tisdag 20 november 2012

Luther Vandross - A House Is Not A Home

Luther Vandross already had over ten years professional experience as a singer, songwriter and backing vocalist - most notable with Roberta Flack and Quincy Jones - when he released his break-through album Never Too Much in 1981. It featured an array Vandross-penned up-tempo funk numbers backed by keyboard player Nat Adderly Jr, (swedish) guitar player Georg Wadenius, drummer Buddy Williams and for the bulk of the record bassist Marcus Miller. Most of them then part of the Saturday Night Live Band.
But Vandross is perhaps best known for the ballads, and when it came time for the album's lone slow crooner - the Bacharach/David-penned Dionne Warwick hit A House Is Not A Home - he instead turned too the great Anthony Jackson for the bass part. Jackson, who had recently started to exclusively play his own invention the six-string bass, provides an immense amount of character to the track.

From the moment he enters in measure five he takes control over the session always seemingly dictating where the groove is going. Already in the intro/interlude Jackson makes good use of his extended range, extra effective due to songs very slow tempo and the amount of space he is given by the other musicians.
The first verse impresses with Jackson's ability to contain himself given these circumstances, basically playing whole notes throughout. When the chorus arrives his quarter notes are all the more assertive and the 16ths in measure 20 seems to come out of nowhere.
Verse 2 gives Jackson a bit more room to stretch - the 32nd note tremolo in 27 and the 16th note fill in 28 are classic Jackson - and he carries the feel over to the next chorus, spicing it up with 16th fills in measures 32 and 33.
The bridge sees Jackson digging even deeper, steering the band through the ever changing time signatures and cushioning Vandross through ritadando.
What follows are several minutes of wailing vocals with a bunch of really cool Jacson fills that I've simply haven't had time to finish. Someday :)

Thoughts or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments

onsdag 7 november 2012

Glenn Campbell - Wichita Lineman

Today's transcription is the cool, laid back line from Glenn Campbell's Wichita Lineman, featuring the always interesting pickstyle playing of session ace Carol Kaye.

The whole record starts off with  a distinctive rhythmic figure stated by Carol's bass, which returns in measure 3. She does a two-fret downward slide into the first verse. The bass instantly locks with the bass drum, making occasional fills on the fourth beat (measures 8, 10 and 11) to not interfere with Glenn's vocals and then doing another two-fret slide into the chorus.

The chorus sees Carol in a more subdued mode, outlining the harmony with a chromatically descending bass line and measure 16s rhythmically unison figure.
Carol then lays down whole notes behind the "morse-code" guitar of the interlude.
Verse 2 opens with a re-stating of the intro bass fill and then follows along the lines of the first verse.
What follows is the chorus, opening with a killer fill in measure 29 and then going into the descending line.
My transcription then abondons the bass line in favor of the solo, played by Campbell on Carols Fender Bass VI. If you want to keep holding down the bottom it's the same chords as the verse but I think it's more fun stepping out. Dial up a plunky tone and stomp on a tremolo effect for the best result. The solo is basically stating the verse melody in the bass octaveand adding some cool quarter triplets and a cool polyrhythmic sounding line in measure 42.

This is an incomplete transcriptions, but the are no other segments I've left out. The song only returns to parts we've already seen. I'll complete it someday.

Thoughts or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments.