Professor's Note Take Off Blues 2

Melody & Improvisation

- Svend Asmussen at a concert announced that with Take Off Blues he fullfilled an old dream of using the full Circle of Fifth's in a Blues.

- In a filmed interview he talked about the disease, many jazzmusicians suffer from: Even under conversation about serious matters there are running chords, improvisations, fingering, music-theory-problems in the back of the head. As Toots Thielemans said: "I'm thinking on it all the time."

- Take Off Blues is a construction, an experiment. But not at all dusty. The Blues differ from other Asmussen-arrangements that all melodic material is played in unison - without chords or parallel thirds.

- The Introduction: Part A and B represent the long "circle". It starts slowly and accellerates before TakeOff. The bass plays the chord-roots and the melody outlines the chord in floral vines. Remark that the four-note figures play either the 7-chords - or a diminished chord representing the upper notes in a 7(b9)-chord.

- Bars 21-22 the 3-quarter-note long phrases (starting with triplets) brings the ornamentations to a sudden stop, and an unison blues-scale opens up for the unison main-theme.


Click on picture for bigger view. - or listen to an mp3 with chords

Take Off Intro

Main part of the melody only uses the pentatonic Blues-scale C-Eb-F-G-Bb

Bars 9-10 presents the same notes as bar 17 in the Intro. And the F7 feeling goes on in bar 11.

Take Off Blues - mp3
1. Svends Solo on "Fiddling Around"
Both PDF's and Mp3's open in new windows so you can hear while reading.
2. Svends Solo on the Live CD "Fit as a Fiddle"
Svend starts both solos quoting an old tune: "Please don't talk about me when I'm gone"
In solo 1 Svend often outline the underlying chords, and again the 7(b9) is often used.

The live-solo 2 is interesting structured.


Chorus 1-2 present the E7-variation of the Blues, chorus 3-4 present a more traditional version.

Ch.1 ends on the note G, waiting for a continuation,

Ch.2 have long cascades of notes and lead directly to

Ch.3: here Svend suddenly return to the classic way of playing the blues: a 2½ bar statement in the first 4 bars. It is repeated (varied) in the next 4 bars ending with a longer "answer" (AAB-form).

Ch.4 shows more blues-style and an ending cascade.

In bars 1-4 a broken triad is sequenced downwards.

In bars 7-8 (chorus 1, 2 & 4) a 3-tone motive follows the falling 7-th's in the chords.

If J.S.Bach had composed these bars the chords would have been "correct" both vertical and horisontal. But jazz is improvised and a linear style where a little "displacement" is normal. (See bars 43-44).

Note: Bill Evans told in an radio-interview Marian McPartland that he considered "displacement" [in a broader scale ( my note)] and not harmonic inventions as his greatest contribution to jazz.

The triplets in bar 21 are played with the same fingering on the 4 strings and ends on an open string. The triplets are repeated half a note lower but still end on open string.

Bar 21 outline a D13-chord with use of the 9 and 13.

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