Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Podcast - Episode 4: Charlie Parker heads

Today's podcast is a selection of practice loops made from the heads of well-known Charlie Parker tunes:

Billie's Bounce
Yardbird Suite
Donna Lee
Scrapple from the Apple
Au Privave
Crazeology (actually by Bud Powell)
Dewey Square

Each tune repeats a number of times to add up to about five minutes. Mostly they loop in the correct spot to maintain the form, except Cheryl and Quasimodo- each have pickups at the beginning which would overlap with the ending. What I've done there is add a couple of extra measures of rest at the end of each of those loops. The space at the end of other tunes is part of the form. This will all be clear if you use the lead sheets.

A good starting place if you're just learning them would be to play the rhythm of the melody on the snare drum (you'll need lead sheets for that- see below). Also you can just play time along with them, and start making punctuations as you hear them. But you can really play anything and everything along with these- I'm using them for snare drum practice, and played through Haskell Harr with them last night. The common Reed/Syncopation methods also work well- you'll be surprised at how well the Reed parts fit with the tunes.

Download the podcast | stream podcast at Podomatic

Most or all of these should be in the three volumes of the Real Book- which you should own- if you don't have them handy, you can look at the lead sheets on line at Links for that and for purchasing Charlie Parker mp3s after the break:

Billie's Bounce - lead sheet | mp3
Yardbird Suite - lead sheet | mp3
Donna Lee - lead sheet | mp3
Cheryl - lead sheet | mp3
Quasimodo - lead sheet | mp3
Scrapple from the Apple - lead sheet | mp3
Au Privave - lead sheet | mp3Crazeology - lead sheet | mp3
Dewey Square - lead sheet | mp3


Unknown said...

Hi Todd. I have been working hard on this idea of using the melodies of standards as the basis for various Syncopation style exercises for a couple of years. I have found this approach to be an incredibly fertile, meaningful, and challenging way of learning and teaching the drums. I just started a blog about the things I have been working on and the book that I am making out of it called "The Melodic Drummer". If you are interested, check it out:

I am a big fan of your blog, and any feedback or advice about blogging or the content on my site would be greatly appreciated!

Unknown said...

On a related note, do you know if Charlie Paker heads are in the public domain at this point?

Todd Bishop said...

Thanks Andrew- and thanks for the link- it looks like you're off to a good start. Adding you to my blogroll...

I don't believe any Charlie Parker tunes are public domain.