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In order to force myself to play more, and get some escapism from a demanding and all-encompassing job, I've decided to go back to transcribing. And if I'm going to do it, I may as well share it, for reading practice but also to provide some analysis of what's going on.

To that end, I'll try to provide what should be a full transcription, so bass line and chords. Whilst a chart without chords would be a more pure reading experience, when I used to have to sightread (maybe fortunately), most charts had chords as well, which is a godsend for both keeping your position in a complex chart, and in case you have a temporary blank!

I'm only going to pick pieces I see some interest in - not always that the bass line is notable, but if the harmony, or the song itself seems worth it. If I take in an interest in an album I'll try to do the whole album as it's good for both playing and reading practice.

 

So - first up is a slightly unusual choice. Nik Kershaw's "The Works" from 1989. It' not really that good an album to be honest, but there are some decent tracks in it, some interesting writing, and checking the credits, some pretty tasty musicians (Vinnie Colaiuta and Jeff Porcaro on drums, Paulinho Da Costa on percussion, Nadirah Ali, Siedah Garret and Michael McDonald on bass). It suffers from some programming and production that hasn't aged well, but ignoring that, it's worth checking out. Nik Kershaw was always a more interesting songwriter than his teen pinup status in the early eighties, with a quirky, individual style that I imagine would be a pain to busk as he is quite fond of multiple key changes. Some are more successful than others (see below!)

Finally, it's a decent work-out if you have a 5- or 6-string as many parts go below E.

 

So, without further ado...

 

1. One Step Ahead

Several of tracks on this album have programmed bass parts. It's hard to tell, but this sounds very much like it's programmed and real bass doubled, but I reckon the line was written on a keyboard as it's quite tricky to play. It has a basic motif with a dropped lower note in many of the phrases. The chords are fairly straight ahead but there are some nice, slightly jazzy touches with the E/F# (can also be written F#9sus4) in the verse, the use of slash notation chords (e.g. the G/B in bar 16 of the verse - Nik uses a lot of inverted chords in order to add interest) and the Em11 at the end of the chorus. 

 

2. Elizabeth's Eyes

This is a cheesy ballad and the programming on this is rather over the top and jarring - a perfect example of just because you, can doesn't mean you should!  The piece shifts between the keys of  G, Bb and Em and contains a chord sequence that Nik also uses a fair bit - Bb, Bb/Ab, Gm. It's programmed but has some nice syncopation

 

3. Take My Place

Again, a programmed line, but much simpler. There's some nice harmonic ideas on this track, with shifting chords over an A pedal, and some more twists and turns in the bridge, passing through Cm, Bb, Db and Ab. It's a fun line to play to and not particularly challenging

 

4. Wounded Knee

A nice bass line on this, sounds like 5-string fretless (many of the played bass lines on the album are fretless). Sounds like a Roland D50 symphony on the keyboard parts, probably because it was released just a year before they started recording the album! 😄. There's some cool little touches on the bass, with slurred 5ths and a nice little run at the end. Chords flit between the keys of D and Bb. It also sounds like the bass was tuned down a half step as right at the fade out there are a pair of octaves including a low Bb.

 

5. Cowboys and Indians

This one has a ton of chords and key changes - Ebm, Em, Fm B, and then the outro swapping between Em and Fm. It may be a touch too much, but personally I think it's quite cool, and certainly isn't something you get it most pop songs. A different, loping feel in 3/4 and another programmed bass line (But some nifty hi-hat work from Vinnie to keep things interesting).

 

6. One World

An atmospheric tune with some very dated lyrics (I don't think anyone hits execute or sees black and green characters on a screen any more!) but another great bass line on fretless. Lovely chord progression with an open, suspended feel

 

7. Don't Ask Me

The intro initially sounds a bit random and is on keyboards, but I transcribed it as a) it's quite tough and b) it's interesting and appears later in the tune. Unusually there's no real bass sound in the verse. Too much annoying programming and recording gimmicks but Nik's usual high standard of backing vocals. It also comes with the now customary twists and turns in the bridge. Not his finest hour!

