‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…Paul Desmond!
This track really grooves, the back-beat is so strong! But it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that it was in 6/4. Two and Four were easy to find, but it was hard to find One for some reason. Every time I thought I had it, I felt like I was turning the beat around (which of course I was since I was counting in 4/4 at first). I should have known better since this album is all about odd time signatures.
But once I figured the time signature out, it was all downhill. It’s a one-chord song with a bluesy feel, and just beautiful playing. Nothing too difficult, but of course the time signature is a real challenge to play over since no one is used to playing six-beat phrases.
I decided to reach down into the archive for a ‘deep track’ this week. So deep, you may have trouble finding the recording! An Amazon link to the CD (but no MP3 download) is above. You may have to look under either Maceo, Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley, the JB’s, JB Horns, etc. to find the CD. But it’s worth it! You may find it listed as “Pee Wee, Fred, and Maceo”.
Those post-James Brown recordings are super funky to me, and capture an important time period right before Maceo struck out on his own as the solo artist we know him to be today.
The transcription covers the entire track, but my video is only the alto solo.
More Paul Desmond from the Time Out album. I’d like to finish all the transcriptions on this album someday soon, they are all so beautiful!
My usual caveat with the chord changes on this chart – it’s especially complex, and chords are not my strong suit, so fair warning on the accuracy! I cobbled together what I could from a lead sheet and my ear, neither of which I trust a great deal…
The trickiest part of this solo is the rhythm. It’s very syncopated. The bank half of the track is a long blow: Two full choruses of the form followed by twenty four bars of a single chord ‘breakdown’, then three more choruses of the form to finish out the track.
One interesting thing that I noticed is that there are a bunch of places where Maceo plays two notes with one using an alternate fingering. This by itself is not unusual – lots of people use this technique (including Maceo). The thing that’s interesting to me about this is that in this solo, it sounds like he’s using the alternate fingering on the first note of the grouping, and not the second note, which is what he (and other players) would more commonly do. Maybe he was just in a certain mood when he recorded this.
For convenience, the PDF is for the entire track, but the video below is for the second solo in the track, starting at the top of page 3.
I saw a request for this solo on one of the SOTW forums, so I gave it a listen. I don’t know why I had never transcribed it before – it’s such a fun song!
This was a bit of a rush job for me. It’s a long song, with two very distinct sections, so I’m posting them one at a time as I complete them. With any luck I’ll have part 2 done next week. On a good day, I get about an hour to practice after work is done and the kids are in bed. So I transcribed about two choruses a night on Monday-Tuesday, practiced and recorded it Wednesday, and edited the video and blog post for publication tonight. Whew!
In retrospect I would have liked to have practiced the solo for another hour before posting, but I believe the transcription is pretty accurate, even if my playing isn’t 😉
More Kenny Garrett! I love his playing on this album, even though the solos are so short. I’ll have to double-check the chords on this one. I pulled them from a lead sheet, but Kenny seems to be consistently playing major 3rds against the C minor. Even a major 7th and sharp 4. I wish I had a better ear for chords!