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The Chicken - awesome tune?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by Lovebown, Apr 12, 2001.

  1. Lovebown


    Jan 6, 2001
    I'm really starting to like the song 'the chicken' I don't know who wrote it (I think its a classic?)
    but I know Jaco performed it from time to time. It's real groovin and you can easily throw in solos in it.

    Great song :)

  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It was written by Pee Wee Ellis who was Sax player and arranger for James Brown. I have seen him play recently with Van Morrison and he is doing arranging for Van. Jaco wrote the "Soul Intro" - although I think he had help from his own arranger.

    I think it's great for a big band with lots of trumpets, trombones and Saxes - as on the Birthday Concert Jaco CD.

    I think it would be amazing to play this with a big band where it's just you, the drummer and the horns - no chordal instruments, like Jaco did. I have seen a big band arrangement of this for sale on the net and have been tempted to buy it in case the opportunity ever came up! It's expensive though , with all the parts.

    It's quite a simple tune - really an extended Blues, but is really powerful live.
    JimK likes this.
  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    I played it live with a four piece horn section (two of the players worked with James Brown) and it kicked.
  4. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    We play it in the Army Jazz Combo I play in. Only a four piece group, w/ sax, piano, drums and bass, sometimes guitar. But it is a really fun tune to play. One of the few tunes that I solo on where it really sounds like I can solo, as opposed to "A Night in Tunisia" which sounds like I am practicing arpeggios, but I digress. Does it sound like am less than excited about my playing last night?
  5. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    we also play it with my jazz band.
    I wich I could play it only with drum and horn though
  6. I was in a band where we used it as a chaser (I'm not sure what you call that in the US, it's the short tune at the end of a set to signify that the band is going to have a break, go to the bar, get drunk, fall down, and lose the gig!)
  7. I have a version of The Chicken done by Jaco and John Scofield, couldn't get hold of the one with the Big Band.

    What is the "Soul Intro"?? Is it the starting bass groove?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    No - it is a real "Big Band" showcase - arranged for a very large horn section and is kind of like a teaser opening, that James Brown might have done - but even more "over the top" if possible!! ;)

    When this finshes - the bass groove comes in and the tune proper starts.
  9. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I've always thought that would be a fun tune to play in a band. The version on Word of Mouth is great. Love the whole big band thing.

    Long ago, in the dim past, I saw a version of this performed in a trio format (drums/gtr/Jaco) on a Jaco instructional video....
  10. Yeah, I have a version played by Jaco and John Scofield, and it is a trio.

    Is the bass groove arranged by Jaco??
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    It's not on Word of Mouth - I've owned several versions of this album -
    Track Listing:
    1. Crisis
    2. 3 Views Of A Secret
    3. Liberty City
    4. Chromatic Fantasy
    5. Blackbird
    6. Word Of Mouth
    7. John And Mary

    ..it is on Invitation and the Birthday Concert etc. ......
  12. I've got it on "Invitation" by Jaco.

    VERY cool tune. One of the finest bass riffs EVER. PERIOD. No discussion. No. Don't even TRY... Seriously. :spit: :D
  13. Check out THIS version by Mystery Feet with our very own Craig Garfinkel on bass. I'm digging this one more and more everytime I listen to it. One of the best versions out there (in my humble opinion).

    [size=-1]("The Chicken" mp3 posted with permission of Craig Garfinkel)[/size]
  14. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Aw shucks.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I have the CD as well!! ;)
  16. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Perhaps I can shed a little light on the "Soul Intro". It was written by Jaco, but was most likely arranged, or at least charts were written out by arranger Larry Warrilow. Some of the cats in Jaco's big band felt that Warrilow didn't get the credit that he deserved, but I recall reading that Warrilow himself said Jaco sketched out in detail how he wanted the arrangements to be, providing lots of instruction.

    However, the arrangement of "Happy Birthday" that appears on the Birthday Concert CD is all Warrilow, done as a surprise for Jaco. The band sight read it on the gig. :cool:
  17. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Yup. Oops. I offer you all a hearty "my bad."

  18. This may seem illegitimate, but depending on how you value your time, may work out pretty well.

    1)Search the net for a good MIDI version of the Chicken. They exist.
    2)Open in Cakewalk or similar. Hopefully, the parts are labelled by instrument, transpose each track to the key of the instrument (trumpets & tenors up a step, altos down a minor third, etc...)
    3)Make everything print out nice in Finale or similar.
    4)Make horn players play these charts with you.

    If you cannot find a sufficiently good MIDI version, you may have to do some arranging yourself, starting from the best one you can find.

    (This assumes you already have an idea of what to do for the bass part, and just need to show the horns exactly what they each need to do, because they are incapable of playing anything except exactly what's on the page in front of them in their key...probably a reasonable assumption)
  19. :( Was trying trying to transcribe this song by ear, but soon found out that Jaco was doing something new almost every bar!

    how far have u guys gone in playing it note by note? Or just get the "feel" of the song, and put in ur own playing?
  20. Falk


    Jan 18, 2004
    try to start out with jaco's basic pattern and then just make my own improvisations and variations based on that.

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