 

8. Burning At Both Ends

An interesting song with some middle-eastern elements. Bass line is again programmed (although I suspect some doubled fretless as you can hear some slides that don't sound like keyboard bass) and the chorus is surprisingly tricky to keep up with. 

 

9. Lady On The Phone

Another cheesy ballad, but this time I'm almost certain this was either written by someone else or the producers influenced him as it's quite a jazzy chord sequence with (yet again) many key changes - this time from Ebm to A to C to Gb . Nice solid groove with some tasteful fretless. A very commercial track, despite the key changes, and symptomatic of the poor decision-making around the album as One Step Ahead and Elizabeth's Eyes were the singles released, both of which disappeared very quickly.

 

10. Walkabout

You could guess this was Jeff Porcaro even if it weren't documented. Another tasty half time shuffle! Bass has far too much chorus (another sign of the times) but again a good groove. The chorus is all over the place, modulating through E, C, Bb, F and back to Am. The outro has some nice licks and a subtle turnaround of the time in the last couple of bars. 

 

So, all in all I think underneath some of the dated programming, and the hallmarks that he didn't perhaps get his way with many of the tracks (apparently some of them were re-recorded as he wasn't happy with the results), there's a decent album. It must have had an impact as he didn't record again for 10 years. The final word comes from an online review I read, where it effectively said that this kind of sophisticated, interesting pop just wasn't of interest to the record-buying public and signalled the end of Nik Kershaw as a "big" name. Nevertheless, for some odd reason I prefer this to more acclaimed albums like The Riddle.

 

Take a look at the transcriptions - feel free to point out any errors. All the chords were worked out entirely by ear so I don't guarantee they're perfect but the parts have been sequenced and played back with the track and seem to be OK. I hope they're of interest!

 

01-One Step Ahead.pdf 02-Elizabeths Eyes.pdf 03-Take My Place.pdf 04-Wounded Knee.pdf 05-Cowboys And Indians.pdf 06-One World.pdf 07-Don't Ask Me.pdf 08-Burning At Both Ends.pdf 09-Lady On The Phone.pdf 10-Walkabout.pdf

Edited by FDC484950
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Posted (edited)

Next up...

 

"One More Once" is the first track from the 1994 Michel Camilo album of the same name. It's a fantastic album with a full big band section courtesy of some absolutely top-notch players. The rhythm section comprises the formidable duo of Cliff Almond on drums and Anthony Jackson on bass. Compared to some of the playing on this album, One More Once is quite straightforward, and a blast to play.

 

Harmonically, it's a fairly straightforward blues in G, although the piano and horns embellish this with figures that suggest dominant 13th and other jazzier sounds (such as descending dom9 chords) during the head and solos. There's a fairly standard turnaround with a chromatic bass line passing from B to D. A nice touch are the final two dominant 13th chords - makes it sound like a Quincy Jones TV theme from the 70's ;)

 

The structure is a simple head, sax solo, piano solo head. Rather than over-complicate things with a bunch of Dal Segnos, and because the bass line has subtle changes, other than repeats in the main bass figure I've written it long hand.

 

The main challenge with executing the track is that a lot of it is palm-muted. For those that aren't aware, Anthony developed this technique because he wanted to imitate the sound of the Ampeg Baby Bass heard on a lot of Cuban music - particularly when he was developing his style and voice in the 70's. He eschewed bass mutes (a la MusicMan StingRay) as he wanted controllability on a per-note basis - and this track is a perfect example. Looking at some live videos it appears that AJ primarily uses his thumb when palm muting, even when playing reasonably rapid parts. The challenge is to get even damping and ensuring the tone of each string remains consistent - it's easy to over-damp the higher strings. Also pay attention to when the palm muting starts and stops, as he does vary it throughout. There are a few triplet unison figures, but nothing too taxing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One More Once.pdf

Edited by FDC484950
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Next, Pump It Up by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

This is the 4th track from the 1978 album "This Year's Model", which was Costello's first with the Attractions. It is a great fun album to play through, and Bruce Thomas is excellent throughout.

