See Steve's Hand-Written Solo Transcription

Pat Martino's solo on:

"Along Came Betty"(Benny Golson)

    Perhaps it is worth taking a brief look at the music in the early 1970s just for perspective? The Jazz/Fusion Era had begun, and in full force. You had already seen Weather Report, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever(w/ Joe Farrell, Stanley Clarke, Airto, and Flora Purim), and then, the first incarnation of the electric Return to Forever(w/ Bill Connors, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White). The sound that Bill Connors presented was to change the sound of Jazz/Fusion guitar forever, and, for the better! The music of those three supergroups alone says a great deal, and that only takes us briefly through 1973.CONSCIOUSNESS - Pat Martino But, that's enough to gain some much needed perspective.
    In March of 1972, Pat Martino had recorded "THE VISIT"(Cobblestone) with Bobby Rose, Richard Davis, and Billy Higgins. Later that same year, he recorded, "LIVE" with Ron Thomas, Tyrone Brown, and Sherman Ferguson. That recording contains the oft talked about version of "Sunny." Then, in 1974, Pat recorded "CONSCIOUSNESS" with Eddie Green(Fender Rhodes); Tyrone Brown(El. Bass) and Sherman Ferguson(Drums). It's interesting to note that in 1970, Pat had recorded an album with saxophonist Eric Kloss also titled "CONSCIOUSNESS"(Prestige) alongside: Chick Corea; Dave Holland; and Jack DeJohnette!
    The Joe Fields produced session was recorded at Generation Studios, with engineer Tony May behind the console. To these ears, this is a particularly murky and indistinct sounding recording. Yes, you can hear Pat's guitar and the electric bass, but there's really little clarity and definition from the two other instruments. Conceptually, it seems to miss the notion that one is presenting music, a group of players, and not just guitar music! When you lose the crispness and power of the drums, you have lost a great deal, and when the Fender Rhodes is practically buried, the sense of harmony and texture are completely obscured. I suppose if one is just a 'guitar nut' it all doesn't matter, but, the overall music should always be the principal concern. I can't say for certain that Pat was playing then with the heavy gauge strings that he has become known for, from .015-.052, but you can hear the speaker(s) in his amp pumping from what it was being fed. For what one gains in body and tone with heavy gauge strings, you have to know that you're pushing any amp to its limits. This is why most knowledgeable, veteran engineers, like a Rudy Van Gelder or Richard Alderson, both having recorded Pat in the past, want a guitarist to record a little brighter because, in the end, it makes for a better sounding recording. In the mixing process, one can warm-up the sound with EQ. But, as it often is, some players are just afraid to do that, and they will almost say: "This is my sound, and your job is to capture my sound!" But, the art of recording, especially with electric instruments, does not always conform to such strict and rigid demands.
    As this album was recorded long before the CD Age, "Along Came Betty" written by the great Benny Golson, appears as the opening track on Side B of the LP. Pat's solo on this performance is 2 choruses in length, and Eddie Green's Rhodes solo is only 1 chorus. Again, as time was a huge concern in the LP era, I would imagine that these solo formats were agreed upon before the tape began to roll. Such discussions, though necessary then, can put a damper on the kind of spontaneity that one is used to when playing in clubs. In many ways, this particular Martino solo could easily become a compendium of the Jazz language, as spoken on the guitar, because it offers extended time on each of the fundamental chord families: major 7, minor 7, dominant 7, minor 7b5, and altered dominant. Often times, music fans, young and old, will ask a player about a solo, or soloing, and say, for example: "What were you thinking when you were playing?" Of course, the usual, and correct answer, becomes, "Nothing! I was just playing!" The time for thinking about improvisational strategies was when you were practicing, not on the bandstand nor in the recording studio. But, this is where doing transcriptions or having access to them becomes a great learning tool, because you can see exactly what someone played and, by looking at and analyzing the lines, a particular modal or scalar thinking will become obvious. It is all hindsight but superb for your future. As we move along here, I will point just what is going on with each of these various chord families. Normally, most double-time, or fast, Jazz tunes are written and should be written in cut-time. Here, the band is playing "Along Came Betty" with a samba feel, and for some reason, it just felt right to me to write out the transcription in 4/4 using 16th-notes, which also makes the page-count half as long! Though the tune is in a traditional [A][A2][B][A3] form, the last section is 10 bars in length, while all the others are 8 bars.
