You play nice chords-voicings...a little out but it is ok!
    it is a reall Take A train...
    Nice Tele sound on your hands.
    Best
    Kris

  38. #37

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    But perfect timing :-)

  39. #38

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    Thanks kris, ragman, jay, anybody I missed...

    Yeah those chords got a little out there at the end...probably out of ideas for the moment

    The backing track is iReal, but just bass. I practice like this at lot, not sure why is find it so rnjoyable, but i do.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  40. #39

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    It is been a while since I posted here, too busy with with work, kids and ..music.
    But here is my take on the train.



    Hans

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatim View Post
    It is been a while since I posted here, too busy with with work, kids and ..music.
    But here is my take on the train.



    Hans
    Beautifull classic jazz sound and nice playing.
    Jazzingly Yours
    Kris

  42. #41

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    Bottom line Melody and Form, it's that simple conceptually. Just like running, point A to point B. The hard part is choosing which of the paths you choose to take. By that I mean explore all of the harmonic substitutions available to you. That requires discipline of knowing or better yet hearing chord/scale relationships.
    It can be a slow and somewhat stale process until your fingers and ears coordinate the 2 things. But what a joy, when it starts to gel!

  43. #42

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    Here is a take on my beloved stratocaster.
    It is my favorite guitar, but I never dare to take it on a jazz gig/ session.
    I must admit that playing jazz on that old Gibson es-125 (a couple of post here above ) is easier to make it sound 'jazzy',
    it is just that I love this strat so much.
    And please, lets not go into "Sure you can play jazz on a strat" with all kinds of examples.
    It is just that I am intrigued by this guitar, its possibilities and its limitations.



    Hans

  44. #43

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    I like this version very much/great solo on bass!/:

  45. #44

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    Great big band!

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    It was a joke...transcribe Eric Dolphy and play it on guitar -it takes few years...;-)
    notes/kind of free jazz/,rythmic colaboration with the band,phrasing and expression are great!
    I do not know exactly what he's playing,sorry about that.
    Sometimes 6/9 over major, more often dom7#9 (over the major). Over 7#11 he plays alt. Over ii-V he plays alt. Often he pre-empts a chord by starting a bar before. Sometimes he slip-slides in, a bar or a half-bar before. There's lots of chromatic fill-in. Plus all the up and down squeaky stuff.

    But it doesn't describe the solo, as you agree. So we don't know why a solo is great as opposed to just making a lot of noise :-)
    Last edited by ragman1; 01-08-2018 at 05:48 AM.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hatim View Post
    It is been a while since I posted here, too busy with with work, kids and ..music.
    But here is my take on the train.



    Hans
    Nice one Hans! Your 125 sounds remarkably like mine ;-) (duh!). I have seen your 125 advertised, I remember the missing pickup cover and classical tuners with black knobs. It was in Portugal, am I right?

    :: Jazz, Funk, Soul & Boogaloo: My group ::
    ::::::: Listen to Hip Jazz a Go Go! :::::::
    :: Jazz, Soul, Blues: Eva & The Tracies :::

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragman1 View Post
    It's in D. Sometimes 6/9 over major, more often dom7#9 (over the major). Over 7#11 he plays alt. Over ii-V he plays alt. Often he pre-empts a chord by starting a bar before. Sometimes he slip-slides in, a bar or a half-bar before. There's lots of chromatic fill-in. Plus all the up and down squeaky stuff.

    But it doesn't describe the solo, as you agree. So we don't know why a solo is great as opposed to just making a lot of noise :-)
    Jazz is not only sweet and lovly as you probaly know...It is a kind of language.
    I am not expert of sax players...ask them is it easy to play on bass clarinet like that?
    I can say: It Is Great Solo on Bass Clarinet.
    Do not forget that it was recorded by legendary musicians-
    live on April 12, 1964 filmed in Norway Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet Charles Mingus - Bass Eric Dolphy - Bass Clarinet Clifford Jordan - Tenor Sax Johnny Coles - Trumpet Jaki Byard - Piano Dannie Richmond - Drums .
    Eric Dolphy, who contributed immensely to the sound of free jazz, played with John Coltrane, Mingus, Oliver nelson and others. Miles Davis initially said his playing reminded him of "walking on broken egg shells". His bass clarinet and flute playing pioneered the use of these instruments in jazz. Left us MUCH too early, at age 36. A huge soul.

  49. #48

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    Little Jay wrote
    "Nice one Hans! Your 125 sounds remarkably like mine ;-) (duh!). I have seen your 125 advertised, I remember the missing pickup cover and classical tuners with black knobs. It was in Portugal, am I right?
    I bought this es-125 in Amsterdam in 2002 (Yes, I'm also Dutch). Never noticed the black tuners, so thanks. I like the guitar, but it is quit dark,'dof' like we say in dutch. There for switched the original pickup. I It's made in 1956.
    Hans

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris View Post
    I prefer one good chorus of the solo than playing different versions of the head...
    Absolutely. Neither you or I are guilty of that, I don't think.

    There's that expression 'Play the melody'. I've never thought that meant play different versions of the head, I read it as play solos in the spirit and mood of the head, not something unrelated or disconnected.

    By the way, you asked me who my favorite musician was. Wes, probably, when all's said and done.

    I like Mr. Beaumont too

  51. #50

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    where is the head?