There Will Never Be Another You

This is an excerpt from David Cooper's blog. The entire article is posted on his site.

I am thrilled to host the Madison jazz Jam again this coming Sunday. This week the featured tune is the standard, “There Will Never Be Another You” by Warren and Gordon.

From an improvisation standpoint the tune has many opportunities to work our ii V I progression concepts. It is a 32 bar song form, meaning that the tune is divided in half – 16 measures each with many similarities in both halves. This is all well and good and important stuff. However, what I would like to focus on this particular week with this particular tune is melodic interpretation.  Continue Reading....

With so many jammers it's best to arrive early

by Madison Jazz Jam President Bob Kerwin

I wish I could've been there yesterday, only the 2nd jam I've missed. Thank you Dave, the house band, Mike for filling in for me, and all 23 jammers that came and performed. By all reports it was another great jam with many new faces. We had 6 musicians from West HS  (thanks, Jamie, for spreading the word), welcomed 4 new musicians from Waunakee HS, and heard pros like Ray Rideout and Darren Sterud, too.

The jam is becoming so popular we'll soon have the good problem of finding time to fit everyone in. If you are a newer improvisor please come for the 1st set; it is reserved for you.  Arriving early is best for everyone. We want everyone to have a chance to play but if a bunch of jammers show up in the last hour it is hard. In the future the jam may last until 7:30 (hopefully the new year), until then we suggest showing up before 6 if you want to play, and for the 1st set if you are a newer improvisor.

Our next jam is November 4th and we'll focus on "There Will Never Be Another You." We should have some helpful notes up soon.

A Night in Tunisia

The performance notes below are by Dave Cooper and are posted here and on his blog. Check out his blog when you have time. Lots of educational material, and a great read about his recent trip to China.

Hi everyone that attended last Sunday’s jam session. I had a great time and am thrilled to be asked to be a part of it. What a great space, too! The Fountain certainly seems to be the new place to hear and play jazz in Madison. Finally!!

Next jam, on October 21, we focus on “A Night in Tunisia”. This tune presents a couple of interesting things to deal with.

Keeping the Form

No matter how many times I’ve played this tune, it is always a challenge to keep the form during the solos. The solo form is AABA but the beginning of the bridge can sound like an A section and the soloist can trick the rhythm section to jumping to the bridge too early or vise versa.

To help keep form for the soloists, those of us not soloing can play a background figure. We will play the first two notes of the 1st measure of the bridge and the first two notes of the 5th measure of the bridge every time the bridge comes around. Soloists should make the 4th and 8th measures of the bridge tonal targets as those are two moments that are different from the rest of the piece.

The Solo Break

Another interesting improvisational novelty in this tune is it incorporates a solo break. This is four measures of silence after the interlude where the soloists plays something that leads into their solo. It’s like a cadenza except the player needs to keep strict time! The soloist is also fully responsible for establishing whatever harmony they wish to employ. Whatever you choose to play, it should sound like the first measure of the tune is a definite arrival point. I’d like to suggest we break from tradition here and play the interlude after every soloist so that every person gets a chance at the break.

Repetitive Alternating Chords

The A sections of “Tunisia” consist of repetitive alternating chords. This poses a couple of opportunities for the soloist. One tactic is to outline the chord in each measure like you would in most other situations. The chord repetition gives you the chance to explore sequential ideas and rhythmic motives.

Another tactic is to combine the repeating chords and come up with a scale that most closely fits over both chords. In this case we would combine (concert) d minor and Eb. The resulting scale would be D Phrygian, Eb Lydian or Bb major. However you want to think of it, you want to play in two flats but have the pitch “D” as your tonic. This idea of combining chords to create a unifying scale works well in tunes that have repetitive chord structures. Other tunes that come to mind would be “Well You Needn’t” and “Killer Joe”.

I first heard of this concept through learning that this is how Wayne Shorter composed and improvised over many of his fantastic tunes of the 60’s, like Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum. This is a much more complex tune than “Tunisia” but if you break that entire tune down to a single mode it opens a lot of doors. The mode to use are the notes he used for entire melody of “Fee-…”

The Ending

Lastly, “Tunisia” traditionally ends with a cadenza in the last measure or two. That might prove to be tricky in a jam session setting, especially if we have the wonderful turnout like we did last week! I suggest that a quick and easy solution would be to play the head after all the soloists then go to the interlude section one last time and end cleanly where the break occurs.

Once again, I am really looking forward to playing with you all again at the next Madison Jazz Jam at the Fountain. (This time I won’t have to duck out early for a Madison Symphony rehearsal!)
See you then,

Here is a classic recording of Night in Tunisia.


The jam hits another high point

Wow, the jam is really gaining momentum now. Twenty-three jammers! More than 60 people overall, so many the staff had to keep bringing in extra chairs. Some of the best players in the city, not just in the house band but in the jammers showing up for the second set. It was happening!

For me, the highlight was Dave Cooper's trumpet, just beautiful. I love listening to him. And the good thing is in 2 weeks Dave and another terrific band will be back. The tune for next time is "Night in Tunisia." We'll have more helpful info on the tune on the site soon.

One more thing: if you lost a bracelet at the jam the Fountain is holding it. Just call them and describe it accurately to get it back.