Odd Meters

Beatrice – Robert Glasper arrangement in 7

Hello again – back again after a bit of a hiatus.  I’m continuing to work on jazz in odd meters and have transcribed the harmony from Robert Glasper’s arrangement of the great Sam Rivers tune “Beatrice” from his album In My Element.  For my tastes, the arrangement is a little too dense.  I like Glasper’s reharmonization, and the tune sounds great in 7, but together it feels a little busy.  Plus, I feel like it’s a little too fast to really appreciate the new harmony.  But that’s just my tastes.  Still a cool arrangement.  I dig the symmetry of the first eight bars – four bars of harmony ascending by half step, then four bars of harmony ascending by whole step.  It makes the transition from Dmin to Emin in bar 6 a nice surprise to the ears.  Enjoy!

Jazz in Odd Meters – Standards in 7/4 time

Part two of my “Standards In Odd Meters” posts, featuring my favorite recordings of standards in 7/4 time.

(Check out Part 1 – Standards in 5/4 time!)

Startin’ things off right with Joshua Redman’s version of “Summertime” from the fantastic Timeless Tales (For Changing Times) disc, which features Brad Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Brian Blade on drums.  I found a live version on YouTube, shown below.  Enjoy!

Next up – Ryan Kisor’s version of “Song For My Father” from his album Donna Lee.   This great album features Sam Yahel on organ, Peter Bernstein on guitar, and Greg Hutchinson on drums.  Well worth a listen.  If the AAB form of the tune didn’t already lead to enough confusion, Kisor takes the “A” sections in seven and the “B” section in 8.  Very interesting.  Check it out on MySpace.

From Kurt Elling’s most recent CD, The Gate, a very cool cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Golden Lady”.  It’s not exactly a jazz standard, but definitely worth mentioning.  Hearing the tune in seven, it just sounds like it was supposed to be written that way.  Like “Song For My Father” it’s not in seven throughout, but it adds a cool effect.  The Gate is a solid album – certainly not my favorite Elling album – but solid nonetheless.

Next up, Brad Mehldau’s ridiculous version of “All The Things You Are” from The Art of the Trio, Vol 4.  Not much to say about this one – completely and totally ridiculous.  Also, a half step higher than the usual key.

From Robert Glasper’s In My Element, a swift version of Sam Rivers’ tune “Beatrice”.  Glasper has also added some interesting reharmonizations to the tune.  Check it out.  (And check out my lead sheet here!)

From Jacky Terrasson’s album Smile, an interesting version of “Parisian Thoroughfare”.  Enjoy!


Jazz in Odd Meters – Standards in 5/4 time

5 is the new 4.  Or is it “7 is the new 4”?  I can never remember.  I’ve been working on odd meters lately, 5/4 and 7/4 in particular, so I thought a list of my favorite odd-metered standards would make a good post.  I’d love to make a post of favorite odd-meter originals, but it would probably be dominated by Dave Holland tunes.

(Check out Part 2 – Standards in 7/4 time)

First off, from the exceptionally talented Esperanza Spaulding is “Body and Soul” (Cuerpo y Alma) in 5/4 time.   It features a fantastic bass riff (which is to be expected with Esperanza) and some great solo work by pianist Leo Genovese.

Next, a really hip version of “Like Someone In Love” also in 5/4 from the Sam Yahel trio (w. Peter Bernstein and Brian Blade).  For those who are unfamiliar with Sam Yahel, he is the organist/keyboardist from Joshua Redman’s burnin’ Elastic Band.  And if you’re unfamiliar with Joshua Redman’s Elastic Band, you need to check them out.  Yahel does the tune in Ab (instead of the traditional Eb) and it opens with a very cool diminished vamp.  Check it out below.

Next up – “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” from one of the masters of the odd meter – Brad Mehldau.  From Art Of The Trio Vol 1, a nice version in 5/4 time.

Check it out here

Next, from great Chicago saxophonist Geof Bradfield, “Con Alma”.  The A sections are in a quick 5/4 and the bridge is in a slower 4.  Taken from the album Urban Nomad which features fantastic Chicago-based pianist Ron Perillo.

Check it out here

Then, on to “So In Love” as played by the masterful Fred Hersch.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a full recording online, but it is from the album Night & The Music.

Here’s the track.

Lastly, check out Jacky Terrasson’s version of “Smile” by the great Charlie Chaplin.  Here’s a live take.