    Perhaps it is the very reason that Pat Martino's style of playingPat Martino - 1975 has been so appealing to legions of Jazz guitar fans, but, as the "Along Came Betty" solo exemplifies, other than a brief melodic moment during the first 3 bars, it is simply a relentless stream of running 16th-notes, performed with a metronomic sense of aggressive time. But, hardly time for a breath to be taken! As the 9th or 2nd degree of the Dorian mode for any minor 7th chord is featured in Golson's melody, it is certainly a musical jumping off point for Martino as well. In [A] of Chorus 1, you see C# over the Bm7 chord, and C-natural over the the Bbm7 chord. The Dorian mode for each would be: B Dorian(B, C#, C, E, F#, G#, A) for Bm7, and for Bbm7, Bb Dorian(Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab). For students of the Jazz line, the larger question becomes, where does the chromaticism appear? In the pick-up to [A], and for the first 4 bars, the only chromaticism is the passing tone between the 9th descending to the Root. On major 7th chords, most seasoned players tend to apply the Lydian mode, but it is certainly not uncommon to see the major scale or Ionian mode as well. In some cases, as it often is with Pat Martino, the degree of the 4th(natural or #4) is just avoided. Notice how in both [A] sections for Chorus 1 & 2, over the Amaj7 and Gmaj7 chords, you never see a D/D# or C/C# respectively. Over the Fmaj7 in both [A2] sections, you never see a Bb or B-natural.
    The dominant 7th chords that appear in the [A] sections, and I'm speaking of both the Ab7(13) and Gb7(13) are really of interest, because the Ab7(13) would really seem to be a b5 substitution as it is headed toward Gmaj7. But Gb7(13) really does not resolve, it just converts to Gbm7 in bar 1 of [A2]. Another such moment occurs in the [A3] sections during the last 4 bars when you have Bbm7b5 to Eb7(alt.)/A to Abmaj7, and then Bm7-E7 to close out the form. In the Benny Golson arrangement, in that bar, it is very clear that he wants it to be approached as an Eb7(alt.) chord. But each time that it occurs during Pat Martino's version, Tyrone Brown is always playing A-naturals in the bass, and during the melody sections, I clearly hear some E-naturals too. So, as the Rhodes is practically buried in the mix, it's hard to determine whether it is being approached as an Amaj7 heading down to resolution on Abmaj7, or as a b5 sub, A7(13). During the Rhodes solo, at that bar, it appears that Eddie Green is approaching that chord as a dominant 7th chord of some type, and not a major 7th chord. But, when this bar and chord appear in [A3] of Chorus 1, I clearly hear a major 7 sonority there, as Pat's line would indicate, at least up until the last beat-and-a-half where you see an Eb7b9 arpeggio leading into Abmaj7. In Chorus 2, his lines are more clearly coming from an Eb7 altered approach to that bar.
    If one has decided on taking a Dorian modal approach to virtually all the chord families then, where the m7b5 chords appear, one would expect to find the Dorian mode built upon the minor 3rd of that chord being applied. In "Along Came Betty," these chord forms appear in letters [B] and [A3]. During [B] of Chorus 1, in bar 3, you have Am7b5-D7(alt.), but here, Martino in essence is ignoring the iim7b5 and approaching that entire bar as either G harmonic minor or D altered dominant. On beat 2, where you see the F# to Eb, that's a clear indication to me of G harmonic minor. As a theoretical improvisational tool, you simply apply the harmonic minor of the chord to which you are going. On beat 4 of this same bar, you see a simple D7b9 arpeggio which is also very common in this style of playing. In Chorus 2, during this same bar, you will find that Pat takes the exact same approach. In bar 5, there is a full bar of Em7b5, for which I have used the ø7 symbol, and following my theory, you would expect to see G Dorian being applied. If you omit the chromaticism, you will see: G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F in the bar. During [A3] of that same chorus, in bar 5, you have a full bar of Cm7b5, here we are looking for Eb Dorian(Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db). You should be able to find all those notes there with some nice chromatic touches as well. In bar 7, over a full bar of Bbm7b5, you would expect to find Db Dorian(Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb), and on beat 3, you see him walking right up the mode! During [B] of Chorus 2, in bar 5, over the Em7b5, the usage of G Dorian is even more clear, as he uses a very traditional upper neighbor, chromatic lower neighbor approach to the root, A-F# to G-natural, and then you see the full mode ascending. In bar 5 of [A3], with very traditional chromaticism, he is again applying Eb Dorian over the Cm7b5 chord. And, once again, in bar 7, you see him ascending straight up Db Dorian over the Bbm7b5. Using this linear approach really serves to demystify the m7b5 chord sound, and gets right to the heart of it by staying away from the root of the chord.
