Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 383 #427)

A Lot of "E's"!!!

Shoji's been listening to a compilation album of R&B hits from 1948 and '49 and his take is pretty clear - these sax honkers have a lot of bearing on Juke and Little Walter's playing.

We listened to tunes like:
  • Cornbread, Hal Singer (compare this especially to the alternate take opening)
  • Deacon's Hop, Big Jay McNeely
  • The Chicken Shack Boogie, Amos Milburn (check Little Walter's playing on Act Like You Love Me with Jimmy Rogers for this one)
  • Beefstew, Hal Singer
What do you hear in these that Walter's doing on both takes of Juke? Incredibly strong reliance on rhythm over note choice. Listen to how often the horn players play nothing but the tonic. Now check out Walter on the second and seventh verses of Juke. For that matter, throughout the tune he plays a lot of root notes, "E's" and when he strays from that, there is major reliance on the chord tones.

Shoji points out that Beefstew is especially interesting to compare to Juke because in both cases, the lead breaks from the heavy tonic reliance for a few verses, stays within the chord tones, then circles back to rhythmic ideas on the tonic. The compositional structure of the two songs is very similar.

We spend a lot of time considering Juke a masterpiece and finding it unapproachable and assume it's note choice - Shoji's point is that the backbone of this song is in fact not the note choice, it's rhythm. And a lot of E's!

Class Notes
  • Next week is the last class of this session.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew