There's more to Stormy Monday than lyrics and notes.
By which we mean rhythm.
What is T-Bone Walker doing rhymically when he solos? Shoji broke it down beautifully for us last night. The first step is to think of four quarter notes per bar. Now divide those each into triplets. Then divide each triplet into twice as many notes - six, which is called a compound triplet.
This faster, double-time feel is the rhythm T-Bone Walker hears and plays over at times. If you listen to his solo, he is sometimes playing over slow blues (ie the slow triplets) but other times jumping to double-time. It is important to know he is not just randomly playing a lot of fast notes - he hears 1, 3 and 5 out of those six notes in his head or he hears 1 and 4 and alternates his playing between those two rhythms.
Don't get hung up thinking this is just the sort of thing jazz players do - Shoji pointed out Delta blues players like Charlie Patton did this plenty and you can certainly hear it in the playing of Little Walter.
It was an amazing evening of teaching and demonstration and the take away is, as both Shoji and Joe reiterated, that in this music we love, rhythm is more important (and admittedly more difficult to master) than notes.
Listen again to Little Milton's version because the whole band, not just the soloist, goes to the double-time feel: Stormy Monday.
Joe put together a lead sheet for Stormy Monday here.
- See ya in B1!
Hohner has a contest running:
You and your harmonica in the most unusual location!
You and your harmonica – that’s all we want. Be it on a backpack trip through Asia, on your vacation in the Caribbean, or in the middle of a desert. In fact, the more unusual the location is, the better!
What do you get in return? How does 1.000 Euros sound to you? That’s right: We’re giving away 1.000 Euros for the best photo and for the best video.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew