Jazz Clues


Jazz: rhythm on audio for Solace of the Wind

QuestionQuestion
Maureen K., California

In Jazz Clues, the second song in the collection, Solace of the Wind, seems to be the only piece where the lead instrument plays a very different rhythm from the written score. I would appreciate any tips for teaching this one.

Answer
Neil Moore

Regarding the rhythm, eighth notes (in a jazz interpretation) are usually always played with a swing rhythm, as is the case here. And nothing about that would affect the ‘dropping-in’ aspect of playing along. The intent of all the recordings was to mostly provide a music arrangement/interpretation that could be played along with. What tips are you looking for regarding this?

Answer
Maureen K., California

The way I heard it, it’s not just that it was interpreted as swing. Without listening again–I think the horn player came in on the second or third beat of the measure and interpreted some of the eighths as sixteenths, stuff like that. (Or maybe because there was no lead-in, I was hearing the downbeat wrong.) I’m wondering if I should recommend that a player new to jazz listen to that audio track while trying to learn the melody, or not.

Answer
Neil Moore

That’s true Maureen, but that’s the nature of Jazz players. Eight notes are ‘swung’, and all written notation merely provides a melodic and rhythmic guide that ultimately is interpreted however the player chooses, in the moment.

Answer
Kym N., California

I am looking at this song too just now. Playing dropping-in with the audio is very hard when the horn comes in on the second beat but the lead sheet shows the melody comes in on the first beat. My first couple times playing with the track were a mess because I was listening to the horn. I got quite confused with the beats by the horn. So, I listened to the track again and found out the I should listen to the bass which gives very steady beats . I think we need to have the students be aware of that and address that at the lesson. Well, this is not quite related to the original question.

Answer
Laurie Richards, Nebraska

The click track will help with that. It’s an opportunity to talk to students about how this is just the nature of jazz music. It’s good to learn the melody exactly as written first. But then ‘artistic license’ and some freedom with the rhythm is completely normal. I simply have a short discussion about this with students and we practice counting “1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +” along with the recording. Hope that helps.