 

Pump It Up is a fairly straightforward blues/rock uptempo number, but it's lifted above the norm by some clever little songwriting devices: although it has a simple 4 verse/4 chorus format, verse 2 is only 6 bars instead of the 8 of the other verses. The 4th verse moves up a 4th to E (the first 3 are in B). The slightly queasy feeling rendered by the refrain at the end of each chorus and in the fade out is enhanced by Steve Nieve's organ - probably a nod to the song's subject matter (basically the effects of debauchery and excess).

 

Bass-wise, you can tell that it's off-the-cuff - a product of the album tracks being recorded so quickly, and the album is all the better for it. The basic figure is a classic blues R-6-7-6-b3-3-R motif. The chorus is a basic E7 with some nice variations played by Bruce (no chorus has exactly the same line).  It's also a nice, easy read if you're learning to read music, with the chorus part extending up to a high E - but it's best played by learning it and putting the music away, obviously :)

Pump It Up.pdf

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Posted (edited)

Next up: a cracker of a tune from Toto - "Mushanga" off the creatively-titled "The Seventh One".

 

Mushanga is a track with an interesting and quite intricate half-time implied drum part from Jeff Porcaro (there's a YT video with him explaining how he came up with it).

Musically the track is quite interesting both harmonically and rhythmically, with a supportive bass part by his brother Mike Porcaro - a fabulous bass player with a great feel and another one of the Porcaro family who was a prolific studio musician (and like Jeff, sadly missed).

 

The tune starts and ends with a 3-bar phrase, which also acts as a link between chorus and verse. Listening on headphones it's not entirely clear whether it's just keyboard, or bass as well, but I've added it. The bass is an octave lower on all iterations apart from the intro.

 

The verse is based on Gm and is straightforward. There are quite a lot of chords, often one per beat, and many examples of chord inversions in the track to give harmonic (root movement) interest - e.g. the bridge between verse and chorus uses no less than 5 different first inversion triads in a nice ascending/descending sequence.

 

The chorus is reminiscent of Africa and ends with a 2/4 then 4/4 bar to turn around to the next verse. It then all goes a bit crazy in the breakdown with some nifty slapping - clearly dropped in with what sounds like several tracks, so I've taken the main line, and the rest of the track sounds like it was recorded on fretless, but the drop-ins have a wicked tone (listen on headphones). Not sure if it fits the song but it was the late 80s... However, it sets it up nicely for a modulation up a 4th to Cm for the guitar/steel drum solos before going back round to the chorus and out. The bass line is mostly mixed very low on most of this album so picking out precise bass lines (other than the dropped-in part) is rather tricky. I can hear one or two variations but they're not noteworthy enough to write the whole lot out (IMHO).

 

To make the chart slightly less busy I've left the verse and chorus chords out after the first iteration of each as they don't change.

 

Toto, like them or loathe them, were real craftsmen in the studio and the years of experience as sidemen with other artists always results in well made and great sounding records - slight changes in structure, the excellent little rhythmic guitar touches that make Lukather such a genius, and a cool, laid-back overall feel. Overall, I kind of the like the track :)

 

YT link:

 

 

 

 

Mushanga.pdf

Edited by FDC484950
Rogue F# chord, should be F
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Next up, Nights Over Egypt by The Jones Girls.

This is a vaguely jazzy nice number from the Girls, written by Dexter Wansel and released in 1981, from the album Get As Much Love As You Can. The bass player is I believe Steve Green from Breakwater.

 It starts with some atmospheric keyboard, probably intended to sound "Egyptian", then the bass comes in for 6 bars, followed by a nifty harmonised run to take it into the verse - triplets followed by sixteenth notes in groups of three.

