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Bridge to Well You Needn't


Adan

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A couple weeks ago my quartet had one of those idiot moments where the bass player and myself were going off different Real Book versions on this tune and the result was a bit of a train wreck. We never rehearse, but usually we at least coordinate on charts. This one slipped through somehow.

 

RB5 starts the bridge on G and ascends 4 steps to B before coming back down. RB6 starts on Db and ascends 3 steps to E before descending.

 

Is there a consensus among jazzers which is more hip? My ears prefer RB6.

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Both versions are "correct", but the version starting on G was the more popular version, and Miles Davis altered the changes to the B section.

 

Monk's version starts on the Db and is the way many purists think it should be played.

 

I've played it both ways over the years, based on what everyone else plays, but personally I like the Db (Monk's original) and that's how I call it.

 

Leave it to Miles to forever alter one of Monk's greatest tunes to the point that so many people played his version over Monk's! I'm sure Miles took great pleasure in the knowledge.

 

 

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I think with Monk it's best to stick with his changes - so yeah, Db7 in the bridge (or 'inside' of the tune as he called it). As for Round Midnight, I transcribed w solo piano version. Also listening to Charlie Rouse play the melody will help greatly.

 

As great as he was, I don't trust Miles' changes to anything!

For example, "when Lights Are Low' he just plays the A section up a 4th, ignoring the real bridge!

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I'm printing this out to take to rehearsal tonight to discuss, as we ran into similar issues. Most players in our area have now switched to the legal Real Book vs. the earlier bootleg edition, but occasionally someone shows up with the original editions.

 

In terms of chord changes though, remember that often one is an inversion or respelling of the other, so it mostly informs melodic movement and phrasing -- especially during the solos.

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We talked about this recently. Consensus was the camp was split on which they preferred. Talk it over with the people you play it with and pick a progression.

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When playing Monk tunes I always defer to Monk's versions. At least they should be the starting point. If you're gonna change them you should be aware of what you're changing them from.

 

An excellent source is this book:

The Best of Thelonious Monk - Artist Transcriptions

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GMnMNYr1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

 

A better source is one's own ears! Monk isn't difficult to transcribe and you learn a lot doing it.

 

Added: I just noticed that the book has the ascending and descending chords as maj9ths instead of dom 7ths. I suspect they did that because of the melody and the fact that Monk wasn't playing any 7ths in his left hand voicing during the melody. I think dom 7ths sound better, especially during solos. However, either approach works. As always, let your ears be your guide!

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Thanks for the feedbags! I do recall a recent thread about this, though not this particular song. Mark, you are right that often the difference are not grist for a train wreck. This one is, though, because the bass actually moves differently between the 2 versions.

 

I'm going with Monk's version. It's my gig, I'm paying these guys, I'll make the call :).

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Cool, and good link for that "artist's version" from Hal Leonard, which might be worth picking up.

 

I tend to ignore the charts and play the bass line from what I hear on the recordings as it so affects the movement, but now I see why you need the clarification of the charts.

 

I don't remember off-hand whether the current Real Book is more authentic than the previous edition, so will sort that out tonight. There are a lot of improvements in this edition, but also some bizarre changes for the worse -- most of them noted in some of the better user reviews on amazon.com.

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By the way, the F to Gb chords on the A section are not dominant 7th chords:

 

|| F(5) | Gb(5) | F6 | Gb6 | Fmaj7 | Gbmaj7 | Fmaj7 | F6 ||

 

This shows the rising chromatic note line that occurs in Monk's left hand open voicings.

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If you want to be true to the original concept of the melody or "Monk authentic", Jazz+'s chords above are right. They let the character of the melody shine in its understated way, and the bridge starts on Db. Taking liberties with the chords is always fine too, but dominant 7's on the melody on the A sections make the groove more funky and hard edged, which wasn't the way Monk heard it.
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If you want to be true to the original concept of the melody or "Monk authentic", Jazz+'s chords above are right. They let the character of the melody shine in its understated way, and the bridge starts on Db. Taking liberties with the chords is always fine too, but dominant 7's on the melody on the A sections make the groove more funky and hard edged, which wasn't the way Monk heard it.

+1 I was only referring to the B section in my post.

