Jul 16, 2012

The "Lady Bird" Turnaround, the Jazz Auction, Treble Clefs, and More

Thinking about my last couple of posts, I was reminded of the different takes on the turnaround to Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird," and thought I'd write a quick post about a vintage leadsheet I had run across, that I had thought might settle the matter. But looking a little closer, the issue became more complex. Here's how it went, more or less chronologically:

1) I used the old Real Book version of "Lady Bird" for years - in fact, since the old RB first came out. It is straightforward, and easy to memorize. I had an LP of a Tadd/Fats Navarro version, but I had never listened to it analytically.

2) When the Sher "New RB" came out, it had two lead sheets for "Lady Bird," both of them different from the old RB - a Miles version, and a Tadd/Fats version. I noticed the differences and wondered about them, but never actually researched it.

3) In 2005, Guernsey's auction house in NY staged an incredible auction of jazz memorabilia, including sheet music, instruments, and personal items that were consigned by the families of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Gerry Mulligan, and many more. A catalog with details about the items was printed, and sold for (I recall) $26. I had to have one, of course, although actually bidding on the items was out of the question for me financially. The catalog was easily worth the $26. Besides documenting the amazing collection of auction items, it had thumbnails of some manuscripts - for example, the original score to "A Love Supreme" (final sale price: $129,200), the chords to "Naima" in Coltrane's writing ($10,620), and... a leadsheet to "Lady Bird" ($1534) that had belonged to Coltrane. The catalog seemed to imply that this chart was in Tadd Dameron's handwriting. The turnaround in bars 15-16 was shown as  |  C  Ebmaj  |  Abmaj  Dbmaj  ||  (the chart showed triangular "delta" signs to indicate "major").

Note: Apparently you can still purchase this catalog from Guernsey's. The price is $60 now. Click this link and scroll down.

4) So, I thought that that settled it. Assuming that "C" and "Ebmaj" were meant to indicate major 7 chords, it would seem that the old RB got it right. Whether it was in Tadd or Coltrane's hand, I figured that if Trane learned it that way, it was good enough for me. Besides, I liked the sound of the parallel major 7 chords, and was used to playing the tune that way.

5) So back to the present - I thought this would make a nice little post. However...

6) Looking a little closer, the notation on the lead sheet thumbnail did not seem to match the other Tadd Dameron offerings in the catalog, at all. The other Tadd charts were much cleaner, and nicely calligraphed. Now, it's possible that someone else did the copy work for Tadd, but it started me thinking.

7) Looking at some of the other Coltrane charts, I started to think that it looked more like his writing. One problem with this idea was his style of writing a treble clef. The clefs in the "Lady Bird" chart used what I might call the "stick" approach, while almost all of his other work used what I'll call the "curvy" approach. Shown here are my own renditions of the "stick" and "curvy" approaches.

8) However! Another of the papers up for auction, thumbnail provided, was a sheet showing Coltrane's practicing how to draw a treble clef; he tried it both ways. I'd guess that both the practice sheet and the "Lady Bird" sheet were from very early in his career. And it's still possible that someone else wrote the lead sheet.

9) A couple of other characteristics of Trane's notation convinced me that the chart was probably in his handwriting: Indicating a major 7 chord with just a letter and a triangle, as in the "Naima" sheet;
and showing quarter note triplets with a "3" within a broken bracket (my writing, not his).

