Tuesday, April 17, 2007

July 23, 2004

July 23, 2004 (mp3) (pdf)

It was probably warm and muggy that morning, the Friday of the 2004 Nordic Fest celebration. Our band, Bear Creek Bluegrass (myself, Erik, Jim & Jody) would have played in the Sabor Latino courtyard until 11 or 12 the night before, what has become a traditional Nordic Fest Thursday gig.

We would be looking forward to two one hour performances that afternoon in one of the several entertainment tents on Water Street followed by an additional two slots on Saturday the 24th. Jim and Jody both had additional festival gigs, Jody with his father and brothers and Jim with Foot-Notes.

I imagine I had a free hour or two before lunch and I must have written this tune down sometime before the first afternoon show. I remember that the guys did a fine job of sight-reading the music there on Water St. and the ever tolerant Nordic Fest audience enjoyed our antics. I wrote the harmony part sometime later and I don't think it has ever been played live. Maybe this summer we'll take another shot at the tune and we can add the second part.

This is one of those tunes that thwart all my efforts to come up with a reasonable title. If you have any suggestions just let me know.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hamlet to High Point

Hamlet to High Point (mp3) (pdf)

John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926 and grew up in High Point. This tune is an attempt to write a fun contra dance number that incorporates some elements of Coltrane's approach to harmony during his "Giant Steps" period.

(Hamlet, photo by John Myers)

Contratopia has played through this piece a few times during sound checks and rehearsals but, I don't believe, we've ever played it for a group of dancers. The recording here is at a comfortable tempo but still contains no attempt to improvise over the chord changes.

(High Point)

Many players record tunes using some form of these "Coltrane changes". One of my favorites is titled "Passos" by Fritz Pauer. It appears on Will Patton's superb 2002 CD Peripherique and features an excellent mandolin solo by Will.
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