Five modern tunes
These transcriptions are offered for £15, rather than the £20 that five individual transcriptions would cost. This offer will continue for about 3 months, into the spring of 2019. The five arrangements included are:
Like Someone in Love
Someday My Prince Will Come
Sweet And Lovely
The Third World
Mistersioso - 3 pages, advanced level
I have used a different approach to this great Thelonious Monk blues line, since the basic tune is only 12 bars long. I decided to transcribe two of the four choruses I improvised on the performance released on my 2016 LP Duck Baker Plays Monk. Having done that I released that the midi version sounded so strange that it would be better to just edit the version I recorded, so the MP3 here is about half of what was on the record, beginning with the improvised choruses. As will be obvious, immediately, the timing of the performance is very free and fluid. The basic tune is not difficult to play, and students are of course free to make up their own variations or improvisations.
Like Someone in Love - 3 pages, advanced level
This Jimmy Van Heusen song was written in 1944 for the film Belle of the Yukon, and quickly became a standard for pop singers and jazz musicians alike. I was inspired to arrange it in about 1980 after hearing Bud Powell’s very different take on the song, but didn’t get around to recording it until much later, on The Roots And Branches of American Music. That record is available on this site, either as a CD or as a download, and the individual track can be bought separately.
Someday My Prince Will Come - 3 pages, advanced level
This great song was of course written for the 1937 Walt Disney version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and though it has not been covered very often by pop singers really came into it’s own when modern jazz musicians adopted it 20 years later. Many people associate it with Miles Davis, but while the Davis version is certainly a classic, Dave Brubeck made the first jazz recording, on Dave Digs Disney. I made this arrangement in about 1983 but still haven’t got around to recording it. Some of the chord shapes involve big stretches, and the shape in measure 27 involving the thumb and a partial barre is a real bear.
Sweet And Lovely - 3 pages, intermediate advanced level
The well loved standard appeared in 1931, and like many another pop song of that period, it only really entered the jazz repertoire during the modern era. This version is based on Thelonious Monk’s arrangement, which he first recorded with a trio in 1952, and returned to many times throughout his career. In fact Monk’s trio version may have been the first modern jazz recording, and it is certainly unique, with those chromatically descending 7th’s all through the first four bars.
The Third World - 3 pages, advanced level
“The Third World” is one of the most celebrated compositions by Herbie Nichols, the great by tragically neglected pianist who only manage to make 4 records in his lifetime, and was known at the time of his death in 1963 only as the composer of Billie Holiday’s theme, “Lady Sings The Blues”. But Nichols was one of the most harmonically advanced jazz composers of his era, one of the very few who can be compared to Thelonious Monk, even though other jazz musicians did not catch up with Nichols until long after they were trying to deal with me. My own arrangements of Nichols’ music can be heard on Spinning Song, which is available on CD and as limited-edition LP. The chord progression is something else, so even after learning the arrangement, improvising on this presents real challenges. It was also a challenge for me to notate, especially the tremolo effect I usually use for the first and fifth measures of B. This looked bad in the score and and the midi version sounded awful, so I rewrote it in a way that much easier to play, and included those two measures at the end of the arrangement To hear them, I’m afraid one needs to buy the record, though most people do think it is one of my best. It was certainly the most ambitious.