Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Evil Jazz Plans and Stuff.

Along the musical path I think a point is reached when, having wandered down each & ever possible popular (and some very unpopular) music genre alleyway to the dead end, the truth dawns on the weary traveller that the only place left to go, the place so long avoided and derided, is the land of 'JAZZ' or, as Frank Zappa described it, "the music of unemployment".

It's been creeping up slowly on me ever since I made the decision to stop playing a guitar and make the ukulele my main instrument.
Suddenly all the chords I was reluctant to stretch to on the guitar became, more or less, available.

I had a bit of a strange WTF moment one evening at a RAFA open mic evening.
The house band announced that they were going to play a Blues in C.
The house band invited anyone who wanted to play along with them to join in.

First, here's a film of the RAFA House Band doing Day by Day so you can get an idea of what they sound like and marvel at Harry the Bass Player whom I now worship as a God:
So, back to Blues in C, dead easy:
C/// F/// C/// C7///
F/// F7/// C/// C7///
G7/// F/// C/// G7/// 

repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, till you think you're playing the blues, but you still ain't playing the blues.

The above example is a pretty pedestrian affair and there are many, many variations on this progression.
In terms of degrees of the C scale it works like this:

I/// IV/// I/// I7///
IV/// IV7/// I/// I7///
V7/// IV/// I/// V7/// 

The RAFA House Band struck up and lost me at the first bend.
Their take on the blues scale differs somewhat from mine it appears.

C7/// F7/// C7/// Gm7/ C7/
F7/// F7/// C7/// A7///
Dm7/// G7/// C7/ A7/ Dm7/ G7/

repeat, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, till you think you've got that turn round sorted out, but it's only the start..

The chords highlighted in RED are played in different positions from the everyday open chords.
The significant difference between the two progressions of course is the number 7.

Since discovering this new world things have become a bit of a blur.
There are various landmarks along my path to this post:
That performance seems really clumsy now.
I obviously wasn't as recovered as I thought I was.

Learning how to play 'Puttin' on The Ritz' was another step.

Learning how to play 'They're Red Hot' was another step.

The latest step is 'Twilight Time'

The next step is.... I'll think of something, but probably 'Chartreuse' as performed by Louis Jordan. (which is basically 'They're Red Hot' all over again.)

As a technical method of understanding music it's really useful but, I still didn't actually 'like' many, of the many, styles of Jazz music.
I began to realise that some of my personal favourite types of music have a strong Jazz influence.
Tamla Motown being a case in point.
Rather than go into a long divergent ramble about the Funk Brothers why not go here: Standing In The Shadow of Motown
Suffice to say they were Jazz men.

Another example.
Recently I've noticed, usually while being a Modern Cloakroom Attendant at weddings, two very popular hits:

On examining the, very simple, chord structures of these two pieces we find the distinct favour of Jazz.

It's bloody everywhere.

And the problem is...?

Any other style of music I've ever been involved with has been rendered irrelevant because Jazz explains it all and offers possibilities that other genres just aren't even aware exist.

So,  I find myself once again, after becoming a bit pleased with myself on my ability to play the ukulele, in the position of knowing I know nothing at all about music and it turns out that it's certainly not what I believed it was.

Great, so what's the problem?

This is: The Problem