Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Coltrane's drawing and variations on thoughts & shapes.

There's been a lot of talk about the circle Trane drew- when you first look at it it looks like a Poly-gram. There are geometric shapes, but  they cannot be drawn into the standard circle of fifths or fourths or chromatic circle . I've heard people referred to this is the Coltrane star or chromatic circle.

If you look at this as a variation of circle of fifths or fourths this circle that he created was also evident in Yusef Lateefs book the "repository of scales and melodic patterns". When you look at this this, it is another way of seeing things. That said- if you look on the inside of the circle at the top where it says C B C#   it would be 12 o'clock… if you look at this and make it simple there's an outer ring that's displaying a six next to tonic or whole tone scale. C- d- E--Gb- Ab- Bb- -C. That is the circle on the inner side that displays a hexatonic scale.OK- if you look at these carefully and go clockwise between the tones of the scale of the rings they're contained in, it turns out to be a circle of fourths and then counter clockwise circle of fifths.

Many times when we look at this we see the tones that are circled… If you look at those you're going to see some super tonic's and leading tones, perhaps there's even more to that than meets the eye, and ear.

In my opinion any Coltrane devotee knows that he liked using the diminished scale or basically the double diminished at it as it was called , good example of that is his solo on " moments notice" and  in the 74th measure explicit use of a B-flat seven diminish scale pattern that is probably one of the most influential in the Trane language. One that I always liked, and I also think is right out in front of your face, is his solo on " Epistrophy" on the live Carnegie Hall recordings with Monk.

I think this was his way of trying to look at things in a clear concise manner.
The possibilities are really endless and I think that is something that he noticed by drawing this. People know there are 13 intervals from the tonic to the octave, these intervals are unison- minor second- major second- Minor 3rd- major third- fourth -tritone -5th, minor sixth -major sixth- minor seventh -major seventh and the octave.  There's a lot of tones in between yes! But keep on mind- there's also a lot of references in clockwise and counterclockwise motion. Shapes and things to come, if you will. To me this is the beautiful part of music… The study in pursuit. In the grand scheme of course- this is just my opinion.I've also seen other drawings that were based on this-that makes sense too.

The drawing on the tone circles will always be a fascination to saxophone players and musicians and jazz musicians for decades and centuries to come. After all that is why we are all here aren't we?

The outlines and concepts of this hopefully will enable the soloist to think further ,and go past the normal outlining the changes at the same time as the rhythm section. That is something that can become very redundant. Remember you're creating something not repeating something! Remember overall sound and shapes and tones is what you're after. Delving in heavily to intervallic and  sequential playing will assist you to eventually develop a vocabulary of your own that moves to new areas, that you might not of played before. The keyword is direction!

When you are approaching concepts like this make sure you're playing them in swinging time and practice slow. Think about what your playing and remember the further into the cosmos that you go- The harder you should be swinging. 

Check out Coltrane on "Sunship" or some of the Yusuf Lateef records and also ALL the Booker Ervin books. EG- The Freedom Book- The Space Book- The Song Book.

Intuition is your friend use it!
Good luck and I hope this helps you all.

Thank you....Tim Price 

 Take some time and study this man's music from the side of enjoyment and reflection-and also the study aspect. People always say to me what's a great solo to start with to transcribe- I always say what started me in 1969 at Berklee was Andy McGee getting me into playing one chorus of his solo on " Oleo"... That's a great place to start get that in tempo. There's always something in this man's legacy and recorded career to be inspired by-search it out and pursue it. But remember being who you are that's one of the greatest lessons that we can learn from this man-and study and look for things lifelong.

For more info on Coltrane via my blogs- go here-

Tim Price Bloggin' for D' Addario Woodwinds- Coltrane / Prestige 7105


Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- The pantheon of great jazz masters- and like minds. Trane & Slominsky.


THANK YOU....  Tim Price

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