[JPL] Joshua Redman

Rick McLaughlin rick at rickmclaughlin.com
Tue May 1 15:49:30 EDT 2007

Thanks for the interesting post, Phillip,

Yes, there are a plethora of ways to not play the changes without sounding
wrong.  Theories abound - Garzone's triad theory; George Russell's Lydian
Chromatic Concept; uses of tonal expansion (see Jerry Bergonzi's Vol. 6 book
for a nice overview of that); Berklee uses terms like "Modal Interchange."
To me, the theories are important for improvisers because as it turns out
(again, to me) what matters is intent.  If you mean to say that, then it's
right.  The theories help provide a framework or a language for what you
have to say, but in the end it is your personal voice that matters.  

Nothing like B maj triad on a C min chord (leading tone, 3rd and #11); A maj
on a C maj (giving you #15, the raised root), and so on and so forth.  My
current fave is using an Ethiopian scale called Anchi Hoye (a pentatonic
that is otherworldly) on, well, everything (I jest, of course).  Use tritone
substitutions on ii V Is or just on iis or whatever.  There are a million

The funny thing about this is that everyone is using it - the triad thing in
particular, but the reharm thing for sure.  Everyone.  Hawk used it.  Prez
used it.  You are right that Ornette does it differently (sometimes called
pivot modulations), but he still reharms stuff, whether it's a vamp or Out
of This World (on Something Else) or if you are merely relating what he
improvises to what's happening in the bass(es) or other horns.  



-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Phillip Greenlief
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2007 2:38 PM
To: 'Jazz Programmers Mailing List'
Subject: RE: [JPL] Joshua Redman

This Week's JPL Sponsor: Voluntary Donors

-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
Subject: [JPL] Joshua Redman

>From a musicians perspective playing with the chord-less trio presents
and interesting set of musical possibilities......good, bad or indifferent.
Saxophone and bass are inherently melodic instruments.....mainly single note
line capability.......but bass players can create two and three note
"chords" and doing so more frequently. That said and because of this limited
ability to create the chord the pressure of "hearing" the chord becomes
almost necessary. One could ask if it really is but with a sax, bass and
drums lineup.....particularly when you're playing standard II V
material....I think it is. If not the song is incomplete IMO. This is were
the harmonic knowledge of the melodic players has to come through and it
does one each track.  
Joshua Redman aside - I'd like to comment on this discussion in terms of the
harmonic approach that is being referred to here.

I would say that the saxophone - drums - bass thing allows absolute freedom
for the players. There's no need to hear the chord, in my opinion. Chords
get in the way, they limit possibilities. If a bassist is implying G7
(because it's part of the chord progression) and I feel like playing an Eb7
shape against it, I can do that without sounding "wrong" - (or bi-tonal,
which isn't so bad, after all - it's quite nice
- Bartok and many others did it in the early 20th century - it's not like
it's a "new" thing).
This leads me to a discussion I've had with students. Let's look at the
notes of the G7 chord (G - B - D - F) and the notes of the Eb7 chord (Eb
- G - Bb - Db). You have one common tone and two tones that are a half-step
away. The other tone (Eb) is a whole-step away from F (the 7th of G7). 
It becomes really easy to see how you can imply Eb7 against G7. By adding
some chromatic shapes to your line - they're almost the same chord, aren't
they? So by eliminating the chord player, you can do all kinds of things
(this is how Trane developed his sheets of sound thing, which came out of
his re-negotiation of the circle of 5ths).  He was able, with rapid-fire
note flurries, to both state the G7 and the Eb7 (as an example) in a single
measure of music. His ability to see pentatonic shapes that had lots of
"cross-references" (common tones) led him to be able stack all these chord
tones on top of a single chord.

Ornette (since we were just talking about him) used a totally different
approach. He said forget the chord and stay focused on the melody. In this
way, he was eventually able to develop his harmelodic approach (but it took
a large ensemble like Prime Time to develop it). With Harmelodics, you can
have a double trio all playing in different keys at the same time. There's
no emphasis on harmony dictating the direction of the music - rather, the
musicians work in their own harmonic area through the proliferation of
melodic lines (with diverse tonal centers) and the "harmony" is created by
the layering of those diverse lines. So melody dictates harmony, not the
other way around.


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