Instrumentation is meaningless - a song either stands on its own merit, or it requires bells and whistles to cover its lack of adequacy, much less quality. - kanker
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By the way, the F to Gb chords on the A section are not dominant 7th chords:

 

|| F(5) | Gb(5) | F6 | Gb6 | Fmaj7 | Gbmaj7 | Fmaj7 | F6 ||

 

This shows the rising chromatic note line that occurs in Monk's left hand open voicings.

Great stuff. Also I believe Monk played the Db as a 6. I seem to recall reading a blindfold test in Downbeat that had the interviewer playing Monk tunes recorded by other artists to Monk, and on Well You Needn't, the piano player played a 7 and Monk jumped in saying "That's wrong, that should be a Db6." Stuck in my brain because that was the first time I had seen a reference to the Db bridge.
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That's funny, I was just thinking of that same interview, but in my memory he said it was a DbMaj7. Now I'm gonna have to try to look it up and see.

 

Edited to add: Found it. And we were both wrong:

 

5. Phineas Newborn. Well, You Needn't from the 'Great Jazz Piano of Phineas Newborn' on Contemporary.

TM: He hit the inside wrong - didn't have the right changes. It's supposed to be major ninths, and he's playing ninths (walks to the piano, demonstrates). It starts with a D-flat Major 9 . . . See what I mean?

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That's funny, I was just thinking of that same interview, but in my memory he said it was a DbMaj7. Now I'm gonna have to try to look it up and see.

 

Edited to add: Found it. And we were both wrong:

 

5. Phineas Newborn. Well, You Needn't from the 'Great Jazz Piano of Phineas Newborn' on Contemporary.

TM: He hit the inside wrong - didn't have the right changes. It's supposed to be major ninths, and he's playing ninths (walks to the piano, demonstrates). It starts with a D-flat Major 9 . . . See what I mean?

Sweet :thu:
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As much as I like Monk's playing, sometimes I think I like his spoken word almost as much. Not an Oscar Peterson fan, apparently . . .

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No one had the fifth edition with them at last night's rehearsal, but the consensus (from memory) was that it is more accurate than the sixth edition.

 

At any rate, Jazz+ and follow-on posts seem to have resolved things. I'm always amazed by how many knowledgeable jazz players are on this forum!

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This place is awesome.

 

I've always played it RB5 way because that's the chart I and everyone I've played it with to date seem to have. I like it with the Db, tho and will have to break this song out again and work it with the original changes.

 

I just want to make sure, you are all speaking of 6th edition of the Hal Leonard RB, right?

 

 

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This place is awesome.

 

I've always played it RB5 way because that's the chart I and everyone I've played it with to date seem to have. I like it with the Db, tho and will have to break this song out again and work it with the original changes.

 

I just want to make sure, you are all speaking of 6th edition of the Hal Leonard RB, right?

 

 

I think that's correct, Michelle.

 

Yes, thanks to everyone for the thorough analysis of this great tune.

 

edit: PS, I'm missing Dave Ferris for discussions like this. Maybe he doesn't need us as much anymore, but we still could use him here.

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edit: PS, I'm missing Dave Ferris for discussions like this. Maybe he doesn't need us as much anymore, but we still could use him here.

 

I think he's fed up with some of the shenanigans lately, though I won't speak for him. He's always game for thorough breakdowns of jazz though. You can get him with a PM though, he's still around.

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Yes the RB6 is the official one from Hal Leonard.

 

Many of us always felt guilty about owning the bootleg editions, but nothing else was around, and the guy that did them tried desperately to get the publishers to settle some royalty and licensing issues eons ago but they wouldn't listen.

 

The poor guy sat in jail for years. And by proving there's a market for this sort of thing, he paved the way for a legal edition a few years back, missing just a few composers whose publishers or agents won't allow inclusion (e.g. Dave Brubeck). And of course other publishers such as Scher came up with some similar fake books as well.

 

At any rate, regardless of the originator's best intentions, the law is the law, so once legal editions became available, ethics dictated that many of us switch to the new ones. It's a grey area though, and I don't fault anyone who holds onto the older ones. What's done is done. I just hope the guy who did them originally is OK (if still alive) and had something to do with the current Hal Leonard books.

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I'm not sure I can add anything that already hasn't been said about WYN but I'll try. First off I love and play many of Monk's tunes-unfortunately this isn't one of them. If we were talking about Bye-Ya, Eronel, Reflections, I Mean You, Ruby My Dear, Round Midnight, Ask Me Now, Off Minor, Monk's Dream, Bemsha Swing, S.F. Holiday, Four in One, In Walked Bud, Evidence-I could get more enthusiastic about the tune.

