Sunday, April 16, 2017

Groove o' the day: Art Blakey - Afrique

Here's Art Blakey playing an Afro 6 feel in 1961, on Afrique, from the Jazz Messengers album The Witch Doctor— the first Blakey record I ever bought. I should start noticing when this type of groove found its way into jazz. Certainly Blakey was one of the early adopters, and here he plays it in a fairly rudimentary form, without the usual bell pattern we expect to hear in actual Cuban music, or in later jazz.

I've written it in 3/4, but it could have been written in 6/4, or 6/8, or 12/8. Going into the solos there is a metric modulation into 4/4— the dotted quarter during this intro groove becomes the quarter note in the 4/4— which would argue for  writing it in an */8 meter, but the accompanying parts are so strongly in 3/4, that's the meter I put it in. Wayne Shorter's and Lee Morgan's solos on this are great. Transcription of Blakey's solo on this tune coming soon...

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