CD Guide:

Freebridge Quintet,

Spanning Time

1. "Let's Play Two"

"Let's Play Two," written by the Freebridge Quintet's saxophonist, Jeff Decker, is a variant on the standard 32-bar AABA form: the bridge, or "B" section, is six bars long instead of the standard eight. The basis of much of the tune is an ostinato, or repeated three-note pattern in the bass, associated with a four-bar vamp (short repeated chord progression) played by the piano. The vamp, repeated over and over, is what you hear at the beginning of the tune. Not until the trumpet and tenor sax enter together (0:53) does the head begin.

0:00 three-note ostinato in the bass, repeated sequentially (i.e., starting on a different pitch when repeated), establishing a four-bar cycle
0:08 drums enter, playing polyrhythms
0:15 piano enters, playing chords that reinforce the bass ostinato rhythm
0:23 tenor sax enters, improvising on the melody of the head


A1 0:53 A2 1:00 B 1:08 A3 1:17
piano solo (2 choruses)
A1 1:24 A2 1:32 B 1:39 A3 1:44
A1 1:52 A2 1:59 B 2:06 A3 2:11
trumpet solo (2 choruses)
A1 2:19 A2 2:26 B 2:33 A3 2:38
A1 2:46 A2 2:53 B 3:00 A3 3:05
tenor sax solo (3 choruses)
A1 3:12 A2 3:20 B 3:27 A3 3:32
A1 3:39 A2 3:46 B 3:53 A3 3:58
A1 4:05 A2 4:12 B 4:19 A3 4:25
drum solo
4:32 drum solo begins, using the four-bar vamp as a framework
5:05 piano re-enters
5:12 bass re-enters
A1 5:19 A2 5:26 B 5:34 A3 5:43
5:51-end tenor sax and trumpet, improvising in a polyphonic texture over the four-bar vamp

2. "Graffiti on the A Train"

This is a reworking (or "derangement," as John D'earth puts it!) of the famous Billy Strayhorn tune, "Take the A Train," that served for many years as the theme song for the Duke Ellington orchestra. You can hear the original (from 1941) on Listening Tape #4, Side B.

In its original form, "Take the A Train" is a straightforward 32-bar AABA tune. "Graffiti on the A Train" uses the same AABA chord progression and is based on the same melody. You may find it a bit of challenge to follow, however, since the tune is deliberately transformed by many dissonant twists and turns and off-center rhythms. Each of the A sections is noticeably different. The bridge in particular is intensely polyrhythmic: John sets a short melodic pattern spanning three-and-a-half beats (shortened a few measures later to two-and-a-half beats) against the regular four-beats-to-the-bar meter, so that the melody never seems to fall in the same place from bar to bar!

0:00 riffs played by tenor sax and trumpet over a static harmonic background (note that the piano keeps a constant note, or pedal, more or less throughout)
0:17 break
A 0:19 (disorienting, somewhat dissonant)
A 0:28
B 0:38 piano enters, comping
A 0:48
break 0:55
tenor sax solo (2 choruses)
A 0:57 A 1:07 B 1:17 A 1:26
A 1:36 A 1:45 B 1:55 A 2:05
trumpet solo (2 choruses)
first chorus: piano and bass drop out
A 2:14 A 2:23 B 2:33 A 2:42
second chorus: piano and bass return
A 2:52 A 3:01 B 3:10 A 3:20
piano solo (2 choruses)
A 3:29 (trumpet overlaps until 3:31) pianist plays "outside"
A 3:39
B 3:48
A 3:57
A 4:07 A 4:16 B 4:26 A 4:35
trading fours (composed trumpet/tenor riff alternating with drum improvisation)
A 4:44 trumpet/tenor 4:49 drums
A 4:53 trumpet/tenor 4:53 drums
B 5:03 drum solo (stoptime)
A 5:12 trumpet/tenor 5:17 drums
Introduction (return)
5:28 break
A 5:40 A 5:50 B 5:59 A 6:09

3. Careless Magic Blues

"Careless Magic Blues" is a very slow 12-bar blues--so slow that the soloists take only one chorus each. (Also note that the soloists typically play double-time against the slow foundation pulse.)

