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"Hackensack"(Thelonious Monk)

    Over the many years, few things have brought me more musical enjoyment than interpreting the music of Thelonious Monk. As a teenager, growing-up in West Los Angeles, California, at that time, I had never heard a first name like Thelonious, nor a last name like Monk. And, of course, there were not too many young people listening to Jazz in those days with Rock 'n' Roll on the ascent. It was during the mid-'60s, when I was studying music and trying to learn something about life at U.C.L.A., that I really began to fall in love with the compositions of Monk and his piano style, even though, by then, he had already been around for a long, LONG time! However, it wasn't until the Jazz-Rock Fusion Era came to a crushing halt for me as 1980 dawned that I began to explore interpreting Monk on the guitar with greater seriousness. The result of that work, done while sitting around my apartment alone, was the album "EVIDENCE"(Arista/Novus) which included a 9-song "Thelonious Monk Medley." This album helped me to refocus my energies, and my commitment to all the music that had inspired me to pursue a life in Jazz when I began.Thelonious Monk Since that first medley, I have gone on to record 7 other Monk tunes on my albums, and most recently "Bye-ya" appeared on "PARTING SHOT." Now, "Hackensack" appears on "SUBTEXT." I had actually recorded a version of "Hackensack" once before on "HEADLINE" with Ron Carter and Al Foster in 1992.
    The arrangement for this new Latin-style interpretation of "Hackensack" was actually something that I had around the apartment for some years. As it often happens, someone calls you, and asks if you have an arrangement that you might want to record on their particular album. I thought that this arrangement would have been great for that particular artist, but, like so many things, the recording just never happened! So, this just seemed like the perfect moment to resurrect it, and bring it to life. It features a 4-chorus solo, which really embodies so many of the elements that have grown into my playing. Chief amongst those elements is that linear and chordal passages are really just one thing to me. The top voice of any chord is just as important melodically as any single note would be. In this context, I can hear the influence of Monk's piano style, and also how Chick Corea's approach to playing Monk had always impressed me as being so individual. It goes without saying that Monk's stylized approach to composing and improvising never loses the sense of the integration of chords and single-note lines. Often times, Monk interpreters tend to focus on the dissonant clusters that he employed, which, at times, added an almost child-like innocence to his playing. What I enjoyed so much when I first heard Chick Corea's interpretation of "Pannonica," which goes back to 1968, was how he was able to pay homage to Monk's tune and style while never losing his sense of self, and the personal left hand style that Chick had been developing. It inspired and emboldened me to believe that I could interpret Monk's music with great respect, and still maintain my sense of self. This, of course, is what I hope that people will take away from listening to what I have done now with this new, Latin-ized, version of "Hackensack."

    Letter [A] of Chorus 1 begins with some Monk-like clusters that, I suppose, seem like something that he might have played. The voicing in bar 4 over the D7(alt.) chord is purely the guitar, and one of my favorite 7b9 sounds, because notes have a wide spread. Over both the G7 and the C7 chords in bars 5-6, the usage of whole-tone ideas for G7[G, A, B, Db, Eb, F], and for C7[C, D, E, Gb, Ab, Bb] are also tributes to aspects always found in Monk's writing and soloing. In the cadence in bar 7, as we return to F major, you hear some simple double-stops, but the second chord, B-G, brings in the b5, which so many people associate with Monk's writing and playing. To most ears, the ears of normal people, the inclusion of that note is a dissonant sound. For those who play, it's not that at all. As bars 7-8 are turnaround bars, these voicing concepts are purely guitar-related, but for the longest time, using these kinds of open-voiced sounds was always keyboard influenced. And so, in that way, what I played demonstrates how much of Chick Corea's approach to Monk I had internalized, and made my own.
    As a composition, "Hackensack" embodies bits and pieces of the blues, but also rhythm changes, so, in that regard, it's kind of a perfect "old school" tune to play and explore. It never has to sound old though!!! Some players interpret the F chord bars as F7, I have always chosen to interpret them as Fmaj7, knowing that I could insert and imply Ab, the blue note, anytime I felt like doing it. In bar 3, you can see that the blues elements have already filtered in over the F major chord, witness the Ab's and Eb's! In bar 5, as D7 becomes the V of the II7 chord, the line configuration is very traditional for Jazz players, and the last Bb in the bar resolves nicely to B-natural, and clearly defines the G chord as G7 and not Gm7. The jagged intervals over the C7 chord accentuate the #9(Eb), and eventually the b5(Gb) which passes down to F. In bar 7, you see another direct reference to the blues as Eb is better suited to F7 than Fmaj7. In bar 8 of [A2], you want your line to pull towards resolution on Bbmaj7, so clearly an F chord must become some form of an F7. The line that begins on B-natural is directly out of the F altered dominant scale[F, Gb, Ab, A, B, Db, Eb], and resolves nicely to a D-natural on the downbeat, which is the 3rd of Bbmaj7.
