"I Mean You"

Performance notes by Anders Svanoe

On September 16th we'll be playing "I Mean You" by Thelonious Monk. Monk tunes are catchy, very unique and can be very easy, or difficult to play.  Piano players, in particular, like to play Monk tunes, so it's important to know a handful of his tunes.  I also consider Monk to be one of the most important jazz composers of the 20th century and it is always a good idea to study these people.

The tune is 32 bar AABA with a little 4 bar intro and outro. Things to watch are:

  • The counting (on the melody) on the last bar of the intro and coming in on the and of 4 leading into the first A section.
  • Rhythm section can imply hits on 2 and 4 for the A sections and swings as normal on the bridge.
  • Harmonically watch bars 3 and 4 in the A sections and try to make a smooth transition between those two chords that are a half step apart.  Don't feel that you need to play something in both measures, just pick one or the other, or if you decide to play both, play something logical in the first chord and repeat it in the next.

The original of this tune came off of the record "The Genius of Thelonious Monk Vol. 1" with Milt Jackson on vibraphone.  If you want to hear versions with horn players, 5 by Monk by 5 features tenor saxophonist, Charlie Rouse and Thad Jones on cornet.  There is also a 1957 Art Blakey Jazz Messengers version (with Monk) featuring Johnny Griffin on tenor and Bill Hardman on trumpet.  Tempos can vary on this tune from a slower walking tempo to medium up. Here's a version with Charlie Rouse on tenor.


Big changes for the jam

The next jam is September 15th at our new home for all jams, The Fountain , 122 State St. The East Side Club and Liliana's have been great hosts but it has always been our goal to have one central location. One location means less thinking about where the jam is happening, and a central location is most accessible and fairest for all.

The Fountain is a family oriented restaurant and bar that opened last year and is now offering music, with an emphasis on jazz. Monday nights are Hammond Organ night (The Fountain owns their very own B3), Thursday nights Charlie Painter and friends entertain, and now the jam will be there twice a month on Sundays.

We'll be in the back room, easily accessible off Dayton or Carroll St. It has plenty of room for musicians and fans and seats 50 comfortably. On the menu is old-fashioned comfort food; tasty, plentiful, and economically priced. Parking is available on side streets and in the parking ramp across the street.

Our new schedule will be the first and third Sunday of every month. Previously, we tried to schedule around Packer games and other local jazz events, but now we are emphasizing consistency. We may take off for holidays (like Labor Day) but otherwise you can expect the jam every first and third Sunday. Dan will be the educator for most of the jams.

Our schedule page will continue to list house band members and the designated 1st set tune for that week. Every jam is an all-star lineup but we're planning an extra special band for September 15th, our first session at The Fountain. Stay tuned.

Our format will remain the same except for minor tweaking to  accommodate an expected larger number of jammers. With a large turnout you shouldn't expect to play on more than 2 or 3 tunes. While this is a change for our jam it is the standard at jazz jams everywhere. We will also try again to keep the number of soloists per song to a reasonable number (except for the tune-of-the-week and the last tune). This makes it easier to interpret the melody, stretch out a bit on your solo, and avoids tiring out the rhythm section.

Please help us make the jam successful in our new location. The opportunity to call The Fountain our home is the best thing that's happened to the jam yet. Let's make sure it succeeds. Bring your family or friends down to eat and hear you play. Share this article on Facebook. Spread the word!

MMC JAzZ on a Sunday Concerts/IMW sessions begin again September 9 - w/ Laura Caviani

Laura will lead the IMW September 9th. She will be talking about her approach to take classical melodies and applying a jazz treatment to them. Come hear what she has to say and be ready with questions and bring your axe to jump in and try some of her charts.

Check out Laura at www.LauraCaviani.com

Mary Stallings Vocal workshop was intimate and sweet. (Cheryl Bentyne coming Sep. 6)

Vocal Workshop was better than we could have expected. Put Mary Stallings in the room with talented professional vocalists, amazing church musicians and aspiring singers and what do you get? WOW!!!

Beautiful! It was the BEST part of her residency here with us in Madison. In a small room at the Edgewater Hotel singers sang their hearts out, jammed on the blues together and there was more than harmony happening there. They all moved out into the Cove Lounge and showcased their talents for the public with Gerri DiMaggio and Paul Hastil.

Coming soon to the Brink Lounge .. not an IMW but another GREAT vocalist, CHERYL BENTYNE, from the Manhattan Transfer group will do a vocal workshop on THURSDAY, September 6th at the Brink.

9/5:  CHERYL BENTYNE AND RAY RIDEOUT QUINTET AT JAZZ AT FIVE.  Cheryl Bentyne, lead vocalist of the nine-time Grammy award-winning Manhattan Transfer, is the 6:30 PM headliner.  She’ll be joined by fellow vocalist Mark Winkler and backed by Madison’s Dave Stoler Trio.  Opening performance at 5:00 PM by the wonderful veteran Madison-based saxophonist Ray Rideout and his quintet.  Free admission.  http://jazzatfive.org/

Jammin' the next two Sundays

The next two weekends are our last jams of the summer and this Sunday is our last jam outside at the East Side Club. In case you missed it, here are some photos from our last ESC jam. You can't ask for a more beautiful, relaxing setting. [slideshow]

You may have noticed we don't have any jams listed after August. No, the jam is not going away. There will be some changes, however, and we don't have everything finalized yet. One change we are working hard to implement is a consistent schedule for the jam. The jam will be the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Since the 1st Sunday in September is during Labor Day weekend we will skip it. The only jam in September will be September 16th. We'll have more information about the location soon.

Lastly, a word of caution about playing Blue Train. Do not use the Real Book version! It is wrong. Listen and learn the melody from the recording. Notice the solos are over  a major blues. The use of the dominant #9 during the melody gives it a  minor flavor, but it is not a minor blues.