Friday, April 16, 2021

Transcription: Roy Haynes - It's Time

Roy Haynes playing behind Herbie Hancock's solo, on the title track of Jackie McLean's record It's Time. There's a lot of what people call “broken” time here, and meter-within-meter playing. The tune is in 4, but Haynes is playing with a strong broken up 3 feel all the way through. If you check out my “world's shortest Roy Haynes lesson”, and play those 3/4 patterns over 4/4, you'll have some similar stuff.

Tempo is 266— generally the range where a swing feel evens out into straight 8ths. Haynes is playing a very legato swing feel here— almost straight 8ths, not quite. It would be a good analysis project to print this out and add phrase markings indicating his two, three, and four beat phrases.   

The transcription was a little tricky to make, and may be a little deceptive— there are lots of tied notes and ghosted notes— there's so much quiet stuff happening, it suggests a lot of physical activity where no notes are sounding, or barely sounding. The transcription could turn into a real nightmare of random looking stuff if I tried catching all of that, which is really not central to the main idea of what he's playing. 

There are a lot of unisons happening— both hands together, both feet together, and everything together with the cymbal. Not much linearity, or “independent” lines against an ostinato. The hihat is quite sparse, and often in unison with accents on the bass or snare. A few times he'll play it on 2 after a couple of measures of floating meter-within-meter playing. The bass drum is less sparse, and there seems to be more activity than I was able to notate. For the most part the bass drum is not loud— his playing here seems centered mostly on the hands.  

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