söndag 28 april 2013

Back from hiatus: My Generation

Hey there
I know I've been away for a long time, but now I'm back. I've loads of new (and old) transcriptions I want to share with the world.

Let's start off with a quickie. The Who's hit My Generation took the world off guard with it's 1965 release. Featuring a punk-before-punk attitude and aggressive, stuttering vocal performance it remains one of the most iconic songs of the decade. But what really caught everyone's attention was John Entwhistle's bass solo. Coming straight after the first chorus at 0:55, Entwhistle's chops, distorted sound and sheer balls just blew everyone away. The solo is performed in four bursts of two measures each, between which John plays the changes. I've decided to transcribe in a key signature with one flat, since the notes being played are clearly from the G-minor pentatonic scale (G-Bb-C-D-F).

From a technical standpoint the solo is fairly unimpressive by today's standard, but the attitude and conviction in every note makes it true classic never the less. Legend has it that Entwhistle had originally wanted to perform the solo on a Danelectro six string (baritone guitar tuned E-A-D-G-B-E) but that his right hand attck was so hard that he kept breaking the strings. Now the Danelectro was brand new instrument at the time and the local music store didn't carry replacement strings. So after going through three separate six string basses Entwhistle finally gave up and chose to play it on his regular four string (Fender Jazz Bass or Gibson Thunderbird).

The Who continues to perform My Generation live and have done so throughout their carreer, including a memorable, extended version from their 1972 Live At Leeds album. But in my book, they never surpassed this original recording.

torsdag 31 januari 2013

So What

Don't really know if anyone reads this, but I felt like breaking my silence with an update. Let's do some jazz. A quickie.

Just about every bassist out there knows Paul Chambers' iconic bass melody from the opening track off of Miles Davis' groundbreaking 1959 album Kind Of Blue.

Most of us have also found out that the real challenge begins after the melody. How do you walk over what is essentially one chord. Well here's how Chambers himself did it. I've transcribed for you the first chorus of walking.
Paul keeps things interesting by adding plenty of chromatic approach notes, a few swung eighth notes and a lot of his signature blues feel. My personal favorite part are the last eight bars, in which Chambers plays a high a F (the third/tenth of the scale) at the start of each measure, really grabbing your attention.

Although this is probably Paul's most famous performance he went on to play with many of the most important jazz artists at the time, including Wynton Kelly, Wes Montgomery, Lee Morgan, Cannonball Adderly and John Coltrane (who wrote the classic Mr P.C in his honour) as well as Miles' bass player from 1955 to 1962 and releasing ten albums as a leader or co-leader before passing away in tuberculosis at the age of 33 in 1969.
Check him out.
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