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January 09, 2016

About this time last year we were on Jam Cruise and I had the honor to jam out with the incredible Farnell Newton, who is also know as “the Jam of The Week guy”. You see, he hosts a group on Facebook where everybody posts an interpretation of a different song each week, you get it - #jotw. Check it out if you like to continuously expand your knowledge of music. It’s a must for bass players who are expected to know the root movement of every song.

Anyhow, I’ve been having fun with it recently, and this weeks’ song was Bauble Bangles and Beads, ever heard of it? Me neither, but it’s a classic standard, and I found a cool chart for it in the Realbooks and, man, it’s so cool these days, you can just go to YouTube and check out anything. So dig this - which is probably an original version, adopted from the stage play for the movie no doubt: — Ann Blyth is killing it over an operatic arrangement, so that you can barely tell it’s just a 36 bar tin pan ally melody - but that’s how they all are in the actual show.

Cooler than cool of course is Sinatra & Jobim version:

If we could be just a tenth as cool as Frank man . . .

So, I fooled with this one a bunch while I tried to work out the deceptively simple melody in my stubby sausage finger piano style, and I wish I had the chops to bop it in double time, but I thought it worked nicely as a mid-up ballad. After I got it in my head a bit, I kind of heard it for a minute over the changes to Coltrane’s Niama. And I might have work it out, but the modulation at bar nine doesn’t work for me - but maybe just because I’m having a hard time transposing the Trane's chords - while the bridge makes me want to go for it, even the long A3 at the end - it should have a trip hop (!) last 4 with a I / IV . . . But yea, it would be cool if I could improvise all those ideas, right?

Now Farnell said “One Chorus Only” and I’m not sure what that means exactly. Most of the jazzers there take it as one chorus of improvisation over the chords, but I’m a stickler for the melody. Actually, this week one of the first posters I saw was a singer, it was cool to dig the melody and lyric (of course there are just amazing players coming out of the woodwork), but if I can’t hear some part of the melody in that sax, guitar (or whatever) multi-note blast, well, no ‘like’ for you! Actually there’s so many you can’t really look at them all, but I try to hit the ‘like’ when one stands out to me. This week I liked the variety of interpretation - something I missed on blues week.

Anyhow, I recorded two version and kind of ‘cheated’ by using backing tracks. (I used the iRealbook) So I had the bass and drums there, it’s just for fun, and that’s my bag, I’m not really a solo player yet, my stride thing isn’t happening. So, I saved one take that was two chorus’ with a solo over A1 and A2 (Dig it:, and I posted the take that was just the one melody chorus at a little slower tempo.

So yea, my main self critique is I got to relax more. I’ve just given into the freaked-out Monk thing.

Actually, everybody at JamOfTheWeek is so good, I’m kind of chicken to post on the bass, because I’m supposed to- you know, be good at that, but man, I should be practicing that thing now. And getting ready to hit the road instead of goofing off on the piano, which is what I like, man, I keep it just for fun, and when it feels like work I just stand up. Anyhow, at some point I’ll put some deeper work into the piano, I started on that path when we came home last year, but I’ve been waylaid a bit. That’s OK, because it’s just for fun.

Now, I can get to work on that bass and Love Saves the Day.

Portland OR, too Wintery really.