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Monday Notes

Someday My Prince Will Come, from Snow White to Jazz

[Monday Notes no. 39] Many songs in the jazz repertoire derive from musicals and films, and cartoons are no exception. In the 1937 cartoon, Snow White sings Someday My Prince Will Come to an audience of dwarves and forest animals.

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Monday Notes

Flamenco Sketches, modal jazz and open form

[Monday’s Notes no. 148] Flamenco Sketches is a track from Miles Davis’ album Kind of Blue, a masterpiece entirely dedicated to modal music. Among the various modal scales, the Phrygian mode and the flamenco scale are of particular importance, hence the title of this composition, of clear Hispanic inspiration. I transcribed and analysed the solos…

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Monday Notes

Kenny Dorham, Blue Bossa. Bossa nova from a Jazzman’s perspective

[Monday Notes no. 113] Blue Bossa is one of the simplest pieces in the jazz repertoire and one of the most popular among beginners. Yet the author Kenny Dorham himself did not take it too seriously, to the point that he only recorded it once. Joe Henderson, on the other hand, liked the piece and…

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Monday Notes

I Remember Clifford, a theme by Benny Golson for his friend Clifford Brown

[Monday’s Note 98] I Remember Clifford was composed by Benny Golson as a tribute to Clifford Brown who died tragically in a car accident. However, the piece does not express despair, it is music inspired more by the memory of the friend than by the sorrow for his death.

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Monday Notes

Booker Little, Man Of Words. Improvisation in Aeolian mode

[Monday Notes no. 96] Booker Little in an interview declared: ‘the most important aspect of music is the emotional aspect’. You only need to listen to Man Of Words to realise that this was not a generic statement, but that Booker Little lived music in a truly intense and profound way.

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Monday Notes

Roy Eldridge, After You’ve Gone. Jazz trumpet between Armstrong and Gillespie

[Monday Note no. 8] Guitarist J.W.Smith remembers that Dizzy Gillespie, his room-mate during a European tour, used to wake him up every morning listening to Roy Eldridge’s After You’ve Gone.

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Monday Notes

Louis Armstrong, West End Blues. Trumpeter singer and showman

[Monday’s Note No. 4] Louis Armstrong is one of the most charismatic characters in jazz history. Of humble origins, he survived a childhood full of dangers, and it almost seems as if a guardian angel lived on his shoulder and that nothing could disturb his extraordinary optimism. We listen to and analyse his performance of…

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Monday Notes

Tadd Dameron, Lady Bird. 16 measures for playing jazz

[Monday Note No. 84] Lady Bird is one of the most famous pieces composed by Tadd Dameron, one of the most important pianists and arrangers for the rise of bebop. Lady Bird is an extremely simple and compact piece, consisting of only 16 measures in which, however, a lot happens.

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Monday Notes

Hot Lips Page, Thirsty Mama Blues. A classic blues tale.

[Monday’s Notes No. 80] The picture of the slacker who stays at home drinking while his wife works to support the family is recurrent in the blues. In fact, in certain historical periods it was easier for a black woman to find work as a servant than for a man. Thirsty Mama Blues by Hot…

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Monday Notes

Bunny Berigan, I Can’t Get Started. The Chet Baker of the 1930s

[Monday Notes no. 76] Bunny Berigan was one of the greatest trumpet players of the 1930s, esteemed and requested by many musicians including Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey. In the song entitled I Can’t Get Started we can appreciate his prowess as a trumpeter, but also his personality and charisma as a singer.

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