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Basie / Corner Pocket & finger power


WesG
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So, one of my big band leaders sprung this number on me in rehearsal last week for a show next week. For those of you who know the intro and how poorly I read, it should come as no surprise that I blew the intro on the first two read throughs and told the guy there was no point in wasting his time with it until I took the chart home to learn it. I told him that three times, actually, before he gave up. Anyhow.

 

Learned it tonight. 4 bars, one hour. *sigh*

 

So, my question concerns the fingering. I could not for the life of me get enough power out of the high Db with my pinky, nor get the lower half musical with the rest of my fingers. Repetition turned into slop, which turned into........revelation.

 

Now I'm playing it with my ring and middle fingers on the Db, with my thumb playing all of the notes. There is a lot of power available to me with my hand like that, turned about 60 degrees to the right from the "normal" position. I've seen Basie play like this before, but never gave it much thought.

 

Is this a thing? Did it develop because he's trying to carry volume on an acoustic piano?

 

(On a related note, the rehearsals are on an old upright and I DO find myself playing different parts, especially voicings, on the upright...large because I'm hunting for volume...first time I've played a real piano in 20 years..).

 

Anyhow. Playing a spread two-finger part with my hand rotated is a bit of an eye-opener in terms of power/articulation available for me. Anybody else?

 

Now I need to figure out the parts that /aren't/ on the chart. I hear Bb grace notes or something. At least I'm out of embarrassment territory.

 

http://i65.tinypic.com/15fj1cm.jpg

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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As I have small hands, I use the right ring finger at the top of a lot of treble chords, including most octaves. Indeed, I can barely reach an octave thumb-to-pinky. Tenths? Pure fantasy.

 

(I don't know if my bone structure is typical, but my ring fingers reach a good inch [2.5 cm] farther than my pinkies.)

-Tom Williams

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PC4-7, PX-5S, AX-Edge, PC361

 

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Just tried it both ways. Playing those notes with 4 on top is definitely an option. Playing them with your hand super rotated with the middle finger on top feels terrible. I don't get any extra power out of the note that way, it just makes everything super stiff.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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Also keep in mind that the melody of that intro is in fact the lower R.H. notes, the upper is just an ostinato accompaniment to remind us that the song is in Db. Dont kill yourself over accuracy, grab a beer, watch how Basie does it on You Tube, and have fun with it. This, Shiny Stockings, and Whirlybird are my 3 favorite songs in the deck.

 

Jake

1967 B-3 w/(2) 122's, Nord C1w/Leslie 2101 top, Nord PedalKeys 27, Nord Electro 4D, IK B3X, QSC K12.2, Yamaha reface YC+CS+CP

 

"It needs a Hammond"

 

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My chart is a bit different:

 

3NdoG5j.png

 

I play the top line with my right hand (usually 2nd and 4th fingers, and the lower two notes with my left hand. In the 3rd measure, I jump my left hand down to the Ab octaves and play only the top two notes with my right hand. I simply don't have the span to cover the Bb.

 

Of course, Basie played the entire treble line with his right hand only. I used a You Tube video to learn to mimic the accents and phrasing.

 

That Bb adds a lot of character to the intro. A lot of Basie's voicings made heavy use of the 6th. The piano solo takes the same approach.

 

My big band does a lot of Basie stuff: Corner Pocket, Splanky, Hayburner, Shiny Stockings. We have a singer who has a lot of those Sinatra charts using the Basie arrangements. Very cool stuff.

 

And Wes, this intro also took me a long time to get under my fingers. If you listen to the recordings, this is not a power sound - it's rather light and airy. The LH pedal tones are rather powerful, but the RH is supposed to float with a bit of sharp attack. I can get a lot of expression using the fingering I described above.

 

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My chart is a bit different:

 

3NdoG5j.png

 

That Bb adds a lot of character to the intro. A lot of Basie's voicings made heavy use of the 6th. The piano solo takes the same approach.

 

It's a classic drop 2 voicing of a Major 6th chord, and one of the great approaches for comping in this style.

 

We discussed awhile back in this thread

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I love asking big band questions in here. :) I often feel like I'm the only guy in the room playing that style. It's certainly the case locally.........VERY few players; even with my mediocre skills, I will never struggle to find a seat in a working band. I personally find that playing big band music forces me to advance ever so gradually as a player and musician.....sort of a replacement for ongoing formal pedagogy for someone with zero free time.

 

Outkaster - looking at how I play this on Saturday, yeah, you might definitely have some insight. Can't wait for your visit.

 

When I was trying to get this under finger, I tried learning the melody and then adding in the Db ostinato. That helped me sort out the rhythm, but it didn't help sort out the fingering. Playing the whole thing with my thumb does work, but it gets a bit sloppy around the Gb Ab E F bit.

 

Rusty Mike -- Thanks for posting that!!! That's exactly what's on the record! Those extra high Bbs that sound almost like grace notes...........they are just swung as heck! I'll skip them for the show on Sunday, but I'll amend the chart in the book in case we come back to it later in the season (we probably will).

 

I tried adding the dropped 6th while playing this last night, though... I heard Basie doin' it, but when I do it with my left hand, it dominates the chord and sounds wrong. I've always (I mean ALWAYS..........I can picture getting grief from my piano teacher over this when I was a kid) ... I've always had a left hand that was "too loud" (lacking dynamics). The crappy thing is, my right is not as strong as it used to be due to neck/nerve problems. Oh well. At least my hands work, there was a time when they didn't.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Mr Wes

 

Those of narrow minds will wonder why I am posting this magnificent track

But the superb music, will inspire you on your intro.

Also, I love all the time this intro solidifies one key center, only to abandon it just before Sinatra enters with his pater. LOVE this band here.. nothing like it.

Enjoy

 

[video:youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK-FL-JxLio

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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Playing the whole thing with my thumb does work, but it gets a bit sloppy around the Gb Ab E F bit.

 

If your hand can lay naturally and comfortably with your thumb(1) on Eb, and 4-finger(and pinkie(5), too, if you can) on the Db ostinato, try playing Eb, E, F with thumb, Gb with 2-finger, and Ab with 3-finger. As the interval narrows, that will help your hand to not get scrunched up and cramped.

 

Love this tune. But the first time I heard it, it wasn't Basie -- it was Manhattan Transfer on their "Mecca for Moderns" album. If you listen to the various recordings on YouTube of Basie playing this chart, you'll notice the intro isn't always the same; not exactly the same voicing, not the same number of repeats, not even precisely the same rhythm. The version that MT recreated and vocalized (and the one that's burned into my brain :) ) is the one from Basie's "April in Paris" album. That MT track might help you get the feel a little better, since the recording is pristine, and the intro very simple and easy to grasp.

 

April in Paris

[video:youtube]

 

Mecca for Moderns

[video:youtube]

 

 

Legend '70s Compact, Jupiter-Xm, Mojo Suitcase

 

 

 

 

 

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