 

I've played it with the original ascending chromatic line on the A section and I've played the Fs & Gbs as dominants too. I've played the bridge starting on the G7 and also the Db or Db7. Regarding the Major/dominant 7 issue-my feelings are that if you try and limit yourself on the bridge or even the the "A" sections to just Major as written originally by Monk-you're leaving out a whole lot of colors and possibilities harmonically. I probably have at least a dozen recordings of this tune in my collection- from Brecker to Freddie to Herbie to Kenny Barron to Sonny Stitt to Wynton Marsalis to Hank Jones-I don't hear any of them playing straight Major with no dominant 7th b5 , + 11 or other altered devices that relate to dominant 7th chords.

 

I might compare these kind of tunes with one of my all time favorite Jazz compositions-Clare Fischer's "Pensativa". When I took a few lessons from Clare in the '80s, I played for him the infamous Real Bk/Freddie Hubbard/Night of the Cookers version with the Gb Maj 7 to G7 +11. Clare about had a shit fit, he started yelling at me-"that's not what I wrote !!" "One guy plays it that way, it gets into some bootleg bogus book and all of a sudden it's Gospel." Clare was not one to mince words. ;)

 

If you play Clare's original chords they're not as "user friendly" as what's in the RB. I don't know if Freddie ever saw the original changes or maybe someone like Cedar Walton altered them so the blowing would flow easier. In any case imo it's the overall musical statement that should come across as opposed to getting too hung up on the composer's original chord changes. It's Jazz not Beethoven.. :cool:

 

All that said I like the Monk fakebook published by Hal Leonard with the Steve Cardenas transcriptions along with the editing by Don Sickler. It's very accurate and probably as true to the source as you're going to get.

 

edit-if you are going to play F major to Gb Major, I would often treat the Gb as a Lydian b5/Gb Maj. 7 b5 (Db major scale). Also if you play the F more as minor chord with penatonic melodies/structures-like F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb-that will flow better melodically to the Gb Maj 7b5. Just another way that I'd approach the "A" section.

 

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Oh wow, Pensativa is one of our faves; now I gotta communicate and correct this falsehood to my band mates so we can start doing it right. :-)

 

Thanks for chiming in, Dave.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A little late, but I thought I'd add the perspective of the chords being quite basic in the realbook version (an internet copy of probably one of the older "slightly unlawfull" ones).

 

I'm not sure I should try to explain what Mr. Monk was all talking about, and I understand the playing of these highlights of Jazz history aren't a Mozart recital, but I feel when I listen to some of the 50s and 60s recordings with the original artist that he is never playing the suggested chords but rather a funky-ish style, who never plays to much and always remembers the Dorian feel of the obvious remarkable chord changes, and as such uses a lot of stretched 7add6 and minor 7th chords with even rock like thirds in the bass, and never much the same, except for emphasizing the large range of variable feels in the composition.

 

I remember learning the song from a rather jubilant sounding CD where he appears to take quite some pleasure in making so much musical space with such harmonic material of essence as is in the song.

 

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I wonder if they worry about stuff like this in the drum forum? Probably not.

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  • 4 years later...

 

In any case imo it's the overall musical statement that should come across as opposed to getting too hung up on the composer's original chord changes. It's Jazz not Beethoven.. :cool:

 

 

Richard Wright of Pink Floyd made a similar comment about Roger Waters lyrics not being important, like Carol Bayer Sager could be brought in to write substitute lyrics that would be just fine.

 

Never the less it was nice to read your insights into the song, I'm working on it with a group, I know it's a bit offish to say, but I've always thought the homogenization of the chords leads to a sameness and I'm sometimes pleasantly surprised when I here the original versions of songs and notice how distinctive they are.

 

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I know what I do on Epistrophy but I sometimes wonder how your brains handle its abrupt 2 beat pacing changes?

 

| Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 |

| Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 |

| Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 |

| Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 ||

|| F#-6 | F#-6 | F#-6 | F#-6 |

| B7 | B7 | Db7 | D7 ||

| Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 | Db7 D7 |

| Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 | Eb7 E7 :||

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." Find 700 of Harry’s piano arrangements of standards for educational purposes and jazz piano tutorials at www.Patreon.com/HarryLikas

 

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