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jjo Offline OP
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Clare Fischer was an amazingly creative composer, arranger and jazz pianist. He is perhaps best know for the two jazz standards he wrote, Pensativa and Morning.

Here is his wildly creative medley of two Disney tunes, well worth a listen, with a wonderful transcription provided to follow along:

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Wonderful! Sometimes surprisingly reminiscent of George Shearing.

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Simply great, I liked When you wish upon a star better. Lots of ideas to steal - If I wasn't lethargic

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There is a 5 part musical lecture by Fischer on YT from 1998 he did at College of the Canyons.

I bought an album (CD) called "Alone Together" about a year ago. Mostly unknown apparently, but one of the greats.


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Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. Soooooo much good stuff going on in there: melody harmonization, inner voice movement and a great ending.


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Hi folks--if you have read my posts, you'll know that this stuff is not what I'm listening to. But, after years of hearing it, I just stumbled across a couple questions I have.

purely intellectually--

1: If one is going to change the harmonies so much, why not the melody? Why not stretch or shrink all the melody intervals by a half step or more? Or displace them by 2, 3 or 4 octaves per note? I have an idea why, but I'd like to hear from others.

2: On this one I have no ideas---does anyone play such old, FAST 2/4 stuff as "Waiting for the Robert E Lee" or "Swanee" in this style? If so, can you post some? If not, any ideas on why?

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Clare Fischer is impressive. Finn Grassie is a talent.
Thanks for posting!

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It's great to see all the notes written out. The Intro confused me at first, those first 20 measures of pedal point harmony, written as slash chords over G# with a 3 sharp key signature, really should be written over Ab pedal point (V7 of Db) with a key signature for Db because Claire's Intro is clearly an elaborate and mysterious episode all to set up for the tonic Db major after 20 bars. The chord symbols are wrong for the first 20 measures.


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Those first 20 bars of Intro is basically Claire playing alterations of Ab7 (to set up the key of Db).
He plays around with:

Ab Phrygian
Ab7 sus b9
Ab ALT
Ab7 sus
Ab7 ALT

And so forth...

If one looked at the given chord symbols it would be easy to miss the reality of the strategy of the Intro. Music is usually understandable, especially with Claire. Too bad the transcriber messed up the symbols for the Intro.


Jazz piano Instructor. Technical Editor for Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book". Studied with Mark Levine, Art Lande & Mark Isham (1981-1990). Also: Barry Harris & Monty Alexander (1993-present)
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Originally Posted by rogerzell
1: If one is going to change the harmonies so much, why not the melody? Why not stretch or shrink all the melody intervals by a half step or more? Or displace them by 2, 3 or 4 octaves per note? I have an idea why, but I'd like to hear from others.

My version of Satin Doll:

[Linked Image]

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Originally Posted by Nahum
My version of Satin Doll:
Correction - bar 16 :

|Abmaj7(#11) G7 |

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haha great

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Originally Posted by Dfrankjazz
haha great
Yes, but try to improvise at these changes the long line at a fast tempo ...

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ok

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
Hi folks--

purely intellectually--

1: If one is going to change the harmonies so much, why not the melody? Why not stretch or shrink all the melody intervals by a half step or more? Or displace them by 2, 3 or 4 octaves per note? I have an idea why, but I'd like to hear from others.

2: On this one I have no ideas---does anyone play such old, FAST 2/4 stuff as "Waiting for the Robert E Lee" or "Swanee" in this style? If so, can you post some? If not, any ideas on why?
Originally Posted by rogerzell
Hi folks--if you have read my posts, you'll know that this stuff is not what I'm listening to. But, after years of hearing it, I just stumbled across a couple questions I have.

purely intellectually--

1: If one is going to change the harmonies so much, why not the melody? Why not stretch or shrink all the melody intervals by a half step or more? Or displace them by 2, 3 or 4 octaves per note? I have an idea why, but I'd like to hear from others.

2: On this one I have no ideas---does anyone play such old, FAST 2/4 stuff as "Waiting for the Robert E Lee" or "Swanee" in this style? If so, can you post some? If not, any ideas on why?

