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"Milestones" : Easy as it looks ?

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by godoze, Jul 1, 2004.


  1. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    I must admit that I tho I studied jazz voraciously in my formative years I have spent the graeter part of the last 15 years as a composer and soloist. I am now starting to approach tunes that I played waaaay back and I am a bit rusty at deciding what to do where.

    So. on "milestones" being that we are playing two minor chords do I use G Dorian and A phrygian ? That is what strikes me at first but as I say i'm not really used to playing other folks' music anymore...

    l'il 'elp ?
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't know what the charts say, but the records have a B natural in the melody on the bridge, and no 6th, so I'd say Phrygian is not too likely. Maybe Aeolian? Maybe whatever 6th & 7th you're hearing at that moment?

    As for whether it's an easy tune, I am reminded of Stravinsky's comment about how the most frightening object on earth is a blank sheet of manuscript paper. The longer I play, the more I agree. :)
     
  3. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    i hear you on that Stravinsky thing Chris..if only he'd stuck to 12 tone composition maybe he wouldn't have been so frightened..lol

    yeah, upon listening i'm thinking not phrygian. the other thing is that the first phrase of Cannonball's solo sounds major to me from the Miles recording so I guess I'll have to start transcribin' .
     
  4. Everyone must be too intimidated to reply its taught to be G Dorian and A Aeolian - which is how I hear it too BTW. Its an enjoyable challenge getting a bassline to build and phrase in such a way it drives and the poor sax players (well the one's I play with any-road) don't get lost - usually in my view they overshoot the last 8 bar section following 3 16 bar sections, after which it's a long wait to the next chord change. I think its difficult to play well but rewarding in all sorts of areas when done. I usually see what other minor scales I can substitute to create variety and tension without altering the flavour. Where's Adrian Cho when you need him?
     
  5. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    only thing worse is "So What ? "
     
  6. what gives you those impressions?
     
  7. Those would be the same scale notes.
     
  8. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Yes G Dorian and A Aeolian is what I play and what I expect others to play in this tune. I find the exciting thing about this tune is the bridge. Firstly at 16 bars it is longer than people expect it to be with the whole form being 40 bars. Secondly, it's usual during the bridge not to play four to a bar but to do anything from latin vamps to various ostinatos (which always work well with modal tunes). The most fun is trying to displace the feel and then bring it back together in the final A section. In fact it's really essential to creating and resolving the tension. A good drummer is recommended <G>.

    Check out Ron Carter and the rest of the gang (with George Coleman on tenor) on the Miles Davis in Europe/Miles in Antibes recording. Milestones at quarter note = 360. Listen how they reduce the bridge to almost nothing at many points.

    Flamenco Sketches is another interesting tune to play as a modal exercise. I like to use it as a listening exercise for the band with the soloist totally dictating the form (and the band having to follow) as was done in the original recording.
     
  9. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002

    Of course they are; just starting at different points ? whadderu gettin' at old man ?
     
  10. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The point I believe he's gettin' at is that it is unlikely to be A Phrygian since it's the same scale as G Dorian, and indeed it is not A Phrygian but in fact A Aeolian. Changing the mode like that equates to about the same thing as a purely enharmonic change (e.g. Db then C#), well not quite but something like that. In the case of Milestones, the bridge has quite a different sound so your re-analysis was correct.
     
  11. Thanks, Adrian.
    I had thought the change in tonality was obvious, but apparently not.
     
  12. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Some of us are not as enlightened when it comes to some of these crusty old tunes my friend. As I said, I am treading somewhat unfamiliar territory.