    As we hit letter [B], the bridge really has little to do with "Rhythm Changes," because if it did, you would expect to see: A7-D7-G7-C7 for 2 bars each. But for "Hackensack" the bridge goes to the IV chord, and is a major 7 chord, not a dominant 7th chord. The phrase in bar 1 alludes to melodic material that appears in the Monk's bridge melody. The brief return to chords in bar 3 adds a more guitar-oriented harmonic touch by adding the 9th to the major chord. Over the D7, I played a very simple descending 7b9 arpeggio, but the spirit of placing it there is, to me, very much like the way Monk employed his whole-tone scales in spots like that. Unlike the [A] sections of the tune, here the G7 chord gets 2 bars. In bar 5, I am applying D Dorian[D, E, F, G, A, B, C] sounds over the G bass note, but when I hit the high E-natural(13th), I came back down by outlining a Db triad[Db-Ab-F], which of course is the b5 substitute for G7, and gives us the b5 and b9. In bars 7-8, over the C7 chord, I return to the open voicing style with pianistic sonorities, which are far easier to play on the guitar than on the piano. All 5 of these voicings that I used are the same intervals or structures. If one's ear becomes accustomed to these sounds, it's easy enough to do, but internally, you have to believe that you hear these sounds, otherwise, no one else will believe you, not for a second!!! If you look at the top voice, of each chord, your melody voice, you'll see that over C7, I have harmonized Bb(7th)-C[R]-Db[b9]. But because bar 8 is actually a Db7 chord, it works out perfectly. Over that chord, I played in the top voice, Db[R]-B/Cb[7th]-Db[R]. Intellectually, you can make sense of damn near anything, but, in the end, the only thing that matters is: Does it sound good to YOU?
    [A3] begins with a very angular phrase that includes the 4th(Bb) over the F major chord. In bars 2-3, the rhythmic idea is developed through both bars, and you have a blue note(Db) against the Bb7 chord. Then, the most clear indication that Fmaj7 is really that, is a high E-natural that is played going into the bar. In bar 4, over the D7(alt.) chord, the line, complete with a traditional phrasing ornament on beat 1, accentuates Ab(b5)-Eb(b9)-C(7th)-F(#9). Playing such tones is always a reflection on just how much confidence you have in your bass player. In this case, with the great maestro Rubén Rodríguez and his faithful Baby Bass, there's nothing to worry about, he's got me covered, and as an accompanist, he is simply superb! In bar 5, over the G7, again, the b5(Db) is briefly passed over. Bar 8, over the C7 chord, the C 1/2-tone/whole-tone diminished scale[C, Db, Eb, E, F#, G, A, Bb] appears, but the nicest linear touch is how you have both chromatic neighbors[Bb-Ab] surrounding the eventual resolution to A-natural for the F major chord in bar 7. In bar 8, to turn us around into the 2nd Chorus, and a return to F major, when there is no form of a C7 chord in the actual changes, the lines shapes outline F major for 2 beats, but then, I view the parallel line configuration not as Db major, but as Bbm7 which is your plagal cadence iv-I, and that goes back to centuries of classical music harmony! Proving yet again, that the basic rules of harmony and resolution do stay the same!!!

    As Chorus 2 begins, once again with a chordal passage, the passage reflects a very basic modal improvising strategy over changes like this: Fmaj7-Bb7-Fmaj7. If you view the Fmaj7 as F Ionian/Major[F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E], and the Bb7 chord as F Dorian[F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb], in essence only 2 of the notes are changing: A to Ab and E to Eb. So, the open voicings in bars 1-3 reflect that kind of thinking. In bar 4, over the D7(alt.) chord, a funky cluster is placed on beat 2, just as it might have appeared in the melody. In bar 5, over the G7, the line moves from altered tones: Bb(#9)-Ab(b9) to a very consonant 6th: G-B-natural. The first 2 beats of bar 6 reflect the strategy of thinking G Dorian[G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F] over C7, and the 2nd-half of the bar contains the alterations: Eb(#9)-C-Bb-Ab/G#(#5). Again, notice how Bb and Ab surround the eventual target note of A-natural for the Fmaj7 chord. In bars 7-8, I played some chords with voice-leading that always makes me think of the great organist Larry Young. Notice that you have a common tone on top in each bar. In bar 7, it's an F which sits on top of an Fmaj9 sound, and that moves to a Db triad. Then, in bar 8, the common note moves a whole-step down, and this mini-cycle repeats, this time with Eb on top. You could view F-Bb-Eb as an F7sus sound, and the B triad(F#-B-D#/Eb) as being the b5 substitute for F. In the end, the greater purpose is just to create some form of tension to be released as bar 1 of the next section arrives.
