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The Anatomy of Improvisation
cent of the third beat corresponds with the dissonant E Natural and E Flat against the B Flat 7th chord before the consonant D is reached; and on the fourth beat the B Natural and A Natural are neighboring notes on either side of the B Flat that opens the next measure. The naturally swinging 16th measure (dotted quarter, eighth, two sets of triplets) leads smoothly into a series of sarcastic comments on the return to harmonic home base: Fs fingered naturally, producing the normal tone, alternate with E Naturals fingered at half-valve, with the squeezed sound, before Gillespie concedes to the inevitable and returns to the tonic.
One of the earliest and most constant criticisms leveled against bop at the time of its initial impact was the complaint that it was too complex, was characterized mainly by a flurry of notes displayed simply for the sake of technical exhibitionism. No more eloquent refutation could be found than in the sample solo by Jay Jay Johnson. This is an excerpt from Indiana Winter> a variation in fast tempo (62 bars per minute) on the same chord sequence as How High the Moon. Here one is reminded that creative improvisation is composed not merely of the notes played, the tone in which they are expressed and their relationship to the chord pattern, but also to such relevant factors as their relative dynamic values, intervallic relationship, and their exact duration (it might be said that to all intents and purposes no two quarter notes are ever exactly the same length; the path from staccato to legato is broad and flexible). Johnson's solo is brusquely emphatic, resorting frequently to the notes played directly on the beat and syncopating as a rule only toward the end of each phrase. There is a legato swing, a dynamic ebb and flow to his phrases—the notes in Measures 3-4 furnish a perfect illustration. The E Flat and D Flat in Measure 4 suggest a G Flat 13th passing chord.
The entire motive of Measures 5-12 is that of following the harmonic curves of the theme with a minimum of melodic suggestion. A three-note phrase, changed slightly in its melody each time to conform with the rhythm section's chords, is altered also in its rhythmic use (the syncopation is omitted in Measure 7, and there seems to be a slight fluff in Measure 9, which leaves in doubt the question of whether or not there would have been a