Tuesday, February 2, 2016

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 432 #477)

I'm Ready and Breathing!!!

Joe did a quick review of what he terms chordal effects last night:

S = shake
TS = tongue shake
RV = rapid vamping
dirty note sustained

He passed out two more transcription pages covering the lyrics and the first solo page. Regarding the solo page, Joe made a few remarks. First he points out that he wishes Walter had hit a more appropriate IV chord note when he lands on bar 5. Just Joe's opinion, but worth considering. Similarly, it is definitely a weak move to play the root of the song (D note) on bar 9 (the V chord) in blues, especially as a resolve note.

For the record, Highway RickEy disagrees with Joe, and posited the interesting observation that the 1 blow is the fourth scale degree of bar 5 and the 1 draw is the fourth scale degree of bar 9. Perhaps curious notes to resolve on, but RickEy hears intent and parallel in them since they're in the same relationship to each chord.

Unresolved, so you be the judge!

Joe's other big takeaway from the solo section is something he feels makes Little Walter great but that he's never heard anyone talk about. Walter has an incredible sense of breathing. He masters long phrases such as this solo shows with little effort on the chromatic - these five bar phrases are on one breath and make killer use of the blues inhale notes. Witness Blue Midnight and Sad Hours for more long inhale phrases.

Why is inhaling so important to blues harp players? The chord tones are inhale notes. The blues notes are inhale notes. When you exhale, you get the 4th and the 6th scale degrees - passing notes at best. They are definitely not compelling parts of blues phrasing.

So in order to practice inhaling, Joe ran through an exercise using his Breathing Fundamentals handout. The band held down a blues shuffle and everyone in class played along, working at their exhale push (marked EP). Practice these long holds at home - they're critical to playing blues with maximum horsepower!

Class Notes
  • This session's recording date is Monday, February 22. 
  • Amp for sale: Tom Gilmore has a '59 Bassman Reissue for sale. Email him if you're interested.
- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew

No comments:

Post a Comment