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Gentlemen, You never disappoint. Some of my favorites; Coltrane, Duke Ellington, and Mel Torme. Pianist685, The harpsichord is beautiful to hear. It must be difficult to play.
A while back one of you, I think Tim, submitted this tune by Michel LeGrand and I loved it. I found an arrangement by Robert Schultz which isn't too difficult. With a few changes here it is: What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Please feel free to give me some advice. This is the first improvisation I have attempted.
Tom and Jytte, I was joking when I pretended I own an 18th century harpsichord. I once had the opportunity to play such an instrument which was a very interesting experience. Its unweighted keyboard was very touch sensitive, I almost got a sound by just looking at a key. But here I just used the harpsichord sound of my silent system.
Tyrone, improvisation can either be done on stand-alone chords or on chords from a song with a melody. Both can be jazz. I prefer the latter where the artist gets some inspiration from the melody and is not just playing random things on a chord progression that does not have any further meaning. We did the former in our music class in school where the teacher gave us just the two alternating harmonies Dminor7 and G7, one per bar, and we were playing random things on these two chords for about twenty minutes and thought we were such great artists. In fact, we weren’t, and we did not realize that that “jam session” would have been boring to an audience after half a minute already. The question whether jazz has a melody furthermore depends on what kind of jazz you are referring to, but initially – in the 1920s, the so-called Jazz Age – a band or a musician would play the melody from a song (that often had lyrics), then improvise on the chords from that specific song, and come back to the melody again in the end. I think you know that. In the case of “Giant Steps” we have something I would not call a ”song” in its proper sense since it cannot be “sung” because it does not have a melody, at least to my ears, but it definitely provides a framework for improvising and is – because of its complexity - far better than the thing we did in school.
Tom – What are you doing the rest of your life This is a very beautiful and rather appropriate interpretation. Wonderful! The impro is perfect, with chords in the left hand and the right hand improvising (as far as I can hear). There is no need for any advice IMO. Well, maybe Tim can say a bit more since he is more familiar with the piece than I.
Here's my interpretation of the beautifully nostalgic Christmas classic first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 movie "Meet Me in St. Louis" - this is a Dan Coates arrangement that I think I uploaded here before a while back - I want to submit it again because it perfectly fits the holiday mood of this month's Bar, and also because it's one of the few songs I've ever recorded that I didn't feel like I should go back to some time in the future and try re-recording to get a "better take"...
Well done. One of my Christmas favs. I've seen MMISL on stage a couple of times and I always assumed the movie was based on the stage production, but apparently the opposite is true. Ya learn something every day. Good arrangement, well played!
With regard to the Giant Steps discussion, one way to hear the basic melody more clearly might be to listen to the first half minute or so of this gorgeous lady singing so gorgeously:
Handyman, I liked the slow tempo. It’s a sad song that many perform in an upbeat tempo. I prefer your recording, slow and reflective.
‘Giant Steps”: I have the album so I listened to it this morning. The Smithsonian Jazz Anthology describes Giant Steps as a “densely packed 16 bars. An extremely vertical piece.” It is taken at a breakneck tempo of 276 beats per minute.” “Giant Steps became a test piece for jazz musicians, a staple of jazz education programs, and a modern jazz standard...”. It was groundbreaking at the time.
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