The verse is pretty simple, with a couple of variations. Tone sounds like classic P bass with some effects, maybe a bit of tube grit and a bit of chorus/flanger. The bass line is excellent, with a great feel - listen how on the bars where Steve plays a slapped/popped C octave with a second popped high C just how late he plays that last note.

Harmonically there are some nice touches, like the Dmin7 to Dmaj9, and the F/G - Fmaj9 - E7#9 -Ebmaj7 (notice how a G is held through all 4 chords).

 

 

 

 

Nights Over Egypt.pdf

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A fantastic song for a sunny Sunday afternoon!

Maxine is track 4 from Donald Fagen's first solo album, The Nightfly. It was released in 1982 after Steely Dan went on a lengthy hiatus following several issues following the release of Gaucho. It's full of what feels like an autobiographical nostalgia for someone growing up in the 50s. Donald hired just about every first-call session player in and around New York - including bass players Abe Laboriel, Anthony Jackson, Chuck Rainey, Marcus Miller and Will Lee, and drummers Ed Greene, James Gadson, Jeff Porcaro and Steve Jordan. Sadly the album suffers from an early digital coldness and a rather flat, uninspiring sound; however for me, Maxine is the highlight - a stunningly beautiful 4 (or is is 5 or 6) part vocal line, chords that would be at home in the best Jazz standards, a typically wonderful sax solo from Michael Brecker, and perfect piano from Greg Phillinganes.

 

This chart is slightly different as to me it's more valuable for the chords and melody than the bass line - but don't underestimate Marcus Miller's deceptively simple part; it is an absolute masterclass in time, touch and feel. He clearly demonstrates the difference between a good and great bass player - the length and shape of every note is just right, and listen how he leaves space, sometimes holding a note and sometimes cutting the note off. The feel with the very simple drum part is just right.

 

The song is simple in structure - 2 verses, bridge, verse, sax solo (over bridge chords), and final verse. The chords are really interesting and very clever, but feel natural and  inspired. Aimee Nolte's analysis of the tune has an in-depth look into some of the highlights (link below), but I would recommend loading the chords into a sequencer (or even better, playing them on a keyboard if you can). Kudos also to Hans Kaldeway's transcription of some parts of the tune (but I agree with Aimee's version of the chords, having played them myself).

 

Just under 4 minutes of genius (and I don't use that term lightly) :)

 

Aimee's analysis:

 

 

Tune:

 

 

 

Maxine.pdf

Edited by FDC484950
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Today's track is Tropical Jam from the 1993 Michel Camilo album Rendezvous.

Michel Camilo was a child prodigy in the Dominican Republic, performing classical musical with an orchestra from a young age, and has over the years formed an incredible style that in my opinion puts him in the very top tier of piano players. He has the touch, dynamics and colour of a concert classical pianist with the emotive and infectious rhythmic sense that comes from Central and South American music, and an amazing sense of time and phrasing. He's sometimes (wrongly) labelled as a technician, with all the histrionics and too many notes, without being particularly subtle, but this album (and many others) reward with repeated listens.

 

I've probably heard Rendezvous hundreds of times, but each time I discover some new and exciting nugget - a chordal substitution, an unusual rhythmic flourish, or (most often) something that I simply do not understand and requires study! The album as a whole is for me the pinnacle of his music, where the bass, drums and piano sound like one big instrument - to paraphrase Anthony Jackson - "the rhythm section as chamber ensemble" :)

 

Onto the track. Tropical Jam is a fairly straightforward track harmonically, a kind of twisted G blues. However it runs at a pretty furious pace, and it's easy for it all to fly past without picking out the subtleties, so I'd recommend a few close listens before attempting the bass line. It is in the style of (but not necessarily 100% authentic to) the Brazilian Baião rhythm (basically beat 1 and the "and" of beat 2 as strong beats and a weak beat 4). Like much of Central American and Brazilian music, it is felt in 2 (in fact the Samba rhythm is played on Surdo as a heartbeat), so is usually transcribed in cut time. The chart doesn't look too bad, until you realise it's effectively quarter notes at 250bpm 🥵

