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  1. #1

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    I find Woody Shaw, aside from his playing, to be an interesting and lyrical composer. He came up with memorable melodies that were perfect vehicles for the type of playing that was really blossoming in his day: the pentatonics; the Maj 7 #11 chords, etc. And they also stand on their own merits as well-constructed compositions with melodies that resonate.

    I've had a book of his solos forever---my parents' address in Brooklyn is on it! I finally, in this time of self-isolation, got off my ass and learned Katrina Ballerina (the tune, not the solo---too much like work!). I think I'll play it in the trumpet key of A minor---lays better on guitar down the octave than in concert G Minor.

    What should be obvious to guitar players is the pentatonic thing----no explanation needed, I think. But what's more interesting is not only his 'in and out' harmonic use, but the rhythmic groupings---lots of 5tuplets and other similar against the meter groupings. On a guitar, b/c a lot are fast, you'd have do let the LH do the heavy lifting. I guess this'll sound controversial, but here goes (never stopped me before (; ): picking every note on a guitar can come off corny and symmetrical as hell. I mean for jazz--it works really well in musics like bluegrass. I think there has to be a way to play these phrases with a combination of approaches that lets them breathe and simulates an air column---the way the jazz guitarists I always admired do it.

    Anyway, to kick off here's a concert lead sheet for Katrina Ballerina:
    Attached Images Attached Images Woody Shaw (study group?)-katrina3-png 
    Last edited by joelf; 04-13-2020 at 03:39 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Cool tune, thanks for sharing! I wonder if there's a great guitar version out there somewhere.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Cool tune, thanks for sharing! I wonder if there's a great guitar version out there somewhere.
    There was a version on youtube. It didn't knock me out. I'm sure there are others, though. Maybe members here will post theirs.

    But don't let's hang in the guitar ghetto. We're jazz musicians.

    I do allow that the pentatonic thing is easy to get under guitarists' fingers (maybe too easy?). So those type passages, especially the way a player like Shaw goes in and out and superimposes other meters, are a natural for our instrument. But, as I said, the challenge is to make them sound horn-like, simulating breath with spacing and a lot of LH activity. It's just a good can of paint to put on the shelf.

    I've wanted to cop and incorporate his stuff (Warne Marsh's, too) for some time. Hoping others here will join the journey and we can break some solos and tunes down and come up with playing strategies (understanding that everyone will do it differently)...
    Last edited by joelf; 04-13-2020 at 10:33 AM.

  5. #4
    I wrote Katrina out by hand in A Minor. Will scan and post after I give my lesson...

  6. #5

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    Was inspired to take a crack: Here's the first bridge solo off the "United" recording: Katrina Ballerina Solo Excerpt - Woody Shaw | Soundslice

  7. #6
    The tune is a good window into his rhythmic displacement---simplified for a tune, but very hip. Like the way the accents are on the last 8th note triplet of the 3, and phrasing across the bar line with the last triplet note accenting into the dotted half on the 2nd ending. It zeroes in on his thought process, and studying the compositions really lets you take your time in analysis, b/c composers take their time...
    Last edited by joelf; 04-13-2020 at 01:53 PM.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Was inspired to take a crack: Here's the first bridge solo off the "United" recording: Katrina Ballerina Solo Excerpt - Woody Shaw | Soundslice
    Thought it was gonna be you playing?

    Anyway, listening I hear how much Tom Harrell got from Woody, especially in the '70s w/Horace and many other situations. And he made it his own...

  9. #8
    Here's my handwritten sheet in Woody's key, and my preferred concert key. I included some important accents and dynamics not indicated in the above concert sheet...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Thought it was gonna be you playing?
    It wasn't!

  11. #10
    Oops! Put a decrescendo when I meant a crescendo---last bar, 2nd system. Also, left out E7 #5 #9, 3rd beat, 2nd ending. I'll correct and repost.

    Self-flagellation with a vinyl copy of Little Red's Fantasy to begin forthwith.

    With the record, not the cover...
    Last edited by joelf; 04-14-2020 at 04:03 PM.

  12. #11

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    I love his playing. Commenting here to follow

  13. #12
    Gonna post the (Bb---with concert changes) transcribed solo to this tune (from The Moontrane), once I scan it. Look for it shortly, then we can analyze it...

  14. #13
    Here's the track----let's start there:


  15. #14
    Here's the melody as he phrased it, and solo in Bb key with concert changes---from The Moontrane, see above.

    Passages circled in pencil were notable to me at the time. We can discuss them...
    Attached Images Attached Images Woody Shaw (study group?)-katrinascanned1-jpg Woody Shaw (study group?)-katrinascanned2-jpg Woody Shaw (study group?)-katrinascanned3-jpg Woody Shaw (study group?)-katrinascanned4-jpg 

  16. #15
    I wanna keep this alive.

    Will comment as I go through the solos and tunes...

  17. #16
    No one?

    I'll leave it up another week...

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    No one?

    I'll leave it up another week...
    I contributed by making that transcription ::shrug:: thought maybe someone would have comments on it.

    Edit: I'm maybe being a little too polite; I thought that you, as the person who started the idea, would want to comment on it or discuss techniques used.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    I contributed by making that transcription ::shrug:: thought maybe someone would have comments on it.

    Edit: I'm maybe being a little too polite; I thought that you, as the person who started the idea, would want to comment on it or discuss techniques used.
    I was waiting for other input. Thanks for being interested. I'll look at it, also the passages I circled in the Katrina solo.

    Thanks again. Maybe it'll just take a little time...

  20. #19
    I'll try to analyze some of the posted solo shortly.

    If no one wants to participate I'll leave the thread up anyway...

  21. #20

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    Hey Joel,

    Just 1st noticing the thread. Great player, interesting topic.
    I don't have much to contribute at the moment without digging in
    and doing some research. Meanwhile, just checking in as an interested
    observer. Thanks.

  22. #21
    Thanks. When I'm up to it I'll talk about that solo. A bit under the weather w/a low energy level just now...

  23. #22
    I put this solo in concert key. This is a much more sensible place to start: more 8th notes, less odd-tuplet rhythms, but those nice taking it a little out harmonic earmarks are there, in the 2nd chorus.


    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by joelf; 07-17-2020 at 03:56 PM.

  24. #23
    So this is a classic example of 1/2 up and down---and continuity of idea (compositional sense):

    Starting with the pick up to the solo (last bar of the form) he's already showing his game plan: (concert) A naturals over Bb7---a clear indication of some kind of D---I'd say D7 b/c of the C natural, all to anticipate the Eb maj 7---and foreshadowing 'outer' notes to come.

    Chorus 1 is mostly 'in', and playfully anticipating the following chord, e.g.: B natural Ab G F (meas 3 of form) against D half diminished---outlining the next measure's G7 b9. (he throws in a nice anticipatory F# against a G7, next time the chord comes around (meas 20 of form).

    It gets really interesting the last 2 measures of the 1st chorus. Try it on piano w/pedal down---echoes of Schoenberg. A and E naturals against the II V of F minor/Bb 7---like E major---again in anticipation of Eb, this time a 1/2 step up. When he lands on the Eb, top of 2nd chorus, he's still playing E and B naturals, nicely guiding the ear back to Bb7 with Cb---the b9.

    I wont go any further---wouldn't want to spoil anyone's fun in discovery...