The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
The element of surprise never failed to enrich a Parker solo. In Measure 10, basically a D 7th passage, only the two notes on the final beat (F sharp and A) are drawn from that chord; the previous five are from the related A Minor 7th, and the G Sharp on the first beat is Parker's way of saying: 'Wait; I'll get to that G Natural in a moment; this is to show you I'm on my way down." In other blues choruses at this point he has carried the idea further by running a B Flat Minor 7th chord before making the chromatic step down to the A Minor 7th.
The most casual glance at the Johnny Hodges solo reveals immediately a musical mentality utterly opposed to Parker's. Hodges' unique alto saxophone personality illustrates the success that can be achieved through individuality of tone and smooth­ness of phrasing rather than for any startling rhythmic or harmonic originality. In Confab with Rah (the second chorus, immediately following the opening theme) he improvises on the age-old I Got Rhythm chord changes, used on dozens of his combo records. What emerges is a pattern of eighth note pass­ages, separated by long pauses. He is given to syncopated ac­cents, most often on the fourth eighth note of the measure (as in 2, 4, 9, 12, 13 and presumably in 16, though the articulation is imperfect). There is a curious uncertainty of intonation about the E Flat at the end of Measure 4 that may indicate to some an attempt to find the quarter tone between E Flat and E Natural; more probably it was intended and fingered as an E Flat. The octave jump in Measure 9 is the only dramatically unexpected effect in the entire sixteen measures, which otherwise are unevent­fully but impressively characteristic of the strikingly effective use to which Hodges puts his tonal and articulative gifts.
In Hodges' solo, as in most of the other music in this CHAPTER, the eighth notes are played evenly in terms of time, though with varying degrees of accentuation. There is no feeling of dotted eighths and sixteenths. In earlier jazz forms a great deal of music was written in dotted eighths and sixteenths though actually played in something a little closer to even eighths, or in a com­promise ternary rhythm that would be more correctly notated by a triplet composed of a quarter and an eighth. It should be noted that if the many dotted eighths and sixteenths in jazz