I got Rhythm Contrafacts: Syntax by JJ Johnson


I just love how JJ takes his ideas, connects them and develops them. I like how he uses runs functionally to move and develop ideas rather than just impress people by doing a lot of runs which I don’t like as much.

Here’s the list of 20 other contrafacts and my sources.

1) wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_jazz_contrafacts ,
2) http://blindman.fr.yuku.com/topic/19791#.VQcRKGRR45g​,
3) https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090322201138AA3FOqH
4) http://www.jazztrumpet.com/lessons/contrafacts.html​

1 ​An Oscar for Treadwell
​charlie parker
2 ​Anthropology
​charlie parker
​3 Apple Jump​
​dexter gordon
4 Dig
​Miles Davis
5 ​Salt Peanuts
​Charlie Parker – Dizzy Gillespie
​6 Syntax
JJ Johnson ​
7 ​Tiptoe
​JJ Johnson
​8 Turnpike
​JJ Johnson
​Stay On It​
​Dizzy Gillespie
​Duke Ellington
​Moose The Mooche
​Jumpin at the Woodside
​Count Basie
​Hoe Down
​Oliver Nelson
​Room 608
​Horace Silver
​O Go Mo
​Kai Winding​
​Chant of the Groove
​Fats Waller​
​Earl Hines​
​Something In B Flat
​Benny Golson​
​Theme of No Repeat
​Tadd Dameron​

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Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding

Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding are two amazing artists. Both are known for their ability to put their own twist on jazz music. “Afro Blue” was originally a song sung by Erykah Badu on Glasper’s album, but Esperanza does an amazing job with the vocals. Glasper does something really cool during his piano solo (4:46 – 4:52), but I’m not sure what he did. If someone could tell me, that would be awesome. Also, the song has a really great jazz flute player.

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Bill Evans I Should Care

This is Bill Evans’ take on I Should Care. For the melody, he doubles up his left and right hand, and he places chord tones between the octaves. The left hand doesn’t always follow the exact melody, and there’s a little bit of walking and counterpoint which add a nice feel. Around 3:55, he uses big block chords in the left hand which sound really rich, then he does a right hand chord sequence. Bill Evans’ chord voicings are the most commonly used in jazz piano, so it makes sense that his chords sound so classic and familiar. Something he uses a lot of is drop-2 voicing, which is something I want to work on.

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Ron McCroby – Scrapple From The Apple

Jazz can take on many forms. Here is jazz whistler Ron McRoby. You must hear to believe! He really understands and speaks the language of bebop in the same manner as a vocalist or horn player.

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Herbie Hancock – My Ship

I like Herbie’s chromatic movements around 4:10. He starts off his solo with simple ideas. He moves pentatonic arpeggiations around chromatically, which is something I’m trying to get more fluent at. His comping was pretty quiet during most of the solos, which is different from Oscar Peterson. Roy Hargrove has a great ear for melody – he seems to emulate a lot of Miles Davis in that he focuses on melodic impact over dexterity.

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Love Never Felt So Good

Not a hugely creative cover, but around 1:00, he starts improving over the second verse basically just using any and every scale. A lot of the scales are pentatonic and moved around chromatically like we did in class. As I said, nothing really that original, but I like to listen to this just to keep the sounds of these different scales in my head.

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Bye Bye Blackbird


This is just an audio recording, but I thought it would be useful to listen to the ideas from the masters. Oscar Peterson brings in a lot of blues licks. I heard some variation of 1-2-3 at least four times (I probably missed a lot of them) through both solos. Also, Peterson has some trills that he uses all the time. I think I can learn them.

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A Night In Tunisia


Written by Dizzy Gillespie in 1942, “A Night in Tunesia” is a signature jazz standard.  Characteristically of bebop, the solos do not disappoint, demonstrating incredible speed and technical skill. “A Night in Tunisia” has also made its way into popular culture. It was covered by Chaka Khan, and sampled by the hip hop group GangStarr in “Words I Manifest”.


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Bebop: An Acquired Taste

I’m still developing my taste for bebop, initially I found it so fast that I just felt that there wasn’t much melody and the speed was just compensating for that. Speed for speed’s sake doesn’t really impress me. In my musical brain class, we talked about the limit of our processing ability, when someone does a piano rake its sounds nice when we hear it as a distinct whole descending sound. Trying to hear every note isn’t always beneficial, and to some extent that is true to all music, and especially with bebop.

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Harmonic Scale

Not jazz (more like jazzish-R&B), but as I was listening to this song, I heard some harmonic scales in his ad lib. At 4:06, you hear a minor arpeggio. At 4:12, you can hear the harmonic minor scale as he comes down in thirds. When I hear about the harmonic minor, my mind immediately jumps to music from Aladdin – Egyptian/Arabic music. But this goes to show that even in R&B, you can still use the harmonic scale.

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