 

It starts with a unison run based on a G7 chord with the added 9th, then into a verse-type section, followed by a section with a pedal on G, then back to the unison run and into the piano solo (although it's not really a solo, more like the trio riffing round the verse collectively). Bars 90-98 have a wicked turn around of feel on the bass, mirrored with a hip displaced 4 over 3 polyrhythm from the piano at bars 146-154. Bars 110-113 have a nice ascending and descending run. A taste of what is to come in other tracks on Rendezvous appears when it all goes a bit crazy at bar 170. AJ has arguably the most sophisticated harmonic and rhythmic sense of anyone who has picked up a bass, and he plays some outrageous lines all over the album - for example, playing a C over a G (traditionally an "avoid" note), then his trademark tritone substitution -  C# over an F chord on bars 171, 173 and 175 (in one of his columns in Bass Player in the 90s I recall him saying that he believed the tritone to be the most important interval in music). Then it's back to the unison run at the start, and onto the end.

 

It's worth mentioning that the mixing on this album produces an overall sound that is very nice, but the bass is at times rather buried - which is not to say you cannot feel it, just that AJ's natural tone is deep and fat rather than heavy in low mids - and together with the furious pace of some of the playing it makes it almost impossible to pick out the actual bass line (e.g. bar 109 is not quite correct). 

 

It took quite a lot of woodshedding to get it up to speed, but the effort is worth it - it's an absolute blast to play, and always brings a smile. Enjoy it, because what's to come is much harder ;)

 

Tropical Jam.pdf

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Next up is the (in)famous Rosanna from the 6 Grammy-winning Toto IV album.

Most well-known for the first example I can recall of the Porcaro shuffle, a drum beat Jeff purportedly combined from the (Bernard) Purdie shuffle and John Bonham's part on Led Zeppelin's Fool In The Rain. It's a surprisingly intricate and tricky part to play and groove (as numerous YT vids will attest!)

However, I transcribed this because I'd never really sat down and listened to the bass part, and like many songs, a proper listen uncovers some gems. I also managed to find the isolated bass part so have transcribed past the fade out on the album to the actual recorded end, as there's a nice ascending run that didn't make it to the final cut of the song.

 

The bass part is very straightforward, but it's interesting how David Hungate leaves space in the verse, rather than following the kick drum exactly. The use of dynamics within the song is quite marked and shows Toto's studio craft and experience as sidemen with other artists. The chorus is clearly a drop-in with a bass that sounds like it's EQ'ed quite differently (it may even be a P bass with flats on the verse and one with round wound strings on the chorus). The outro has a nice, laid back, almost New Orleans feel, and has a nice piano/horns chordal movement whilst the bass stays rooted to the G pedal. As is always the case with David Hungate (like his fantastic bass line on You're The One That I Want) both the tone and the playing is perfect for the song. It's certainly worth another listen 😀

 

Rosanna.pdf

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Two in two days!

From the same album, It's A Feeling is an interesting little tune. Short, no real chorus to speak of, and a slightly odd, disoriented feel. It's a really nifty bit of songwriting by Steve Porcaro (and he sang the vocals too). The bass line is dead simple and the chart just 1 page (makes a nice change!)

 

The main interest is actually the harmony. The tune opens with two sus2 triads a minor third apart (effectively G# to B) and set the tone for the song by having a contrapuntal bass line (G# to E, making the chords G#sus2 to Bsus2/E, which I guess could also be written E6/9 no3). The slightly seasick guitar line (another bit of minor brilliance from Steve Lukather) complements the rest of the verse chords with a straight B/D#, up to E and then F#9sus4 (which could also be written E/F#). 

