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The Anatomy of Improvisation                                              235
lester young / The Opener
the blues involves the use, always in exquisite taste, of octave tremolos (as in 5 and 9), of adherence to the basic chords of the blues despite the added subtleties of such passing chords as the chromatic descent in Measures 12 and 13; and the incredibly swift use of straight arpeggios—notice that in Measure 11, after playing 22 notes in less than two seconds, he promptly gets back on the rhythmic rails to contrast this technical flourish with a left hand syncopation followed by an earthy blues phrase in Measure 12.
The Teddy Wilson blues, taken at around the same tempo, also comprises the four-measure introduction and opening ad lib chorus. Wilson here gives less of an impression of embellishment than of factual statement: this is the blues. There are fewer pass­ing chords, and during some measures the underlying harmony remains unchanged throughout. Aside from the somewhat rococo lead-in, during Measure 8, to the second blues stanza that begins with the E Flat 9th chord in the following measure, there is more here than in Tatum that can be pinned down as a definite