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December Piano Bar #2919376 12/03/19 11:41 AM
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Riddler Offline OP
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Good morning, and I hope you are all looking forward to a happy holiday season!

Time to get the Piano Bar going.

My piece this month is Giant Steps. It was written by John Coltrane and is probably his best known (though not, I think, his best-loved) composition. It is notoriously difficult to improvise over, having 10 key modulations in 16 measures. The key changes are ingenious but are so unusual and disorienting that it has been called "a musical M.C. Escher painting”. Real jazz guys play it at breakneck speed, but my own neck being old and brittle, I opt to settle for a more leisurely, foot-tapping pace.

I am playing from a lead sheet, along with a backing track.

Ed

Giant Steps


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

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Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919409 12/03/19 01:05 PM
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Jytte Offline
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3 weeks till Christmas... No Christmas music? Anyone??


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919421 12/03/19 01:43 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Time Flies -- Jimmy Webb

Thanks for opening up the Bar, Riddler! I have a number of projects going on this month, and so I decided to provide a couple of my favorites from 3 - 4 years ago. The first of these is "Time Flies", by Jimmy Webb. Actually, your posting of "Giant Steps", with its multiple modulations, was what reminded me of this superb song. Webb wrote in 1993 for a musical entitled "Dandelion Wine", adapted from a Ray Bradbury story about a man reminiscing experiences from his 12 year old youth, in 1928. It is IMO just a well-nigh perfect fusion of music and lyrics -- here is the last verse:

"...Night turns to dawn
And then to bright skies,
And bright skies to picnics
On warm Julys,
To deep umber autumn
And winter goodbyes,
And while we are dreaming,
Time flies.

And while we are dreaming,

Time

Flies."

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Jytte] #2919426 12/03/19 02:02 PM
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BillM Offline
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Here are a couple of Christmas Songs I recorded this week. I’ve recorded these a couple of times in the last few years and find it fun and interesting now that I’ve turned 70 to see how much I’ve improved/deteriorated over time.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Peace on Earth to all!





BillM (formerly b528nf7)
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Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919438 12/03/19 02:49 PM
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Jytte Offline
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Thank you Bill, that put a big smile on my face smile


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919476 12/03/19 05:00 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Time Flies -- Jimmy Webb

Resubmitting recording of "Time Flies" (see above)

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919479 12/03/19 05:14 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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In a Sentimental Mood -- Duke Ellington

My second entry is Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood" -- a piece he pretty much composed impromptu at a party in 1935 (although I'm sure he had the piece in his head beforehand). I chose this one because of the Liz Story arrangement -- Liz Story is predominantly known as a New Age pianist, but prior to that she had done extensive work as a Jazz pianist, and in the late 80s she published a book of her arrangements of Jazz Standards, many of which are my all time favorites. Just listen to the subtlety and lushness of the progressions!

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919539 12/03/19 10:41 PM
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Riddler Offline OP
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Bill, a couple of my fav Christmas songs, performed with warmth and musicality, as usual. I always forget that White Christmas has a verse. It sets the stage very nicely. Living in FL, I think I like the memory of snow better than I ever liked the reality of it growing up in the north!

Tim, I liked that Jimmy Webb song. I don't think I have heard it before. That arrangement of In a Sentimental Mood is a winner! Beautiful harmonies!

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919631 12/04/19 09:33 AM
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BillM Offline
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Riddler - This sounds incredibly difficult to play to me, however you pull it off with your usual style and flair. This one is a bit short but really swings - had to give it a few plays. Well done!


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
Roland KR-17M
Baldwin R
Clavinova CLP-150
Piano Vocals of Old Guy Tunes
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2919638 12/04/19 09:45 AM
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BillM Offline
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Tim Adrianson - a couple of rather melancholy pieces from you this month - lovely tunes artfully performed. A bit of a buzzkill though - love the pensive ending on Sentimental Mood. Thanks for sharing although I now need more coffee to boost my energy level.


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
Roland KR-17M
Baldwin R
Clavinova CLP-150
Piano Vocals of Old Guy Tunes
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919642 12/04/19 10:01 AM
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I do not have any new recordings of Christmas songs, but I wiped the dust off my old 18th century harpsichord and re-recorded this famous piece by Bach

Bach, Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3, BWV 1068

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2919733 12/04/19 01:43 PM
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Pianist685, maybe not Christmas, but close enough smile Beautiful, and I like the harpsichord. Thank you.


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920015 12/05/19 05:31 AM
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Riddler – Giant Steps A fun piece and disorienting, indeed. Well, I got the impression this song is lacking a melody if it just consists of those chord progressions from 0:00 until 0:26 and the rest is impro.

