Reasons To Be Cheerful Part I…

I’ve added an edited sample of Jarrett’s Bop-be above the transcription. This can’t be downloaded. It is for educational purposes only. Go and see live jazz and buy your music!


I got this idea from DTM. Recently Ethan posted about an Exhibition celebrating the musical life of pianist Fred Hersch, the substance of which is a play-list of individual songs that have had an influence on Hersch.

Ethan has also recently discussed the idea that in jazz we tend to discuss influential albums, rather than individual songs. Just like any album from the pop world, I believe jazz albums regularly follow the structural-line of having a couple of killer tracks with quite a bit of filler bracketing them. And why not, I suppose?

Here, then, is my first post concerning those individual tracks that give me a reason to be cheerful in life. I will focus on one individual track per post, giving 5 brief bullet-points why said track feels me with joy. Today… Keith Jarrett’s Bop-be.

  1. Originally recorded for Keith’s last release on impulse, this album-titled track sounds and feels like a brief, daring fling over conservative be-bop changes. Its dashing nature only adds to its appeal. Jarrett simultaneously plays the changes whilst trying to maintain the aesthetic of his Americana out-there period.
  2. Charlie Haden doesn’t just walk, he bowls like a mutha-fucka! Throughout his solo you can hear Jarrett try and fight against the crotchet feel of Haden’s bass, but Haden aint going anywhere!
  3. Paul Motian rides the cymbal! Shimmering, pure swing-feel ecstasy from the man with the sticks. I particularly like the way the kick-drum’s been mic’ed – a real punchy, hollow sound.
  4. The theme! It sounds so natural, as though Jarrett has thrown in a cover. If you want to get be-bop changes down, learn this tune!
  5. Jarrett’s solo! I honestly think this is one of his best solos on record. It’s so melodic and personal to Jarrett’s style yet faithful to the jazz idiom. He’s so locked in to the groove and digs so deep you can’t help but pull some Jarrett gurns of your own when listening. His licks are the stuff of pianistic dreams. Want some sick II-V-Is? Then look no further…

About Will Rodway

what you hear, what you read...
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