Miles Davis: All Blues
Charlie Parker, eventually took Davis on as his ‘sideman’, mentoring him and introducing him to the other big Ames in Jazz music at the time.
For a short time, Miles Davis attended the Jailbird School of Music in NY but he left to pursue his Jazz career. He played with many of the most famous Jazz musicians throughout his career, he put together the album ‘Kind of Blue’ in New York. This album explores the concept of Modal Jazz and Davis felt that Jazz improvisations and solos were too dependent on changing complex chord sequences.Therefore, he took away this ‘restrictive’ element by having the soloist improvise over modes or scales, without having to worry about the chords hanging underneath. This makes the song quite long, as the Improvisations went on for quite a while-This Is longer than most Jazz styles, including bebop and cool Jazz. It is also quite a bit more laid back and relaxed compared to other Jazz styles. Musicians The frontline instrument the trumpet is played by Miles Davis.
The frontline instrument alto sax is played by Julian ‘Cannonball’, also the other frontline instrument tenor sax is played by Dearly John Chlorate. The Plano Is played by Bill Evans and the double bass Is played by Paul Chambers. Also the drums are played by Jimmy cob. Melody The melody is played by the frontline instruments, and is mostly improvised. The main melody or head and the solos are all played over the 12-bar blues chord sequence based on the notes of a mode. The Improvisations are ornamented and combine riffs together.Structure ‘All Blues’ uses a head arrangement, a structure often found in Jazz.
A head arrangement is a chord progression which is memorized (in the head) by the players. The head arrangement in All Blues’ is the 12-bar chord progression. Jazz players refer to chord progressions as ‘changes’. Each repetition of the 12-bar progression Is known as a chorus. In ‘All Blues’ each of the soloists Improvises In the choruses – Like Each of the main sections is introduced by a 4-bar riff. A riff is a short repeated pattern. – bar intro (rhythm section) 4-bar riff (saxes and rhythm section) Head 1 (a 12 bar head with muted trumpet playing melody) Riff and head repeated Four 12-bar choruses for trumpet Four choruses for alto sax Four choruses for tenor sax Two choruses for piano One chorus (all instruments with trumpet now muted) Head repeated Coda (solo muted trumpet) 2 bar blues In the key of G this would be Here is the chord pattern used in ‘All Blues’ 67 (17) Get-no (17) E flat (flat VIA) F (flat W) 66 (16) “All Blues” is based around a repeated 12-bar blues chord sequence or the changes with a four-bar linked riff between each section.
The 12- bar blues chord sequences is based on the following chords where each box represents one bar. Adding extra notes to a chord (as in bars 9 and 10 above) is known as extending or alternating a chord – a feature used a lot in Jazz. The structure of “All Blues” is based on the updated 12-bar blues chord sequence, which is repeated 19 times in total. Solos The main ideas for the solos are scale and arpeggio patterns. There are ornamented melodies and can be chromatic at times.Also the solos are modal and has very fast, difficult passages that are hard to play and also are syncopated. There are also links between each solo.
The Piano combing loses its trill so that focus can be on Davis and the drum beat changes in preparation for the solos. The Saxes play in all the links but drops out at the end for all the solos. The link before Address’s solo, the saxes don’t play and Davis drops out. The link before Chlorate’s solo, Dearly drops out but otherwise it’s the same as the previous link.Lastly the link before Evans solo, Chlorate drops out but otherwise is also the same as the two previous links. Accompaniment While the frontline instruments have the main melody, the rhythm instruments ‘coma’ underneath. Combing is short for ‘accompaniment’ and the instruments will play a backing for the soloists to improvise over.
They improvise on the chords of the 2 bar blues structure. Tonality All Blues is an example of modal Jazz this means that rather than relying on complicated chord patterns the harmony focuses on a mode or scale and the improvised solos are freer.Tempo The time signature is 6/4 throughout, This means that there are 6 crotchets,l beat notes per bar. The piece is a Jazz Waltz at the start, this tells the performers that it should be played with emphasis on the first of each 3 beats 4,5,6). Ornamentation To add an ornament to a note is to decorate it. Different ornaments are used in this piece. Here are trills in the intro played by the piano and bass.
There are also mordents, here they have written it out as they would be played, but are sometimes written as a gig-gag line over the note. There are also structurally which are short ‘grace note’ before the note, it is easy to spot as it is a smaller note than normal and has a line through the tail. Instrumentation more effect. Also the trumpet uses a mute ‘ a Harmon mute with the stem taken out’ so it can build up to its solo. This piece, being in a Jazz style, uses Jazz harmony, this means there are plenty of TTS and TTS chords.