 

The middle of the verse has some nice chordal touches, raising interest mainly due to keeping the harmony the same but changing the bass note to make the sound more sophisticated. From bar 15, G#sus2, to Badd9/D#, to a straight D#min9 to Emaj7 to a regular Bsus2 (instead of Bsus2/E in the rest of the verse).

 

The bridge section is much more conventional - keeping a G# in the melody across Amaj7#11 (major 7th), G#min (root), F#6/9 (major 9th) and Emaj7 (major 3rd) is a common harmonic device to tie the chord.

At the Coda the final two bars of the bridge are substituted with yet another variation - Emaj7, Badd9/D#, G#min/C# and back to the first chord (G#sus2), again a nice contrapuntal line with an ascending line in the melody but descending in the bass. The final four bars mirrors the verse and repeats to fade. Not a classic song but it piqued my interest.

 

 

Its A Feeling.pdf

Edited by FDC484950
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Track 2 from the Michel Camilo album Rendezvous is his cover of the Ellington classic, Caravan.

This song dates back to 1936 and was originally suggested by Juan Tizol, trombone player in his band at the time. It is essentially a 64-bar form in AABA format (basically 3 identical sections, with a 16-bar bridge). The A section reflects the sustained tension of a V7 chord (written at the time as a Dbdim to C7), eventually resolving to F minor. Section B is a fairly conventional trip around the cycle of 4ths, from F7 to Bb7 to Eb7 to Ab and then back to the tension of the C7 chord.

 

Stylistically the piece is very much of its time - a V chord in a minor key was typically harmonised as a V7b9, and the most common scale one would improvise with is a half step-whole step diminished scale as it fits the chord tones nicely. In C this scale is C, Db, D#, E, F#, G, A, Bb, C, which hits the R, 3, 5, b7 chord tones but for improvising also gives you the b9, #9, #11 and 13 extensions. This was also very common in bebop (Duke Ellington was always ahead of his time). Soloists commonly improvised on chord tones in this era, so an E, G or Bb diminished arpeggio over the C7b9, for example. 

 

From the 60s onwards musicians started exploring melodic minor harmony and today it's much more common to use a 7alt chord on a V chord in a minor key. It was also common practice when this song was composed to voice a I chord in a minor key as a min6 to give an interesting tritone interval between the minor 3rd and the major 6th (so in Caravan the I chord is Fm6, and the tritone is between Ab and D). This is also a precursor to later modal improvising using the Dorian mode. Rhythmically it's written in cut time as it has a pronounced two feel in half time. If you'd like a lead sheet this is a decent starting place: https://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/jazz_band/sheet/caravan.pdf

 

Onto the song itself. Michel Camilo does a fantastic job of capturing the original mood of the piece whilst adding a lot of sophisticated substitutions and reharmonisation. It's beyond the scope of what this thread is about to analyse everything he is doing, but there are some nice open chords (e.g. the Ebmaj7/F at the start of the B section). The form is quite simple - intro, head, solo starting at section B (two times around the from starting at B and C) and a slightly modified head (D) with a vamp to end, but the playing is anything but! I have reflected the broad parts of Michel's harmonisation of the tune, which isn't quite the same as the original track.

 

Tropical Jam was a nice, easyish start, but from here on the playing gets really challenging. Anthony Jackson starts with a cool palm-muted bass note/sustained double stop, playing the 3rd and b7th of the C7b9 but emphasising the b9 throughout the palm-muted bass line, with some variations. The remainder of the head is quite straightforward, but a taste of what is to come on the album is his insistence on playing a C whenever the chord hits a G7b13. It sounds "wrong", but pulls back to the V7b9 so somehow works (I listened and listened, thinking I'd got it wrong, but he is definitely playing a C over the chord - bizarre). When the piano solo starts he really starts to go off on a slightly mad rhythmic and harmonic journey. It's a real challenge to read and play the line as it is totally improvised and he rarely plays strongly on beat one of the bar. 