He could have changed the melody, it’s up to him, but he chose not to. Why? He probably had it mind to work about the melody theme because it’s a great melody, and it organizes his arrangement around a theme that he respects. Thus he puts his touch on a classic theme. He goes overboard for my taste. As I listened I thought of that old saying “he knows more about harmony than he knows what to do with...” In abstract figurative painting they maintain a human figure in the work and paint abstractly all about it.


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After all this time I did not expect any replies.

Nahum--is your sample how you usually play it? or was it made up for this thread?

I am not about to download a new program for notation. But your example really does not change the melody in any significant way, except to fit the harmony.

I also should have suggested some radical rhythm changes, within each 4/4 measure.

Rintin--while I agree with your assessment in general, it begs the question. So the melody is great, but so are the original chords, so why would he respect one more than the other?

"Overboard"? well, "jazzers play 10,000 chords for 4 people, rockers play 4 chords for 10,000 people", or so "THEY" say.

Meanwhile, any thoughts as to my second question, namely, is anyone playing raucous old 2/4 vaudeville songs in postbop harmony? If postbop is not proper terminology, please forgive me.

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Originally Posted by rogerzell
Nahum--is your sample how you usually play it? or was it made up for this thread?

.
I made this version for myself before a concert with my trio in the 80s.

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jjo Offline OP
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Rintin: Thanks for de-coding the harmony of the Intro. You are clearly right. With transcriptions on the Internet you frequently find either that: (1) some of the chords are notated incorrectly, or (3) people just stick in the Real Book chords without reflecting the alterations the performer is clearly using. While I've only done a handful of transcriptions, fortunately i've got a teacher who makes sure we do the correct harmonic analysis of what's going on and reflect that in the transcription.

Rogerzell: I'm not sure how one can answer the question of why a jazz musician modifies one aspect of a piece in making an arrangement but not another. That's just what came to him. It's no different than asking why a composer chose one chord progression over another; that's what came to him.

If I were to venture a guess, however, when jazz players create an arrangement, we're not trying to compose an original piece, but rather put some of our own touches on an existing composition. If you change the melody too much, however, you are more likely to lose the feel of the original piece than if you change the harmonies. Fischer's arrangement takes great liberties with the harmony, but you can still clearly know just what tune it is. That might not be so if similar liberties were taken with the melody.

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Nahum--thank you.

jjo--and thank you for your thoughts on this.

But I have to disagree. For me, taking great liberties with the harmony can certainly make me feel like the original feel is lost. The sheet music reveals the original feel, and it does not include anything like the harmonies in these vids. So there's that. So I'm a literalist.

In my improvising (and I do not consider myself a jazz player), I often have to stop myself from playing melody simulacra--same rhythm and similar intervals as the original melody, but not the original melody. It feels very easy and natural, but too obvious. And yet it may be a good tool? In any case, it can be a starting point for what I describe above, but with more radical rhythms and intervals. I believe that most listeners could pick up on it, on the theory that if I can, anyone can. heh.

After all, this technique is a basic tool of classical music development sections. Those guys counted on people recognizing the changed bits as versions of the original. And they would turn them upside down and backwards, literally.

But in cases such as the above, I can see no reason not to alter the melody right off the bat. I don't see that anything more would be lost.

And once again, my question of modern jazz versions of upbeat 2/4 standards still stands. If you can play endless weird variations of I Got Rhythm, why not Swanee?

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rogerszell: You like the original harmony, which is fine. I would note, however, that we never really know what the original harmony is. While Clare Fischer has surely gone way beyond what the composers had in mind, the question is, what is your source for the original harmony. The RealBooks are based on jazz versions that reflect what jazz players tend to do with a song. If you're referring to published sheet music, who knows whether that's what the composer had in mind.

I think what you are more likely referring to is that you like the simpler, more direct, less complex harmonies that sheet music reflects as opposed to some of the complex arrangements that you hear people play. Nothing wrong with that! However, many people who study jazz slowly but surely get hooked on playing with a tune's harmonies. It's just a wonderfully creative process. First you take a 7th chord and add a 9th or 13th; them maybe you add a flat 9th, and pretty soon you're hooked!

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