head (2 choruses)
chorus 1 0:00 muted trumpet and tenor sax only (the tenor sax plays a bass line)
chorus 2 0:44 full band: trumpet playing main melody, tenor sax playing responses (and occasionally doubles the bass line)
trumpet solo
1:31 (lots of timbral variation)
piano solo
composed chorus
3:07 note use of stop-time; walking bass returns at 3:38 for the last 4 bars
tenor sax solo
3:54 note: the tenor sax actually enters during a break at the end of the previous chorus (3:51)
composed chorus
bass solo
5:31 drummer keeps time on the cymbals
7:00 unaccompanied (i.e., monophonic) trumpet and tenor sax solos
7:29 piece ends with a prolonged trumpet note that is a good example of both timbral variation and variable intonation

4. S'Wonderful

George Gershwin's song, "S'Wonderful," a straightforward example of 32-bar AABA form, is performed here in an up-tempo bebop arrangement by John D'earth and Bob Hallahan. They have modified the 32-bar AABA form, using substitute chords so that the harmonic progression varies slightly in each A section.

The head is also more complicated: while based on Gershwin's original melody, it continually adds melodic and rhythmic variations so that the AABA form is not immediately apparent. (That is why I have listed it below as A1-A2-B-A3: the melodic lines in the A sections are noticeably different.) In addition, the head concludes with an extra four bars of coda and a four-bar break leading into the first solo.

Once you get used to these novel features, the AABA form should be relatively easy to follow.

0:05 break
A1 0:07 A2 0:14 B 0:20 A3 0:26
coda 0:31 4-bar break (lead-in to trumpet solo) 0:36
trumpet solo (2 choruses)
A 0:40 A 0:46 B 0:52 A 0:59
A 1:05 A 1:11 B 1:17 A 1:24
tenor sax solo (3 choruses)
A 1:30 A 1:36 B 1:42 A 1:49
note: second chorus features stop-time
A 1:55 A 2:01 B 2:08 A 2:15
A 2:21 A 2:27 B 2:33 A 2:39
piano solo (2 choruses)
A 2:46 A 2:52 B 2:58 A 3:04
A 3:10 A 3:17 B 3:23 A 3:29

trading fours (2 choruses)

A 3:35 trumpet 3:38 drums
A 3:41 tenor sax 3:44 drums
B 3:48 trumpet 3:51 drums
A 3:54 tenor sax 3:57 drums
A 4:00 trumpet 4:03 drums
A 4:06 tenor sax 4:09 drums
B 4:12 trumpet 4:16 drums
A 4:19 tenor sax 4:22 drums
A1 4:25 A2 4:31 B 4:37 A3 4:44

"Gershwin Miniatures" (tracks 5-11)

Each of these "miniatures" features a different George Gershwin song and a different set of instrumental combinations.

5. A Foggy Day

"A Foggy Day (in London Town)" is in 32-bar ABAC form. The free rhythm introduction is obviously meant to convey something of the atmosphere of a foggy London street.

0:00 free rhythm: instrumental imitations of foghorn, taxi horn, ambulance, Big Ben, etc.
head (played by tenor sax)
A 0:49 B 1:01 A 1:13 C 1:26

6. They Can't Take That Away From Me

"They Can't Take That Away From Me" is another 32-bar, AABA tune. The bassist, Pete Spaar, plays the melody with a bow (instead of plucking the strings); the piano and drums answer the melody's phrases in a call-and-response pattern. As with many Gershwin songs, there is a built-in coda, or concluding section (sometimes known as the "tag").

A 0:00 A 0:16 B 0:31 A 0:44
coda (or "tag") 0:58

7. They All Laughed

Many older pop songs included a verse: an introductory section that preceded, and led into, the main part of the song (the "refrain"). Here, the trumpet plays the verse rubato (with a free, indefinite sense of pulse). The tune itself is in a modified 32-bar AABA form: there is a definite contrasting bridge, but the 3 A sections differ noticeably from one another.

