Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Listening: Delfeayo's Dilemma

Responding to a forum question, referencing Delfeayo's Dilemma, a Wynton Marsalis tune, as recorded by Kenny Garrett on his record Triology, with Blade on drums.

How does one even beginning practicing playing time the way someone like Brian Blade does? There are some modern jazz drummers such as Brian Blade who almost never sound like they’re playing a groove or pattern. They’re constantly reacting to what’s happening around them.

So let's listen to that a bunch of times, and talk about it. 

First, what Brian Blade is doing is not primarily reacting, he's proactively playing the form. The main thing is the form. You and Brian Blade both have the same job playing this tune: keep up and play the form. That's what all the drum stuff is in aid of. 

In fact that's all let's talk about— the question is not how do I play that drum stuff, it's how do I have the same job as him. Once you know what your job is, you can play whatever you want— know the vibe you're after, and try to make it with whatever playing resources you have available.  

Here's a chart, which I found on some sleazebag pdf site. The first few listens through make sure you can follow the chart, and hear harmonic movement in the bass— look at the chords on the page, and listen to the changes in color from the bass. Count out loud if you have to.  

It goes down exactly like the chart— they play from the top of the page, take the first ending, play from the top of the page again, take the second ending, play the solo form however many times they play it, go back to the top of the chart, play to the coda sign, take the coda, and you're done. 

The form is 6 + 6  |  4 + 4  |  3 + 1 bar 3/4 + 4 (or 2 the second time, head only)We could call that ABC—  12 bars + 8 bars + 8* bars. 

* - Don't screw up the 3/4 bar!

And no, there is no good bloody reason to have the 3/4 bar— it has zero effect, it's just there to trap and punish people. Typical Marsalis BS. 

When you can keep up with the form, listen to the solo choruses. Here's the solo form helpfully color coded to make it easy to correspond what you hear Blade playing with where it falls in the phrase. Listen many times while following this, and notice where the activity is happening. Where do the big cymbal accents happen? Where do the big fills or big comping statements happen? Where do the big dynamic/density changes happen? How contained is he within the phrases?

This video has a transcription of Garrett's playing— you can follow along to hear how Blade's playing interacts with it, but don't hang too much on the interaction aspect. The form is what's important. 

So yeah, I suggest listening about 20 times. The solo begins at 0:47.

No comments: