Professors's Note June Night

Improvisation, bowing & 8-note Scale

A jazz mucisians language

  • - A jazz musician is recognized on his tone, his rhythmic feel, his musical language (whatever that is) and the melodic or rhythmic figures that often appear in his/her phrases.

  • - Almost all jazz-musicians have such figures. Charlie Parker had many; he was one of the creators of a new style and had a great ability to use them with virtuosity, feeling, freshness and variation. Lee Konitz and a few others, on the other hand, is seeking to create new all the time.

  • - Ellingtons musicians had elaborated soloes they were expected to play in certain numbers. Same thing with Armstrong. When Harry “Sweets” Edison plays a blues and at a point plays certain notes - then you almost can predict what is coming in the next two choruses. All that is musically O.K.

  • - Also Svend Asmussen used often some favorite phrases.
    (Professor’s Notes are showing some of them). He even has arranged solos. Take “Embraceable You” from CD “Embraceable” (and also on a video on YouTube). Masterly played, fresh and with a beautiful feeling. You can find the written music in “Solo Bowing” (S.A.’s Evergreen Violin Solos, WH).

  • - The arranged solo on “June Night” presented here appears on 2 CD’s (“Fiddler Supreme” & “Fiddling Around”), and in the live-video in CD-Box "Svend Asmussen 100 Years". The arranged  feature ”June Night” stands out as a masterpiece with an elegant theme-presentation, a whirling solo and a stunning last chorus ending with 3-voiced cascades in a prolonged coda.


- Often on the 2 transcribed versions of June Night you can hear the bowing - like in this example. In classical tradition it's normal to start the bar with a downbow - on the beat - and the following upbow on the next beat. But S.A. is bowing from the upbeats - just like pianists and e.g. saxophone players emphasize the upbeats to create swing. (The editor do not play violin, and therefore is not notating up- or down-bows).

Bowing JuneNight

8-tone scale or diminished scale

In the Montmartre-recording, bar 10 and bars 13-16 , Svend repeats a special sounding special phrase. The notes come from an interesting harmonic phenomena. In Prof-note "Lapp-Nils" we saw the upperstructure chord D/C7.

Listen to the following example (bars 13-16). Mp3 - 4 different chords on top of a D7 or a G7

And listen Svend outline the same chords (Mp3): (Example ends with bars 10-16)

The notes from bar 13 transposed to same octave gives a scale with intervals repeating every minor third.

The notes cab build the above Ab, F, D and B major-chords - or 2 dim-7 chords (C-Eb-Gb-A & B-D-F-Ab)

This Diminished-Scale or 8-tone Scale is used by Svend in different ways in his soloes. (more later).

Here is an overview over upper-structure chords on a dominant-7th : LINK
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