The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘hardbop’

A Baptist Beat

Posted by keithosaunders on August 15, 2015

I found a video of me playing with bassist, Dylan Johnson, at a house concert in San Luis Obispo.  I had forgotten that this was up there when I happened to stumble across it tonight.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  I’m playing a tune by one of the great unsung saxophone heroes of jazz — Hank Mobley!  It’s called A Baptist Beat. (don’t tell anybody I’m Jewish)

Hey!  Are you looking at my bald spot?!  What do you want from me I’m almost 55!

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Jazz sick days

Posted by keithosaunders on November 15, 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post the past two years has been a boom time for me. I keep waiting for the work to slow down but improbably it continues. It has been my credo to take most any gig offered – that is to say I will not turn down work merely to allow myself a day off. Of course a gig has to pay a minimum amount, but this being the jazz business if I told you what that amount was, suffice it to say you would be shocked. And not shocked in the way you would be if you learned what Johnny Depp pays his accountant. Let’s just say if I told you I’d probably have to kill you.

But the thing about being freelance is there are no sick days. I’ve played gigs with fevers colds, flus, and thrown backs. (Have you ever played a thrown-back gig? HAVE YOU?!) If you cancel the gig, which of course is the sensible thing to do, you’re not guaranteed that you will make up the salary down the line. On the other hand, if you employ warrior mentality and solider on, you could end up prolonging your illness.

This week I was sick with a bad cold and I ended up sitting the difference. After giving my students the option of canceling on Tuesday (which they declined) I ended up canceling my Wednesday night gig and a Thursday afternoon lesson, retaining my Thursday night gig which actually paid well. Now I feel fit as a fiddle for my weekend gigs. Just don’t hug me.

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Wives and lovers

Posted by keithosaunders on April 8, 2011

A few years ago I went into the studio with Bim Strasberg — one of my favorite bassists — to record a few tracks to be used largely for promotion.  We did them in an afternoon, and I was very happy with how they turned out.  It shows you how easy it is to connect with a musician that you are comfortable with, with whom you have played extensively.

Wives and Lovers is a song from the ’60s composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  It contains some of the most politically incorrect lyrics that you are likely to come across.  This song would be ideal for source music in the AMC series, Mad Men.  

Here is a sample:

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

And so it goes…lucky for us that we didn’t have a singer on the date, and that our wives don’t know this song.

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Group

Posted by keithosaunders on January 19, 2011

Here is a track from my trio CD, Lost In Queens.  I am very proud of date and think it is a good representation of my trio, which consists two of my all-time favorite musicians — Bim Strasberg on bass and Taro Okamoto on drums.

The Group

The CD is available here.

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Giant Steps

Posted by keithosaunders on March 9, 2010

Giant Steps is a fascinating album.  It was a breakthrough album for John Coltrane whose frenetic sheets of sound took up residence in its impossibly difficult title track.  The Giant Steps chord changes, which some say are based on the bridge of Rogers and Hart’s Have You Met Miss Jones, would dominate the album, as well as the several record dates that would proceed it.  It is remarkable to hear Coltrane cutting through those changes as if they were butter, particularly on Countdown, a duet with drummer Arthur Taylor for three-quarters of the track. 

Giant Steps is an uptempo song divided into two eight bar sections, the first of which features two disparate changes per measure.  The second eight bar section is a series of ii-V-i progressions resolving in three different keys.  The song is challenging to say the least — a harmonic minefield — and even those with the technique to execute at this tempo have a difficult time making a personal statement. 

Coltrane recorded Giant Steps just one month after his work on Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue, an album noted for its scarcity of chords and moody ambience.  [Kind of Blue was recorded on March 2 and April 22, 1959 while Giant Steps was recorded May 4 and 5, 1959]  

I  have always felt that the songs on Giant Steps served as etudes — vehicles for Coltrane’s obsession with these angular chords.  In the subsequent dates, particularly on Coltrane’s Sound (not released at the time) and My Favorite Things, Coltrane was able to discover the soul in these changes.  His playing became more lyrical, and if it can be believed, even more confident.  

These Atlantic dates, recorded in an 18 month period between April of 1959 and October of 1960, were Coltrane’s farewell to playing over standard 32 bar song chord progressions.  Few players before or since could equal his mastery of harmony, as well as his lyricism.  When he found the drummer and pianist that fit his sound it was if his concept and playing came into alignment.  In the later Atlantic dates you can hear him straddling both hard bop and model music.  In the fall of 1961 at the Village Vanguard things would change for everyone.

Giant Steps

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