    As Chorus 2 begins, and the m7 chords appear again, Pat's lines take on the configurations that are so familiar to his playing. He likes the romanticism implied by using the degrees of the 9th(2nd) and the 11th(4th) as he plays C-natural to Eb over the Bbm7, and then E-natural down to C# over the Bm7 chord. Notice that in both bars 2 and 3, he uses the lower neighbor to the root, this a most traditional linear device in Jazz, you see it in beats 3-4 in bar 2 with the A# employed over the Bm7. In bar 3, you see the A-natural over the Bbm7 chord. For younger, less experienced players trying to learn to speak this language, these kinds of line configurations are essential. As a device for resolution, notice how important the usage of the b9 is to Pat. One example appears in bar 3 on beat 1, you see a Gb which shows that he's implying a sense of F7(alt.) over the Bbm7. When the Amaj7 chord arrives, you see a brief moment of development in the solo when he plays a rhythmic idea involving 16th-note subdivisions for both bars 5 and 6, and then, mercifully, he finally takes a brief breath before cascading down to the Gb7(13) in bar 8. It should be noted that Pat places emphasis on the chord tone of the 3rd on these dominant 7th lines. Notice how he surrounds the Bb(3rd) with the chromatic upper-neighbor B-natural, and the chromatic lower neighbor A-natural before ascending in chord tones: 3rd(Bb)-5th(Db)-7th(Fb). Again, you see him using the b9(G-natural) and the #9(A-natural) of the V7(alt.) chord, Db7. To repeat, this is a very traditional and typical device for Jazz players.
    [A2] begins with another very traditional linear device as over the F#m7 chord you see Pat beginning the line with C#-D#-E#-G#-E# and finally the root appears, F#. There are those who might see this as the employment of F# melodic minor(F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E#), but, I don't really see it that way. I don't believe that it is actually the usage of another scale as opposed to F# Dorian(with all the usual chromatic and/or blues implications). Again, I see it as a most traditional way of surrounding the root with the 2nd and the natural 7, or to some the maj7th or #7 degree. Once you can incorporate this line configuration in your playing in a confident and graceful manner, you will be speaking the language much, much better. As the minor chords continue, you see variations of this configuration appearing. For example, over the Gm7, you have: Bb-F#-A-F#-G. Notice the E#'s that appear over the F#m7. Over the Fmaj7 chord in bar 5 of the section, you see him using a simple major 7 arpeggio: E-F-A-C up to a high E-natural, and then he plays a chromatic device which is very typical of his playing over major 7 chords. He descends chromatically down from the E(the major 7th): E-Eb-D-Db-C. Try adding this to your linear arsenal as well! During the final 3 bars of this section, which feature a iim7b5-V7 to Dm7, pay attention to the importance placed upon the 3rd(C#) of A7(alt) in bar 6, and B-natural in bar 8 over the G7 chord. In both cases, you see the 4th sitting above that scale degree, and it is often joined by the blue note just 1/2-step below.
    When Pat lands at letter [B], we see another interval, over a m7 chord that he likes a great deal, and you have seen this in other solos, and even in the melodies to his own tunes. Here the chord is Cm7, and he plays the m3rd(Eb) up the interval of a major 7th to the 9th(D) of the chord. As the first 2 bars are Cm7 to F7, you can clearly see that he is not thinking of the F7 chord as a separate entity. Everything he does with his lines bespeaks of C Dorian to me. As the Am7b5-D7 to Gm7 arrives in bar 3, Pat's line indicates another traditional and very useful linear device when navigating any iim7b5-V and that is to use the harmonic minor scale of the chord to which you are headed. In this case that is Gm7, and G harmonic minor is: G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb, F#. So Pat's line in bar 3 descends: C-Bb-A-G-F#-Eb-D, what does that now say to you? In bar 5, you see a very Dorian approach to the iim7b5. In this case, you have Em7b5, and using a Dorian approach, you would expect to see G Dorian(G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F) here. And you do! But notice that Pat uses the Jazz line configuration including the #7(maj7) beginning on A-natural-F#-G-A-Bb, finally ascending by: F#-G-A-Bb-C-D-E to F-natural! In bars 7-8, where you have a bar each of Fm7 and Bb7, again you see the maj7th(E-natural) employed over the Fm7 chord. It's the same line configuration that you've already seen several times during the solo over m7 chords. Here you have G-E-F-G-Ab-Bb-C, etc.! Over the Bb7 chord, Martino makes a point of using the 3rd(D-natural) so that it is clear that there is a sense of resolution.
