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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jewel Says She Wants Oscar Peterson But I Know She Really Wants To Hear Joe Pass



They played together a lot. Here's Joe, telling you all his secrets at the end.

There are three kinds of chords.

Hmm. There may be more to it than that.

Anyway, I met Joe, a couple years before this video was made, in Los Angeles. He was a very nice man.

11 comments:

Seppo said...

Joe Pass was a wonderful player and a true gentleman. Much like Mundell Lowe, another player with exquisite taste and chops, while being a fine person as well. That's kind of rare in the jazz world.

Thanks for posting this, it is great.

Dinah (RuralGrit) said...

Great! Thank you. Jewel should know what's good for her.....Oscar Peterson is wonderful, but so's this treat.

Jewel said...

I cannot pass on Joe. Definitely go for the pass....touchdown, every single time, Sip!

You should meet my brother in law. He's played with some of the best jazz men around. Including the Brubeck of Dave fame.

Jewel said...

I would like to add a footnote to what Joe said about 3 basic chords: Major, minor and dominant(music theory is not boring) He left out the batshit crazy George Shearing melange of chordy goodness. There's chord changes and then there's chords which change whomever is listening to them. You need a musical archaeologist to dig down into George's chords to find the basic major minor dominant structures.

Rob De Witt said...

I agree with Jewel (and Joe...) Back when I was trying to progress from bluegrass to playing standards, I remember one day having the astounding insight that everything reduces to II V I eventually.

At that point I'd been singing Bach, etc for 30 years or so, and attempting to play the guitar for 16. Suddenly I realized that you could hear the chord changes in Mozart and Italian arias. Eureka!

I further agree with Jewel, btw, that the real deal is the density made possible by chord substitutions and subtle segues. There are some wonderful stories of keyboard gunslingers seeking out J.S. Bach for showdowns, and being left befuddled as Bach's improvisations migrated into hitherto unimagined keys.

I still can't follow the key relationships in Bach fugues, even though they sound perfectly consonant and unsurprising. A man's gotta know his limits, I guess..

I met Joe too, sometime in the early '80s in Oakland. Nice guy for sure. Thanks for putting this up - always great to meet somebody else with eclectic tastes.

Jewel said...

Chord structures, like linguistics have always fascinated me, Rob. I used to teach piano, and using Bach's basic chord I-IV-V structure in his first prelude in both major minor phases was eye opening to kids. When I showed them how many songs they could figure out just using that simple construct, it was like getting money.
Another great chord structure which has a lot of good songs is the I-vi-IV-V (Body and Soul)or this one:
I'll write it out as chord changes in C: C, G, C7, F, F minor, C (G in the bottom) Fminor, G. Now...name that tune, and remember, you don't have to play a 1-3-5 chord structure. Chord changes are just the ones nearest each other and don't require jumping around.

Rob De Witt said...

Hmmmm...

Okay, I give up. What are we playing here?

Of course as I earlier went without saying (and as a friend puts it, if something goes without saying long enough people forget that it's true...,) the use of inversions is what makes possible interesting bass-lines - as well, of course, as internal voice-leading.

What's truly wonderful about Joe's point that everything devolves into major, minor (actually m7) and dominant is that all the old guys I've met who can play anything-in-any-key have always recognized that Keep It Simple, Stupid is the way to get at the tune in the quickest possible fashion, and play a good rhythm line by the second time through.

Younger players I've known have often gotten lost in the extensions (9ths, etc) to the detriment of being able to make sense out of the harmony. It's to be admitted, of course, that most of my fascination has been with what I call standards (20s-30s-40s pop tunes,) wherein the most marvelous effects can be experienced using the simplest of structural elements. It quickly becomes apparent when playing swing-era music that the same patterns re-assert themselves on the fingerboard to produce VI-II-V-I in its various inversions - which include, to my mind, what I call 3rd inversion with the 7th tone in the base. Most wonderful is listening to Freddie Green playing 10th chords and producing those gorgeous counter-melodies on the 3rd and 4th strings while maintaining the perfect voice-leading in the bass line. Scrumptious, and endlessly fascinating.

My earliest AHA! was upon discovery, in one of my two harmony classes, that the cycle of 5ths was - The World According To Don't Let Your Deal Go Down. Over 40 years later, I still use that example to explain the concept to bluegrass pickers venturing out into the mystery of Beyond Three Chords. Check out what guitar players are doing behind Texas fiddlers sometime - two chords per measure, progressive bass lines, etc, and ending with the Texas Go-round (I-I first inversion-IV-IV#dim-V-I). That stuff got started when Bob Wills hired jazz guitarist Eldon Shamblin for the Texas Playboys, and Shamblin started playing moving bass lines behind 3-chord fiddle tunes.

Fun stuff, and great to talk with you. Now what are we playing?

Rob De Witt said...

Hmmmm...

Okay, I give up. What are we playing here?

Of course as I earlier went without saying (and as a friend puts it, if something goes without saying long enough people forget that it's true...,) the use of inversions is what makes possible interesting bass-lines - as well, of course, as internal voice-leading.

What's truly wonderful about Joe's point that everything devolves into major, minor (actually m7) and dominant is that all the old guys I've met who can play anything-in-any-key have always recognized that Keep It Simple, Stupid is the way to get at the tune in the quickest possible fashion, and play a good rhythm line by the second time through.

Younger players I've known have often gotten lost in the extensions (9ths, etc) to the detriment of being able to make sense out of the harmony. It's to be admitted, of course, that most of my fascination has been with what I call standards (20s-30s-40s pop tunes,) wherein the most marvelous effects can be experienced using the simplest of structural elements. It quickly becomes apparent when playing swing-era music that the same patterns re-assert themselves on the fingerboard to produce VI-II-V-I in its various inversions - which include, to my mind, what I call 3rd inversion with the 7th tone in the base. Most wonderful is listening to Freddie Green playing 10th chords and producing those gorgeous counter-melodies on the 3rd and 4th strings while maintaining the perfect voice-leading in the bass line. Scrumptious, and endlessly fascinating.

Rob De Witt said...

Ooops -

Jewel said...

It's the chord changes for the song 'If'.

Tom Francis said...

"There are three kinds of chords."

He's absoutely right. The three kinds of chords are:

1 - The ones you can play.

2 - The ones you can't play.

3 - The ones you wish you could play.

That about sums it up. :>)