 

Bars 115-118 has a nice triplet figure and a long run from high F to low C, and subsequent bars show a common device of his - displaced octaves sounded as double stops. Bars 125-126 has a cool rising octave figure (rhythmically quite hard to pick up). Bars 135-141 is one of several examples of developing a rhythmic device and shows his incredible sense of time and phrasing (see also bars 163-173, which is just nuts). This is more of a longer-term study piece rather than a quick read, but it's well worth the effort. It can be played on a 5-string but is easier on a 6.

 

One other clever piece of ensemble playing is the dynamic control. The start of the piano solo is very quiet, probably mezzo piano, and gradually crescendos up to forte at the end of the second time through (load it into a waveform editor and see how the volume increases from bars 55 to 178).

 

If it's any consolation, this is a walk in the park compared to the next tune on Rendezvous 😉

 

 

Caravan.pdf

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Next up, from the same Toto album as Mushanga (The Seventh One) comes a gem near the end, called These Chains.

Classy Porcaro shuffle? Check.

Cool Jazzy chord progression? Check.

Superb rhythm and lead guitar from Lukather? Check.

 

So, all of the classic Toto elements are in there, but this is a bit unlike the rest of the album - a very sophisticated, inspired chord progression in C minor, including a major chord with an added 4th (so 4th at the bottom and major 3rd at the top), numerous slash chords and Minor 11ths, with a nice switch up a half step to a Dbm7 chord at the bridge, and elegantly back into the chorus to fade. The form itself is very straightforward - verse/chorus twice, bridge and chorus.

 

The keyboard and guitar playing is really well-played and quite unusual, but for me the highlight is the superb bass line from Mike Porcaro. It is played a 5-string, and sounds fretless (although it is once again mixed very low, so not 100% sure). It's a punchy, articulate and very hip triplet/swing feel. To keep reading life easier I've notated it as straight eighths with an indication to play them swung. 

Pay close attention to note lengths as getting it right really makes a difference to the groove. There are nice runs at the end of each chorus, and particularly into the bridge, ending in a nice run over the Gm11 at bars 95-96. There's nothing particularly taxing but like the rest of the album, is great fun to play along with.

 

 

 

These Chains.pdf

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Today's tune is a cracker - Get Ready, Get Set from the 1980 Chaka Khan album Naughty.

This album is fairly well-known in bass circles because Chaka and producer/arranger Arif Mardin allowed bass player Anthony Jackson approximately 3 months to re-record all his parts once the album was done. I won't add transcriptions for them on this thread as what I consider the definitive transcriptions can be found on Stevie Glasgow's excellent website, including chords and analysis (http://www.stevieglasgow.com/transcriptions_e.html)

The track in question features such legendary players as Don Grolnick on electric piano, Steve Khan on guitar, Ken Bichel on synths, Hiram Bullock on guitar, and the fabulous Willie Weeks on bass. I am of the slightly controversial opinion that in terms of the way the bass lines fit the tune, the two songs featuring Willie are superior (possibly precisely because they weren't tracked afterward :))

 

The harmony is very straightforward, mostly consisting of a move from a 9sus4 (I've written it as a triad with a bass note on the 2nd step, e.g. Cb/Db), to a straight major on the same root. There's a bit more going on than written (mostly the guitar playing little clusters), but it's enough to get the gist of the song.

The bass line has been double-tracked on what sounds like a Moog (this was used more extensively on the next Khan album, "What Cha Gonna Do For Me") but you can hear the odd pop from the bass appearing underneath the synth. The song has a loping feel with swung 16th notes, and there are many tasty fills based on a major pentatonic with the odd flat 7th. Most notable is the outrageous triplet run on bar 37, including the minor 3rd Fb over the Db chord, which really turns around the feel. Like the chords, the structure is very simple - verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus to fade.

 

All in all, great fun to play, and not too hard to read.

Get Ready Get Set.pdf

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