Joshua Redman and Christian McBride play this ending on the tune “On The Sunny Side Of The Street” from Redman’s self-titled 1993 debut album.
Bars 1 and 2 have clear elements of the common bebop language:
syncopated rhythm with a pickup beat
eighth note lines that outline the harmony
chromatic passing tones and enclosures that lead to harmonic tones on strong beats
The second half (starting with the C on bar 3) quotes the classic Strayhorn/Ellington ending on “Take The “A” Train” (originally recorded in 1941)
The final bit of vocabulary (beat 3 on bar 4) I first heard on the tune “Four” from Miles Davis’ Blue Haze (1954). I don’t know for sure whether that is the earliest recorded use of the phrase, but I’ve heard it used often. I particularly like the surprise harmonic substitution by the bass moving down a tritone from C to F#.
Joshua Redman, “On The Sunny Side Of The Street,” Joshua Redman, 1993
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, “Take The “A” Train,” Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band, 1941
This week’s Transcription Tuesday is the first sixteen bars of Kenny Dorham’s solo on Blue Bossa from Joe Henderson’s debut record Page One (1963).
The tune was written by Dorham and and is the type of tune that you can always call at a jam because everyone will know it (it also tends to get groans from those who feel it has been “worn out”). The harmony is primarily in the key of C minor with bars 9-12 taking a short detour to the key of D-flat major.
If you are not already familiar with the tune, make sure to listen to the original melody in addition to checking out this solo.
I won’t spoil the surprise for those of you who haven’t heard it, but suffice to say this is definitely a solo to study if you have ever wondered how to begin improvising.