0:00 verse (trumpet with plunger mute and piano)
0:54 break (walking bass)
A1 0:57 muted trumpet and bass
A2 1:12
B 1:26 drums and piano enter
A3 1:41
1:51 coda

8. I Got Rhythm

This familiar 32-bar AABA song (performed here with its original 2-bar coda) is played here primarily by the drummer, Robert Jospe, with the pitches of the melody clearly suggested by the tones of the tuned drums.

A 0:00
A 0:07
B 0:15 trumpet and tenor sax enter
A 0:22 piano doubles the drums

9. It Ain't Necessarily So

This 32-bar AABA tune, featuring Jeff Decker on baritone saxophone, is adapted from Gershwin's opera, Porgy and Bess. (Note the extended coda, which is composed, not improvised.) In the first A section, and again in the coda, Jeff plays rubato: a free, expressive performance of a melody that is otherwise clearly meant to be played in tempo.

Note: the performance here is a good example of melodic improvisation (using a pre-existing melody as the basis for improvisation)

A 0:00 rubato
A 0:40 in tempo, with a trumpet countermelody or "obbligato"
B 1:16
A 1:51
coda 2:29 rubato

10. Nice Work if You Can Get It

Yet another 32-bar AABA tune, but performed here with the modifications noted below.

A 0:00 trumpet and tenor sax unaccompanied (monophonic), then homophonic after 0:05
A 0:11 same, but featuring stoptime (through 0:15)
B 0:22 trumpet with tenor sax countermelody
A 0:33 new melody over the chord progression of "A"; rhythm section plays in double-time
coda 0:43

11. Embraceable You

"Embraceable You" is a 32-bar ABAC tune. This performance, featuring pianist Bob Hallahan, refers back to a 1947 performance of the same tune by Charlie Parker which you can find on the Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz (CD 3, track 14). The introduction is the same played by the pianist on the earlier recording by pianist Duke Jordan. During the first A section, Bob plays the melody of "Embraceable You" with his left hand, while adding quotations from Charlie Parker's alto saxophone solo in his right hand.

introduction 0:00
A 0:17 Gershwin melody in the left hand, Charlie Parker solo in the right hand
B 0:47
A 1:10 rhythm section enters (drums played with brushes)
C 1:41

12. Quasimodo

"Quasimodo" is an original bebop composition by Charlie Parker based on the harmonic progression of "Embraceable You." As with the original song, it is in 32-bar ABAC form, but as with many bebop-style heads (see the arrangement of "S'Wonderful" above), the melodic lines for the two A sections differ even as the harmonic progression stays the same.

introduction 0:00 transition from "Embraceable You": establishing new tempo, modulating to new key
A 0:07 B 0:21 A 0:35 C 0:49
tenor sax solo
A 1:03 B 1:17 A 1:31 C 1:44
trumpet solo
A 1:58 B 2:12 A 2:26 C 2:40
piano solo
A 2:54 B 3:07 A 3:20 C 3:33

bass solo

(note reference to the original melody at 4:19)

A 3:46 B 3:59 A 4:12 C 4:25
A 4:39 B 4:53 A 5:06 C 5:20

13. Poker Night

"Poker Night," an original by John D'earth, has the most challenging form of any of the tunes on this CD. It is essentially in AABA form, but the sections are of unequal length: the first A section is 12 bars long, the second A only 8, the bridge 12, and the concluding A section 10 bars. (Accordingly, I have labeled the sections "A1," "A2," "B," and "A3.") The sense of form is further complicated by an introductory four-bar vamp that leads without a break into the beginning of the AABA form.

"Poker Night" is in a post-bop style: the harmonies underlying the tune are not straightforward triads, but complex "altered" chords, requiring the performers to use unusual scales or modes.

The following guide serves as a reference for the intricacies of the form of "Poker Night." I do not, however, suggest using the guide until you have become familiar with the tune first, absorbing a sense of form and structure gradually and intuitively, the way jazz fans in a club would. While listening to (and enjoying!) the tune, pay careful attention to the harmonic progression, and try to notice when particular harmonic patterns seem to cycle back around.