Tim – Time flies Yes, I remember you have posted a recording of this wonderful, pensive song some time ago in the Bar already. It is a pleasure to listen to your rendition – as always – though the character of this song is quite sad, unlike Ed’s contribution this time.

Tim – In A Sentimental Mood So this is an arrangement by Liz Story? Great music with rich, jazzy chords.

BillM – White Christmas Thanks for opening the Christmas Season. Yes, I prefer hearing this all-time classic with the verse included. I do not think we “deteriorate” with age, we become better every day.

BillM – The Christmas Song So for this one, you had to put on your reading glasses… Is that “deterioration”? I don’t think so since I need reading glasses as well, and I am not yet any near your age.

You will remember that I recorded and posted my own renditions of these two Christmas songs one or two years ago, and I do not want to repeat myself, so I will not re-post them this time.

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Pianist685] #2920031 12/05/19 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Pianist685
Riddler – Giant Steps A fun piece and disorienting, indeed. Well, I got the impression this song is lacking a melody if it just consists of those chord progressions from 0:00 until 0:26 and the rest is impro.

I hope I am not insulting jazz by asking, does jazz have a melody? I thought improvisation was improvisation on chords, not a melody?

And I really liked Giant Steps. It was a lot of fun. Good job Riddler!


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Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Pianist685] #2920075 12/05/19 08:37 AM
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BillM Offline
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Pianist685 - Wonderful performance! The quality of your playing and the clarity of the recording are both first class. Thanks for posting this jewel!


BillM (formerly b528nf7)
Roland KR-17M
Baldwin R
Clavinova CLP-150
Piano Vocals of Old Guy Tunes
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920145 12/05/19 11:10 AM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Hi, folks! Well, as usual, all the submissions to date were just a pleasure to listen to!

Riddler -- A great cover on what must have been early Coltrane -- his later efforts were, uh, considerably more challenging. This for me represents the best of Jazz -- swinging, straightforward, celebratory. Yeah, a lot of chord changes, but always inevitable, not labored.

BillM -- As always, a fresh cover of two well-deserved Christmas classics. I love the fact that your renditions are never "by the numbers" -- there are always surprises as the music evolves. And it does sound like a freshly tuned piano, to boot! Thanks for sharing these!

Pianist685 -- What a sumptuous transcription of the Bach "Air for the G String" -- who was responsible? I might just seek it out. And as usual, your performance was deeply satisfying in every way -- particularly the attention to ornamentation. And I did find the colors of the harpsichord setting very attractive.

With regard to melody in Jazz -- I believe, for example, that the melody of "Giant Steps" is very discernible; i.e., given an appropriate lyric, a Pop/Jazz singer could present it "straightaway" without improvisation. Having said that, though, most of the "melodies" I've encountered in Jazz Fake Books do not stand by themselves very well -- they're more intended for improvisatory variations over the chord progressions at least implied, and usually stated, in "the theme" -- the melody, if you will. Many of the American Songbook standards, though, do lend themselves pretty naturally to Jazz improvisation as well.

Well, let's hope for a few more submissions this month -- Jytte, any Danish songs to share?

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920156 12/05/19 11:40 AM
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Tim, Oh I wish! But my playing at present is not something you'd want to listen to, and I have none learned at the moment frown


[Linked Image]XXXVII-XXXVIII
I pray, that tomorrow I may strive to be a little better than I am today - and, on behalf of everybody else, I give thanks for headphones.
Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920226 12/05/19 02:16 PM
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Tim, thanks for your kind comment. The transcription is by Srdan Depolo whom I do not know. See this post. https://imslp.org/index.php?title=Special:WikiForum&thread=10437

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920285 12/05/19 06:37 PM
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Constantin, that has always been one of my favs. Really, can anyone name a more beautiful melody? Wonderful playing and recording.

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

Re: December Piano Bar [Re: Riddler] #2920286 12/05/19 06:40 PM
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About the question of melody, a few thoughts.

First, whether a person hears Giant Steps as a melody or as a series of chords, may depend on the tempo. Coltrane actually played it much faster. I wonder if perhaps we experience things on different time scales, so that one person perceives a pattern as a melody, but another person does not, unless it is speeded up. I dunno.

However, there are lots of jazz guys who do not particularly like the song, and describe it as a mathematical puzzle rather than a beautiful piece of music. Then again, that has been said about a few of the great masterpieces.

And of course it's true - jazz guys don't always need a singable, memorable tune for improvising over. Great improvisers make beautiful music out of forgettable tunes that sound downright trite. I'll refrain from giving examples for fear of inciting a debate, but there are lots to choose from.

Anyway, thanks for the comments and thoughts.

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

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