Little Sunflower, Like Someone in Love

Our next jam is October 1st and I'm looking forward to our two featured songs, "Little Sunflower," and "Like Someone in Love." We haven't featured these songs at the jam before and it's time!

I had always wanted to learn "Little Sunflower" but it wasn't until I heard a rousing version by our house band/jammers some months back that I decided to learn it. It's actually simple for horn players - the melody is basic and there are only 3 chords. The success of the song depends a lot on the rhythm section weaving a rich tapestry behind the soloist. Listening to different versions will reveal the many types of groove (all straight eighths) that have been used for this song. Listening, being flexible, and responding to each other is the best way to enjoy the freedom of a song like this. Here's a good version to check out after you listen to the original:

"Like Someone in Love" is our other featured song. This melody is memorable for its rising line and leaps. This is counter to the descending opening bass line, always a nice effect. After that, the rising line follows the chords which are lots of fun to play over. A play along and chord sheet are available at Learn Jazz Standard. A very interesting discussion about the harmony and key is on Peter Spitzer's blog.  I expect we'll play it in Eb, same as the Real Book. Whenever learning the melody to a standard like this I try to find a good vocal version, preferably by Frank Sinatra. He tends to stay close to the original melody and I find it helpful to hear the words as well. Here's a video with Frank and then a nice version with Stan Getz (the People Time version is in Eb but I couldn't find it on the net).

September 17 Jam

Hi all,

We hope to see many of you at the Rigby on Sunday, September 17, when we'll be treated to the support of a virtuoso house band consisting of Paul Dietrich (trumpet), Johannes Wallmann (piano), John Christensen (bass), and Rand Moore (drums). The featured jam vehicles are Miles Davis's "So What" and Wayne Shorter's "Witch Hunt." The Miles number helped popularize modal jazz at the tail end of the 1950s into the '60s. Miles played his solo on the 1959 recording of the tune (on Kind of Blue) entirely in the Dorian mode, exploring the creative freedom that can come from consciously limiting your tonal palette. It's harder than it seems! "Witch Hunt" (in Real Book 1) appeared on Shorter's Speak No Evil (1965). This one reminds me of "So What" in that the head features relatively long passages of static harmonies, but they are interspersed with dominant 7th chords descending chromatically. You might play modally over part of the tune and more traditionally over another part - or however you want!

So come on out to the Rigby on September 17th to play, listen, eat, drink, and talk. We look forward to seeing you! And don't forget to find us on Facebook for periodic jam updates and posts on featured tunes.