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Here come the dots

Spine O' The Times

It’s been shamefully long since I posted anything on here or added any new transcriptions to the archive, so apologies to those of you who have worked through the charts…

It’s been shamefully long since I posted anything on here or added any new transcriptions to the archive, so apologies to those of you who have worked through the charts I’ve already posted and are itching for something new. More transcriptions will be uploaded soon, I PROMISE!

Part of the reason that I’ve been slack on the blog front is that I’ve spent the last 4 months having curvature added to my spine through traction in order to avoid needing some fairly serious surgery in the next decade (and yes, having your spine reshaped is about as much fun as it sounds…).

For those that are curious, here’s how things look now:

See that? 43 degrees of lumbar curvature. Beautiful.

I’ll try and get a new transcription up by next week, but in the meantime here’s some footage of a recent gig that was shot in St.Pancras International station. I was helping out good friends Felix Fables while their regular bassist was otherwise indisposed. The bass of choice for this was my trusty ’80s P bass (which was the star of this earlier post) strung with D’Addario nylon tapewounds.

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The (Comic) Genius Of Bernard Purdie

Steely Dan’s classic album Aja is one of the cds that permanently stays in my glovebox – there’s something about the tunes that make it ideal listening for driving home…

Steely Dan’s classic album Aja is one of the cds that permanently stays in my glovebox – there’s something about the tunes that make it ideal listening for driving home from gigs and trying not to fall asleep when you’re on the M25 at 2am…

One of my favourite moments on this record is Bernard Purdie’s playing on ‘Home At Last’, which features some serious shuffle groove. Here’s the man himself explaining (or, more accurately, ‘splaining) the Purdie Shuffle.

If I ever find myself in a bad mood, I watch some Bernard Purdie. The man is a comedy genius.

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Lick Recycling, Pt.2

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino. The phrase in question…

Continuing the previously aired topic of lick recycling, here’s another borrowed lick that gets a workout from two great fretless players, Jaco Pastorius and Pino Palladino.

The phrase in question originates in Igor Stravinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, composed in 1913. Listen to the opening line played by the bassoon:

 

Fast forward to 1977, and Jaco’s phenomenal solo on Weather Report’s ‘Havona’. Listen out for the third phrase of Jaco’s solo (at 2:51) and you’ll hear the Stravinsky lick:

 

 

Another Jaco recording from the same year shows him borrowing the same lick from Stravinsky again, this time on Joni Mitchell’s ‘Talk To Me’. The third phrase of Jaco’s intro melody should be recognisable by now…

 

 

The next link is slightly more tenuous as it’s not a direct note-for-note insertion of the ‘Rite of Spring’ melody, but whenever I hear Pino Palladino’s opening melody on Paul Young’s ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ I can’t help but be reminded of the Stravinsky/Jaco phrase:

 

Here’s the transcription of the phrase in question, first Jaco’s lick from ‘Talk to Me’ (the line has been written down an octave for ease of reading):

 

Pino’s part from ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat’ shows similarities in both note choice and phrasing:

In fact, Pino admits the Stravinsky quote in this interview. I love his reaction to hearing the tune on the radio for the first time:

All the examples mentioned feature the lick in the context of a major chord, where it outlines a major 7 sound. It could be applied in other areas – play the lick in C against an F major chord and you’re instantly implying a Lydian (major 7#11) tonality.

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Lick Recycling, Part 1

Just a brief one this time as things have been rather busy of late in preparation for heading off to Norway tomorrow for a week of gigs with Jamie Abbott….

Just a brief one this time as things have been rather busy of late in preparation for heading off to Norway tomorrow for a week of gigs with Jamie Abbott. This is what happened when we went out there last September; hopefully, this one will feature more of the same (if you’re allergic to bass solos, stop watching at 2:45):

The real point of this post is to bring up the concept of recycling. There’s nothing new under the sun, and all players have ‘borrowed’ ideas from other musicians at some point. Sometimes this manifested in subtle ways, such as tone, phrasing or use of certain articulation that reflects the influence of another player. On other occasions, licks are transplanted in a ‘copy and paste’ fashion, which is what we have in the following transcriptions.

The first transcription is Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons ‘December ’63 (Oh What a Night!)’. Check out the Ab major lick just before the D.S:

 

 

Now take a look at the last four bars of the bridge of Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’, featuring bass courtesy of Pino Palladino:

Notice something about the lick over the D7 chord in the third bar?

It’s pretty much a note-for-note reproduction of the ‘December ’63’ lick. Rumbled!

That’ll do for now, the next instalment will feature more lick recycling courtesy of Pino, Jaco Pastorius and Igor Stravinsky…

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