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The Anatomy of Improvisation 219
and Louis inspire not only each other but even provide artificial respiration for the drowning rhythm section.
Armstrong's opening break is a masterpiece in itself, climbing determinedly a tenth from its middle C opening, but spacing and syncopating the notes, melodically and rhythmically, so that no mere diatonic or chromatic rise is even hinted at. Having established this upbeat mood, he maintains an extraordinary tension through a constant reiteration of the tonic, almost without relief, for the next twelve measures, heightening the sense of drama by raising it an octave unexpectedly toward the end (14 and 16). Even in the rest of this chorus, and indeed throughout the whole solo, Louis remains on firm, basic harmonic ground, never straying from the blues' elementary 1-4-5 pattern, leaning heavily on ''blue notes" (first beat of every measure from 25 through 30; fourth beat of 31, third of 32, second of 33, first of 34 and 35) and also (especially toward the end) on the sixth.
The endless variety of his dynamic approach and articulation is also easily observed in this solo. Many notes are tongued sharply; others, as the first note in 7, are played with a fast vibrato. Some, like the anguished blue notes that launch the closing chorus (25, 26, 27) are bent in pitch while the fingering remains unchanged; others form part of a slow, heartfelt glis-sando, of which the one at Measure 29 is perhaps the most moving. The last note in 29 is fluffed, though the mood has by now been so exquisitely established that it is no more jarring than a small pebble to a limousine. Lee Castle, who transcribed this solo, substituted an A for the fluffed note, though it suggests a C to this listener. An emotional high point is reached when, by happy coincidence, Armstrong comes out of the G in Measure 31 with three notes that happen to have exactly the same time values as three notes played by Earl Hines-an E Flat, C and D corresponding with Hines' A, G and A. This is one of those polyphonic miracles on which collective improvisation so often depends.
The next example shows a Roy Eldridge improvisation, at fast tempo, on the regular 12-measure blues pattern. It is heard about one minute and 55 seconds from the start of Trumpet Blues, im-