    For the final [A3] of the solo, you again see many of the same Dorian Martino-esque line configurations. And yes, look at bar 2, where the maj7th(A#) appears against the Bm7 chord. In bars 3-4, Pat plays another rhythmic motif with 16th-note sub-divisions. This should sound familiar to his most ardent fans, which nice to hear after so many non-stop running 16th-notes. Previously in this analysis, I spoke at length about Pat's Dorian approach to m7b5 chords, and you see it clearly over the Cm7b5 and Bbm7b5 chords. One final time, to state it simply, you apply the Dorian mode built upon the m3rd of the chord. It's as easy as that! In bar 7, over the final Abmaj7 chord, you see the same kind of line configuration that you have been seeing over m7 chords. It begins on the 9th(2nd) down to the maj7th, and then it ascends from the root. So, over the Abmaj7 chord you see: Bb-G-Ab-Bb-C-Eb-G, etc.! One aspect to the changes to "Along Came Betty" represents a particular trick, or improvisation strategy, that veteran Jazz players employ, and that is, in place of a V7(alt.), you play the mode of the chord, 1/2-step above the chord to which you are headed. So here, you are headed towards Bbm7. Normally, you might expect to see an F7(alt.) chord there.Benny Golson But, composer Benny Golson has written the 'trick' chord change into the tune itself, and so you see Bm7-E7 in the bar before the Bbm7. Now, the next time you are making such a transition, even if the actual V7 chord is there, use this modal approach, and see how it sounds to you. Remember, when I say "modal approach" that is now meant to include all the chromatic linear variations you might be familiar with. It is not just the 7-note mode!
    During the late '70s, I had the privilege of participating in what became the Columbia Records "MONTREUX SUMMIT" series of live recordings from the 1977 Festival. One of the nicest parts of that experience, and I don't think that anyone really likes festival extravaganzas, was meeting, getting to play with, and getting to know saxophonist arranger Benny Golson. As part of the concert, we performed and recorded one of his classic tunes, "Blues March." One must never forget that Benny is also the composer of Jazz classics: "Killer Joe"; "I Remember Clifford"; Stablemates"; "Whisper Not"; and another beautiful ballad, "Park Avenue Petite" which Pat Martino recorded on his album "EAST" from 1968. Personally speaking, I found Benny to be warm, kind, and very humble, and not an overbearing person when sorting out the complexities of his arrangements. There are arrangers who can alienate the members of any orchestra in less than 5-minutes, and then never really get them to put out. I came away from this experience really liking Benny Golson, and on other recordings afterwards I always enjoyed seeing him.
    If one is to consider the scope of the great recording career of Pat Martino, I would have to say that I consider this solo to be a real "classic" of his. The line configurations embody all the essential elements that you would often find in any Martino solo, and could easily provide a basis for anyone trying to better understand exactly why he sounds and plays a particular way. Though I have said this at least once before, the perception can be that any Pat Martino solo commences with a single lyrical phrase, and then, it is often followed by an endless stream of running double-time 8th-notes, or in this case running 16th-notes. Of course, at times, this can be most effective. But, when one is playing like that, it really leaves no space for any kind of group interaction. For me, that element, musical conversation with a band, should supersede any and all individual concerns. Just something to think about! Above all, just enjoy this solo, and gather whatever information you can from what I've offered.
    I should probably say this again, these recent transcriptions, at least a few of them like this one were done after my college years at U.C.L.A.('65-'69), and my eventual move to New York in 1970. This particular one is one of nine transcriptions that did not appear in my book "PAT MARTINO: The Early Years." When I actually did this one, I was under the impression that there was a strong possibility that there would be a 2nd Edition of the book, or better yet, a "VOLUME II." But for a variety of reasons, this has never happened, and I don't anticipate that it will ever happen. So, I am hoping to share the two remaining transcriptions here during the months to follow.
    As we have now said "Goodbye!" to 2011, we are hoping that everyone had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a ¡FELIZ NAVIDAD! And, of course, now it is time to finally say, yet again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Y por supuesto, les deseamos un muy ¡FELIZ AÑO NUEVO! Wishing you all good health, happiness, and please, PEACE everywhere!!! Personally speaking, I have absolutely no idea what to expect from 2012. I don't want to think for a single moment that things could get worse for us here in the USA!!!

[Photo of Pat Martino ca. 1975
Photo of Benny Golson by Oliver Rossberg]

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