Friday, December 18, 2009

Improvisation Basics 5: The Right Notes At The Right Time

I routinely review Sax on the Web older contents checking out link changes and other things which may have changed over time. It was my pleasure to rediscover Andew Campbell's article "The Right Notes At The Right Time" from 2007. Previously we took a look of Teaching Improvisation to Adult students, Blues Chord Progressions and Blues Scales.

Why do solos based on Blues scales sometimes sound great, but other times sound terrible?

It’s all about playing “Blues Notes” at the right time and in the right place.

Andy uses the great Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s solo on “Kidney Stew” as a practical example so, that we can learn a simple and workable method to accomplish the same feat in our own solos.

Although the blues scale, or any scale for that matter, might fit a certain chord or progression, you also have to know when and where to play those notes.

Most of us eventually work this out through a lot of trial and error and lots of listening, but it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Let's look at the melody (head) first:


Then Andy is laying out the theory background for creating a solo.
Enter Mr. Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson with his solo:


Andy goes on analyzing Vinson's solo piece by piece very masterfully. If this is something you want learn more, take a look of the entire article.

Andrew Campbell lives in Sydney Australia, where he plays and teaches. He has been a regular SOTW Forum contributor, under the alias of "Dog Pants", since 2001. Andrew hopes that this lesson will encourage other players to explore both Eddie Vinson and the many other great Blues Sax players.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Field Marshal Mannerheim and Finland's Independence


This photograph is in the Public domain

On December 6th Finland celebrates her 92nd Independence Day. This week seventy years ago Soviet Russia attacked Finland without declaring a war. This widely condemned aggression became known as the Finnish Winter War. Mannerheim's role was paramount for tiny Finland in getting her independence in 1917 and maintaining it during the WWII when fighting against a giant but brutal super nation. Marshal Mannerheim served also as the President of Republic in 1944-46.

A Finnish author wrote a novel "My grandma and Mannerheim". My junction with Mannerheim and Finnish military history happened several times during the past decade when participating in Otava jazz camp and Happy Jazz Festival. The camp accommodation is in Otava Junior College's dormitory where Field Marshal's headquarters were located during the months of the Winter War. Mannerheim's humble office is still maintained in the dormitory as a small scale museum. From 1941 the Army HQ was again located in St. Michael.

Otava is nowadays a borough in the town of St. Michael in Finland. I was directed to a blog by three young St. Michael authors: Mannerheim Darkroom: The statue issue. Apparently there was a fuzz in the town about fairly recent relocation of Mannerheim's statue to a more visible location. I could not help writing a few personal comments.
Happy Independence Day,