10) But of course, the best info about a tune is to be found in the recordings. Here, once again, the tracks posted quasi-legally on YouTube were quite helpful. Here are some of the versions I checked out:

Miles with Charlie Parker playing "Half Nelson" (1947) (This tune uses "Lady Bird" changes, slightly tweaked, with a different melody, by Miles) 
Tadd Dameron (1948) with Fats Navarro, Allen Eager, Wardell Gray. Very much arranged, with intro, harmony lines, kicks, shout chorus, and coda. 
Tadd Dameron and Miles Davis (1949) with James Moody.
Miles Davis (1951). Jam session format, not much of the arrangement. Date and personnel listing is more correctly listed here.
Miles with Coltrane playing "Half Nelson" (1956). Uses shout chorus from "Lady Bird" original arrangement to set up drum solo. 
Dexter Gordon and James Moody (1969). Uses shout chorus from original arrangement to set up drum solo. 
Tommy Flanagan with Jerry Dodgion (1979)

Where the piano was audible, I can't say that I heard the all-maj7-chord version of the turnaround in any of these versions. I didn't hear solo lines outlining all maj7 chords, either. Of course, I'm just a horn player, without a pianist's ear, but overall, IMHO, I heard  |  Cmaj7  Eb7  |  Abmaj7  Db7  ||. The last chord could equally well be G7. Please have a listen to these, and let me know what you think.

The Tadd Dameron performances are very much arranged, with harmony lines, an 8-bar "shout chorus" that sets up an 8-bar solo break, and arranged kicks. Some of the other performances include this shout chorus line as well. The only fake book source that shows any of this is the Sher "New RB," which shows the shout chorus as part of the "Miles" version, and some of the harmony notes and kicks in the "Fats/Tadd" version.

The original melody uses the notes as shown in my third handwritten example above for measure 3, with a similar shape in m7. This is a sort of "Honeysuckle Rose" shape. Often, though, the last 2 notes of m 3 will be switched (likewise in m7). Measures 4 and 8 are also played in various ways by different players - though I've not heard any versions with the b5 notes shown in the old RB for mm 4 and 8.

11) Just because a lead sheet belonged to a young John Coltrane, does not mean that it is "correct." All sorts of lead sheets have no doubt been floating around since the late 1940s. Here are some of the versions I checked:
a) The Coltrane sheet that we have been discussing. 
b) The earliest fake book source that I can find is in a pre-Real Book bootleg from the early 1960s (I think). It was published with the title "Library of Musicians' Jazz," and probably reprinted under other titles also. Perhaps you have seen this book - the titles look like this: 
This chart shows the melody as played in the 1948 arrangement, but shows the turnaround as all major 7 chords...as does the old RB. Maybe it was a source for the old RB. 
c) The old RB version - The melody here is a bit different - in m4 and m8, the phrase finishes on the b5 of the chord. It sounds good, but I haven't found any classic recordings that do that. And incidentally, these notes in m4 and m8 seem to have been added in later, by someone with a different manuscript style.
d) The Sher New RB versions - The "Miles" version seems accurate; the "Tadd/Fats" version is also, though it omits some harmony notes and kicks, and does not show the shout chorus.
e) The Colorado Cookbook - Very close to the 1948 Tadd/Fats version, but in a minimal format, with no harmony, kicks, or shout chorus.
f) The Hal Leonard "6th Edition RB" version - Measures 4 and 8 were copied from the old RB, but the turnaround is fixed. Again, minimal format.
12) Conclusion? Well, as usual, one must consider the alternatives, and make a choice. I'm inclined to go with  | Cmaj7  Eb7 |  Abmaj7  Db7  || as a basic version, but I might play it differently at any given moment, just for the heck of it. I'm not sure how I'd play the melody at any given moment, but if playing with someone else, now I'd at least be aware of which variation they might be using. And it's good to know that cool shout chorus.

While we are on the subject, here are a few observations about the harmony in this tune:

1) The melody in bars 3-4 sounds like a II V lick (Honeysuckle Rose or otherwise); perhaps Dameron was thinking of this as a II V in Eb. To me, though, the  |  Fm7  |  Bb7  | comes across more as a IVm bVIIdom in C. I don't hear the key of Eb being established, so much as a change of mode from C major to C minor. Of course, whether Eb major or C minor, it's 3 flats in both cases. For solos, you could think either way. C blues licks can work well in mm 3-4.

