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Blue Seven. Help with modes.

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by Kitschead, Sep 22, 2008.

  1. Ok I need to play bass for these people at my school performing 'Blue Seven' by Sonny Rollins. According to this real book I've got, all the chords are dominant with flat fives which I guess fits with the tune. I was just wondering if anyone knows what mode/s I should be playing in for this song? Help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Ah, the "Real Book," that final arbiter of musical truth and beauty . . .

    Kitsch, close the book. You want to get Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colussus. It is generally recognized as a "desert island disc," one of those few which are required in a complete study of jazz music.

    Study Doug Watkins' line over and over, hard. The melody, Mr. Rollins' all-time-classic solo and Mr. Watkins' line are all intentionally ambiguous as to whether the tune is Bb or E blues. (It's not THAT ambiguous and eventually settles into Bb.)

    For your high school ensemble, if you just play a regular Bb blues you'll be fine, IF that is what the other people in your group are playing.

    But don't neglect the record. It's completely, totally the real deal.

    Have fun. Report back.
  3. Yeah I was playing it today with just a regular Bb blues. I just don't really like the natural 5 clashing with the flat 5 which the horns play. At our skill level we don't really play it with enough conviction for it to sound ok and it just sounds like a mistake.
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    aHA. Your ears are open.

    a) Work on lines that avoid the flatted or natural fifth (at least at the wrong moment). What a splendid rut-breaker!

    b) Get "Colossus" and dig Doug. No fooling.
    Coriolis likes this.
  5. Hey thanks a lot. I'll try that.
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I was blindfold testing with some friends a few years ago and I forget what the tune was, but I correctly guessed Doug Watkins because I recognized something about the tone and approach from having picked Blue 7 apart breath by breath years earlier. When you dig deep into a tune, it and the players never leave you. I don't think about it when I play, but it becomes part of you who you are and certainly makes its way into your own expression of yourself.

    So does the Real Book, for that matter. You can always tell when someone is drawing from a musical referrence or a lead sheet.
  7. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    Learn the head on the bass.

    That's how I figured out what that flat 5 is supposed to sound like!

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