Saturday, November 19, 2022

Transcription: Al Harewood - Lil' Darlin'

Transcription of a slow tune, Lil' Darlin', as played by Al Harewood, with George Benson. This is a really great group of Benson's, with Mickey Tucker and George Duvivier, recorded on a Jazz Hour album called Witchcraft.  

Anyway, the tune was written by Neil Hefti, in the 50s, for Count Basie's band. On this recording there's a four bar intro, and then the tune is 32 bars long— a 16 bar AABA played twice. I've written out just the intro and head. We're just looking at how Harewood plays the tune. It's not that easy to play those syncopated kicks and maintain groove at this tempo, about 65 bpm. 

The 8th notes are swung, basically in a triplet feel, which is the basic groove of the tune— that very broad Basie groove. But he plays a wider dotted 8th/16th rhythm on the bass drum at times. In fact there's much more going on with rhythm than just a stereotyped Basie groove. If you listen through the whole recording you'll hear that the players are not always playing the same feel— rhythm might be playing a triplet feel while the soloist is double timing, or there may be different feels happening within the rhythm section. It's very open.   

The tied quarter notes in the first four lines are just brush texture, maybe with a light quarter note pulse. Untied quarter notes with the brushes are articulated, maybe with the left hand playing texture. The staccato open hihat accents in the third line are fast chokes with the foot, I simplified the notation there. 

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