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The Blues as Form

wed 5 jun 2024
Theme: Jazz
Saturday June 8th, 2024, 10:00 PM – Deep Jazz.
We know the blues as a genre, which originated in America, among the African-American population. The blues was sung, accompanied by guitar or piano. Apart from that, you can also see the concept of blues as a form that can also be used purely instrumentally. That format has spread widely in Jazz, Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll. Characteristic are the 12 bars – also: eight or sixteen – and the three basic chords. The number of chords could be expanded, and the chords developed from triads to complex harmonies. The shape can be decorated and completed in such a way that the blues is barely recognizable. Of the eleven pieces in this programme, five have a blues form. Organ Grinder Swing is on the album of the same name by organist Jimmy Smith (1965). Guitarist Kenny Burrell and drummer Grady Tate complete the trio. It is the nice swinging opening for the hour. A textbook example of the Jimmy Smith style. The album was a commercial success.
Watermelon Man was also a success. Pianist/composer Herbie Hancock published it on his debut album Takin’ Off in 1962. It became a standard. Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria contributed greatly to the popularity of the piece with his version in 1963, which you can hear version here. An immediately appealing, perfect composition, perfectly executed. A 16-time blues.
In 1924, Duke Ellington composed his C Jam Blues. The melodic element could not be shorter: only two notes, G and C. That combination is repeated twice within twelve bars. Pianist Oscar Peterson recorded it in 1962 (album NIght Train, with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen).
The temperature rises considerably in the long drawn-out Blues for Woody, from the album United (1981) by trumpeter Woody Shaw. Solos for five of the six musicians. Tenorist Stanley Turrentine married organist Shirley Scott (photo) in the 1960s. The couple can be heard on many recordings, including on the 1964 album Hustlin’. Guitarist Kenny Burrell – see Organ Grinder Swing – is also present here. Hard swing in this 8-mode, harmonically stripped down scheme with a continuous back beat.
Details in the Guide.
Deep Jazz – Hans Mantel