More Prince, more Maceo. I’m still working my way through the three-CD set “One Night Alone Live”.
This is another classic Maceo solo over a heavy jazz/funk groove. The bass player starts out walking in 4 and then slips into a funky groove. The horn lines from this song remind me of Charles Mingus for some reason. Heavy jazz inspiration. I love the versatility in this box set!
The solo is nice and short, and not too difficult to play. He does get up to high G twice, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward for an intermediate player to learn if you start slow and work up the tempo.
Since we lost Prince, I haven’t listened to anything else. It’s been very bittersweet to re-discover corners of his vast catalog that I had forgotten about!
This week has been all about the three-CD set “One Night Alone”. It features both Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer prominently, so expect a bunch of solos from this set over the next month.
The thing I love about this set is how it shows Prince’s versatility. You don’t hear any synth-pop dance tracks. If you dropped the needle in random places, you’d might think it was a live P-Funk show. In fact, George Clinton makes an appearance on this track – re-uniting with his old sideman Maceo.
The solo is meat and potatoes Maceo – super funky and in the pocket over a slow, heavy groove. I’d love to find a video of this concert!
I don’t think I’ve posted anything from the Mo’ Roots album. I look at this as a transitional album for Maceo, where he was really starting to establish himself as a solo artist. More importantly, it’s pretty much a straight ahead jazz album. I feel as though he was trying to expand people’s thinking about what kind of music he was capable of.
This is a very straight forward tune – a hard-swinging version of the classic Lionel Hampton big band song from the forties. Maceo himself was still a toddler when this song was popular, but he does a great rendition here.
It’s been too long since I’ve posted any Maceo, so let’s get back to it! This is a great track – the thing that I like about it is how much of a ‘latin’ feel the melody would have if you just changed up the rhythm section a bit.
The solo is not very technical, but it is trickier to play than it sounds. There are a lot of really intricate rhythms, so I recommend listening to it a lot before playing it and maybe even learning to sing it first.
The PDF has the roadmap for the whole track, including the solo trading at the end. The video fades out the long vocal stretches so you don’t have to watch me dance :p
Hello 2016! For the my first post of the year, I wanted to dig down deep into my Maceo collection again. This is a track that I believe was recorded in 1974 by ‘Maceo and the Macks’, but you may find it on various compilation CDs (as I did) under the JB’s, James Brown, or Maceo himself.
The solo itself is classic Maceo in many ways, but it also has an uncommon amount of high altissimo. I’m experimenting with different fingerings for the high G to find one that works best in these situations. The ‘short’ fingerings are not very stable for me, so I end up using the ‘long’ fingerings more often than not.
I’m also experimenting with alternate Bb fingerings. Again, the ‘long’ fingering works best for me, but is harder to use in fast passages, which makes me suspect that Maceo has a ‘short’ fingering that works well for him. The alternate ‘A’ fingerings work great for me, but I haven’t found the equivalent for Bb yet. Any suggestions?
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.
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 😉