2) | Cmaj7  Eb7 |  Abmaj7  Db7  || for the turnaround is a variation of the very basic  |  Cmaj7  A7  | Dm7  G7  | , via a couple of tritone substitutions, and the substitution of Abmaj7 for Dm7. However, this way the Eb7  Abma7  comes across as a quick, temporary change of key:  V  I  into Ab major. The first 6 beats of the turnaround are like a snippet of "Giant Steps" changes. It's worth noting that the main part of the tune includes a modulation from C major into Ab major in mm 5-10; if the turnaround is played this way, it reflects that part of the tune.

Here's a great article about the 2005 auction.

Jul 6, 2012

"Footprints," Continued

A few more thoughts, picking up where the last post left off:

Applying the principle of "melody first," it's obvious that "Footprints" is a 12-bar blues in minor. If this were a generic blues, bars 9-10 might be harmonized in a way more or less like one of these:
|  Dm7  |  G7  |  
|  Dm7b5  |  G7b9  | 
|  D7  |  G7  | 
|  Ab7  |  G7  |
|  G7  |  Fm7  |

The melody uses a repeated B natural (leading tone in C minor) in bar 9, to a long Bb note in bar 10. To my ear, that works best with either  |  D7  |  G7  |  or   |  G7  |  Fm7  |. So here's hazarding another guess: Wayne wanted something hipper, taking one of these variations along a different route.

In the case of  |  D7  |  G7  | , here's how it might have gone:

F#m7b5 is the same thing as D9, minus the root D.
It could then be recast as the II chord in a II V :  |  F#m7b5  B7  | . That's bar 9. In our "bio" progression, he drops the b5 on the F# chord.

In bar 10, triads on both E and A are perfectly good upper structures for G7. Also, using these chords allows the bass line to continue along the circle of fourths. The tensions indicated in the "bio," Sher, and Aebersold charts add color, yet don't do anything to spoil the overall "G7" function of the measure.

You might note that the old bootleg Real Book shows  |  D7  |  Db7  | . In a reductionist sense, maybe the old RB wasn't entirely wrong, after all.

If the original route were via   |  G7  |  Fm7  | , it might have gone this way:

In bar 9, prepare the G7 with a D7, substitute F#m7b5 for D7, then route it to B7 instead, as in the previous case; in bar 10, think Fm6 with E in the bass (this equals E7"alt"), then route it to A7, as above.

Just guessing.

Also, I'm guessing that leaving the "7" off the B and A chords in the "bio" chart was inadvertent.

As for why the A7(#5, #9, #11) moves so nicely into the Cm9 that follows in bar 11, it's because 1) We totally expect a Cm9 there, and because 2) In Wayne's harmony, a dominant sound, creating tension, can pretty much resolve anywhere, into any tonic-sounding target chord.

Jul 4, 2012

Those "Footprints" Changes

I've just finished reading "Footprints," Michelle Mercer's biography of Wayne Shorter. This book goes a long way toward explaining Wayne's personality and his music, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is a Wayne fan. Although the book doesn't attempt much in the way of musical analysis, it includes a handwritten lead sheet of "Footprints" as a frontispiece.

As you may know, the chords to measures 9 and 10 appear a number of different ways in different publications. So it appears that we finally have something like a definitive version...or do we?

This lead sheet includes an intro in 4/4 that I've never heard played on any recording, by Wayne or anyone else. The chart also features a small change in the bass line in m 12, with the notes shown as:
(A kind of Picardy third thing - no one plays this, either...)

I had been under the impression that Wayne contributed lead sheets to the Aebersold playalong, as well as to the "Footprints" chart in the Sher New Real Book. While all very similar, these charts (bio, Aebersold, Sher) are not identical. Other print sources show some very different versions of the harmony for these two measures.

