Monday, May 22, 2023

Transcription: Roy Haynes - Bad News Blues - 02

Part 2 of Roy Haynes playing Bad News Blues on his record Cracklin'. This is Ron Matthews's piano solo, starting at 1:51— four choruses, 48 bars. 

Things like this are a little bit of an archeology project. We're not just looking for comping ideas, we're looking at when he plays in the phrase, and what for— is he supporting the groove, is outlining a phrase, is he conversing with the soloist, what. And to some extent how— what's the logic for how he's executing it physically. As I said last time, Roy is often real economical with how he coordinates things— very linear, with lots of unisons. So I look carefully we he layers things in a more independent/complicated way, like how did that come about? 

The cymbal rhythm is pushing towards a dotted 8th/16th interpretation here. The swing 8ths generally are not perfectly squared off triplets. He plays light backbeats much of the time. If we're checking where he's accenting with his comping, he plays a lot of &s of 4, relatively fewer &s of 3, not much on the & of 2 or 1, except as a continuation of something he was doing in the previous measure. 

It's telling how he plays the 16th note comping in bars 6 and 16— he plays the full beat of 16ths, RLRL, ghosting that second R on the cymbal. Clearly something that evolved naturally, where most of us are sitting down with Chapin and working out our 16th note timing impeccably vs. the straight cymbal rhythm. 

There are a couple of spots where he apparently plays the open hihat with his left hand, which involve some quick moves from the snare drum. Possibly he's splashing it with his foot, and I'm just hearing the attack from the ride cymbal, which he plays through that. Or maybe he's really quick getting his left hand to the hihat, and it's something he doesn't. It fully doesn't really matter. 

That lick in the last two bars of the transcription is one that's worth learning on its own.  

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