0:00 four-bar vamp (rhythm section)

trumpet and tenor sax enter with a composed melody over the four-bar vamp

A1 0:18 A2 0:31 B 0:40 A3 0:53
piano solo (2 choruses)
A1 1:05 A2 1:17 B 1:26 A3 1:39
A1 1:50 A2 2:03 B 2:11 A3 2:24
trumpet solo (2 choruses)
A1 2:35 A2 2:48 B 2:57 A3 3:10
A1 3:21 A2 3:35 B 3:44 A3 3:57
tenor sax solo (2 choruses)
A1 4:08 A2 4:21 B 4:30 A3 4:44
A1 4:55 A2 5:08 B 5:17 A3 5:30
drum solo
5:41 begins with return of four-bar vamp from introduction
5:58 drum begins to solo in a call-and-response pattern with fragments from the vamp
6:30 vamp fades out, leaving the drums unaccompanied
7:05 vamp returns
A1 7:23 A2 7:36 B 7:45 A3 7:58
8:09 improvisations in free rhythm, based on the last chord of the head


14. The Charm

"The Charm," by pianist Bob Hallahan, is another post-bop composition with a modern harmonic language, an unusual form, and an unusual meter (3/4, three beats to the bar). The form lasts 38 measures, and can be divided into five sections: ABCDE. Each section is eight bars, with the exception of the D section, which is six bars long. The E section features a pedal, or a sustained note in the bass

0:00 featuring a pedal (as in the E section)
A 0:16 B 0:32 C 0:48 D 1:03 E 1:15
piano solo (2 choruses)
A 1:31 B 1:45 C 2:01 D 2:16 E 2:27
A 2:41 B 2:57 C 3:13 D 3:27 E 3:39
bass solo
A 3:54 B 4:09 C 4:24 D 4:38 E 4:49
A 5:04 B 5:19 C 5:35 D 5:50
coda 6:02 (replacing the last E section)

15. Mambo Mio

"Mambo Mio," by bassist Pete Spaar, is typical of the kind of Latin dance music that jazz musicians often play. Note that the role of the rhythm section differs from usual jazz practice: the piano plays a highly syncopated pattern, known in Latin music as a montuno, while the bass plays a complementary syncopated pattern in place of a walking bass. The overall form can be diagrammed as AABBA, with each section lasting eight bars.

0:00 montuno (piano)
0:09 bass and drums enter
A 0:18 A 0:27 B 0:36 B 0:44 A 0:54
trumpet solo
A 1:03 A 1:12 B 1:20 B 1:29 A 1:38
tenor sax solo
A 1:47 A 1:55 B 2:04 B 2:13 A 2:21
interlude I (composed)
A 2:30 A 2:39
piano solo
A 2:47 A 2:56 B 3:05 B 3:13 A 3:22
interlude II (composed--new chord progression)
drum solo
3:49 begins
3:58 add montuno (piano)
4:06 add riffs (trumpet, tenor sax)
4:41 other instruments drop out
A 4:58 A 5:06 B 5:15 B 5:24 (no final A)

16. Night Out

"Night Out," by the drummer, Robert Jospe, is a 32-bar AABA tune. Note how the straightforward bluesy quality of the A section contrasts with the more dissonant character of the bridge, or B section.

0:00 two-chord vamp, played by the rhythm section
A 0:12 A 0:25 B 0:33 A 0:47
tenor sax solo
A 0:59 A 1:10 B 1:22 A 1:33
trumpet solo
A 1:44 A 1:56 B 2:08 A 2:19
piano solo
A 2:31 A 2:43 B 2:54 A 3:05
"trading eights" (alternating eight-bar solos)
A tenor sax 3:16 A drums 3:28
B trumpet 3:39 B drums 3:50
"trading fours" (alternating four-bar solos)
A tenor sax 4:01 drums 4:07
A trumpet 4:12 drums 4:18
B tenor sax 4:23 drums 4:29
A trumpet 4:34 drums 4:40
A 4:45 A 4:57 B 5:09 A 5:20
coda 5:32