Saturday, December 25, 2021

Transcription: Ed Blackwell - Strength and Courage

Merry Christmas, everyone. Ho ho hoooeeere's a LONG Ed Blackwell transcription for you, basically all of Strength And Courage, from Joe Lovano's trio album Sounds of Joy, along with Alex Cox on the bass. The drumming jumps around a lot, and, taken two measures at a time, this is a massive crash course in Ed Blackwell. 

The tune is oddly structured— there's not much of a head to speak of. The first time through the form is 8-8-8-10-4-4-4 measures, and then 8-8-10-4-4-4 as the blowing gets going starting at 0:48. The 8 measure phrases are structured 6+2, and the 10 measure phrases is 6+4. So during that blowing form the changes could be outlined as:

||: 6-2 | 6-2 || 6-4 | 4-4-4 :|| 

It's noteworthy that the tempo is quarter note = 238— about the same tempo as Passion Dance, Chasin' The Trane, and some other big recordings. I've been thinking of it as Elvin's tempo, but it seems to be a sort of universal up heavy blowing tempo. Nobody should be asking about super fast tempos until you can really kill it in this range. 

There's way too much going on here to summarize now, and I've got Christmas presents to wrap. There are a lot of different cymbals/bells happening— ride, crash, ride bell, crash bell, swish, hihat, cowbell. Snares off. Blackwell plays straight 8ths all the way through. A lot of the bass drum is quite soft, and there's very little left foot activity at all. 

In the spirit of Christmas giving, I'll leave this up to download for free through New Years Day, and then, in the spirit of Christmas withholding, I'll change it to a $3 download, along with an analysis yet to be written.  

Get the pdf

Listen to the tune on Spotify.

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