Following are some versions of mm 9-10:

From the "Footprints" bio mentioned above:
|  F#m9  B(+5, +9)  |  E7+9  A(+5, +9, +11)  |    (note: no 7 shown on the B or A chords)
From the Sher New Real Book, vol. 1:
|  F#m11(b5)  F13(#11)  |  E7alt  A7alt  |   or alternatively,  
|  F7(#11)  E7(#9)  |  D7alt  G7#5  |
Aebersold vol. 33:
|  F#m7b5  B7+9  |  E7+9  A7(+5, +9) or Eb7#11  |
Colorado Cookbook:
|  Gbm7b5  F7#11  |  E7#9  A7alt  |   or alternatively, with a 4 against 6 feel:
|  Dbsus/Ab   Csus/Db   Bsus/F3   Bbsus/B   |   Asus/E   Absus/A   Gsus/D   Gbsus/G   | 
"The Ultimate Jazz Fake Book" (Hal Leonard)
|  F7b5  F13  |  E9b5  A9  |
Old (bootleg) Real Book:
 |   D7   |   Db7   |
Jimmy Rowles (via David Ferris - see this discussion):
|  F#m11  B7  |  Fm11  Bb13(#11)  |
Hal Leonard "Artist Transcriptions":
|  D13  G9  |  Em7b5  A7  | 
Hal Leonard "6th Edition" Real Book:
|  F#m7b5  F7#11  |  E7b5(#9)  A7b5(#9)  |

So which version is "right"? Well, if you want to approximate the treatment of this tune on the "Adam's Apple" LP  (the first time it was recorded, February 1966), you should probably use the first version above. It seems to be pretty close to the way the band plays mm 9-10.

By the time "Footprints" was recorded by Miles Davis' group on the "Miles Smiles" album (October 1966), the treatment of the tune had become more abstract. Here are a few later live recordings by Miles' group:

Sweden 10/31/67  (the form is very loose)
Germany 11/7/67
France July 1969

On Wayne's "Footprints Live" album (2005), the treatment is very free indeed.

I would hazard a guess that Wayne did supply lead sheets for Aebersold and Sher, but that he tweaked each one a little differently. That's a composer's privilege.

You might note that in the lead sheet from the bio and in the Aebersold chart, chord extensions are specified, and the expression "alt" is not used. I'd hazard another guess - that the editors of the Sher book decided to use the "alt" expression. "Alt" means that both the ninth and the fifth have been altered (raised or lowered) in some way, but the expession does not specify exactly how. The "bio" chart is quite specific. The expression "alt" also implies the usage of a "altered" (aka "superlocrian" or "diminished whole tone") scale over the chord; I don't think that's necessarily what Wayne had in mind.

Some of the charts exhibit definite wrongness: for example, the "Ultimate Jazz Fake Book" chart shows bars 5-6 as Abmaj7. The "Artist Transcriptions" chart seems pretty far off in the chords to mm 9-10, and besides that is written in 3/4 rather than in 6/4. You might say that that is a judgement call, but all of the supposedly Wayne-derived charts show the tune in 6/4. Anyway, when notated in 6/4 it looks more like a 12-bar blues.

So - I'd say check out the sound of these various versions, and take your choice. Also bear in mind that Wayne left this sort of literalness behind long ago, 40+ years ago. Here's an excerpt from an interview with Eric Nemeyer in January 2000, printed in the magazine "Jazz Improv," regarding the song "Dolores," also from the "Miles Smiles" album:
Wayne:  "...we were actually tampering with something called DNA in music in a song. So you just do the DNA and not the whole song. You do the characteristics. You say, "Okay, I will do the ear of the face, I will do the left side of the face. You do the right side of the face..."
EN: "You are looking at maintaining the flavor and character of the tune without necessarily being bound by the harmonic structure that was underlying the melody?"
Wayne: "Yeah. Because...in those days we were talking about getting rid of the bar lines."
EN: "Yeah. and was Herbie Hancock's accompanying - do you know if he was looking at it the same way? Or was it just meant for the whole thing to be loose and 'let's use our ears and see what goes'?"
Wayne: "Yeah, that's all..." 
Many of the points in this post are considered in forum discussions here, here, and here.

There are a few more thoughts about "Footprints" in my next post.