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The Anatomy of Improvisation
placidity rather than an elaborately built intensity seems to be his keynote, though with the arrival of the two chords that link Measures 12 and 13 a peak of warmth is reached, and with the simple and general melodic phrase in Measure 14, Wilson seems to be saying, with finality, "Yes, this is really the blues."
The difference in approach represented by Bud Powell is illustrated with a passage from one of the ad lib choruses in one of his own compositions, Hallucinations. The solo shown starts about one minute and ten seconds from the beginning of the performance. Although the tempo is bright, there are two chord changes per measure (i.e., two per second) almost continuously. Though Powell is capable of improvisation far more complex in character, these 16 measures typify the revolution he brought about in jazz piano, since the concept is an entirely linear right hand one, while the left hand is used only for punctuations, usually directly on, or half a beat before, the first and third beats. It is interesting to note that although this solo was played without bass and drums, Powell's left hand throughout seems to be doing exactly what it would have done had a rhythm section been present
The choice of Tatum, Wilson and Powell for a documentation in this chapter is not intended to imply that theirs were the three most influential piano styles in jazz history. So many others might as easily be considered qualified for inclusion that an entire book dedicated to some of the hundreds of great piano artists of the past and present would be mandatory for a comprehensive survey.
That jazz at times is capable of dynamic mobility with little or no syncopation can be discerned in the illustration of a guitar solo by Charlie Christian. Recorded during a 1941 jam session at Minton s, this passage shows the second half of a chorus based on the familiar chord sequence originally associated with Honeysuckle Rose, played at a moderate tempo (about 46 measures per minute). Christian's pattern basically is an even flow of eighth notes. Almost the only syncopation can be found in an occasional "bebop" (as on the first two beats of Measure 3, 6, 13) and in the octave-unison D Flats that constitute the final four measures. As is often the case with modern jazzmen (among whom Christian, despite his death in 1942 at 22, certainly must be numbered)