    In [A2], the lines in bars 1-2 reflect the modal strategy that I had just mentioned in the prior paragraph. The downbeat of bar 1, over the F major area, places an emphasis on A-natural, and as the chord changes to Bb7 in bar 2, the emphasis is on Ab and D-natural. Bar 3 reprises the F major Monkish cluster that we saw in bars 1 & 3 of Chorus 1, while bar 4 puts to use another D7(alt.) chordal sound, which is formed on the guitar by placing an Ab triad next to the D-natural on top. The dotted-quarter-8th note rhythm is right in clave for the 3-bar in 2:3 clave. Bar 5, over G7, begins with the lush sound of G7(13), spelling up from your A-string: F-B-E-A. Again the 3rd(B) and the b5(Db) surround the target note on beat 1 of bar 8, C-natural for the C7 chord. But the descending line accentuates passing through a Gb triad on the way down to a most consonant landing spot, A-natural over the F major chord in bar 7. To lead us into the [B] section, the same style of open voicings, that appeared in bars 7-8 of [A] during the 1st Chorus, reappear. Follow the top voice: G-A-Bb-C in parallel harmony with the voicing under the Bb(Bb-Eb-F-Bb) providing the most harmonic color and tension.
    With the arrival of our 2nd [B] section, the line which lands on the root, Bb, was anticipated by an 8th-note into the section. A similar anticipation brings us a B-natural over the B°7 chord. Normally, where any line is concerned, I don't like to play the same notes that one is expecting from the bassist, but, as those notes are quickly moved away from, it's not so bad. When you have a diminished chord in this kind of harmonic movement, you would want to employ the B whole-tone/1/2-tone diminished scale[B, C#, D, E, F, G, G#, A#]. I have hi-lited the notes that appear in the line in bar 2. Bar 3 contains one of my favorite moments in the whole solo, as I unconsciously quoted from Monk's great tune "Criss-Cross." It must have been implanted in my brain from having listened to the great Latin interpretation of that same tune by the late and great, Kenny Kirkland. What a fantastically swingin' player Kenny was, it's such a tremendous shame that he has not been with us now for so many years. The descending "Criss-Cross" fragment is answered by an ascending line in bar 4 that uses the root, D-natural, as a pivot tone, while Eb-F-F# and eventually G-natural follow. After all that chromaticism, the outline of a very simple G7 arpeggio works just fine in bar 5. In bar 6, as the G7 bars continue, you now have alterations in the form of Ab(b9) and Bb(#9). This line closes out with G & F which chromatically surround the first note in bar 7 over the C7 chord, Gb. In this bar, I am using Eb minor pentatonic[Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Db], which, relative to C7, produces all the altered tones: Eb(#9), Gb(b5), Ab(#5), Bb(7th), Db(b9). In bar 8, as the Db7 chord arrives, courtesy of Monk, the line features notes from Db Mixolydian[Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb]. Yet again, the last two notes, chromatically surround the target note of the line, Db & Cb surrounding the C-natural that arrives on beat 1.
    [A3] closes out the 2nd Chorus with an angular line in bar 1 that still focuses on A-natural, the 3rd of F major. As bar 2 and the Bb7 chord arrive, the line contains the expected Ab at its peak, and then descends again via F Dorian with Ab sliding neatly into A-natural for the arrival of Fmaj7. This time in bar 3, you do finally see a blue note, Ab, which alludes to the possibility that any of these Fmaj7 chords could become F7, if that was one's musical choice. Bar 4, over the D7(alt.) chord features another accented cluster on the and-of-2, this time with the Eb(b9) on top. As we saw in [A2] of this same chorus, bar 5 lands on an even more lush voicing of G7(13), this time with D-natural on top.Chick Corea In bar 6, still very much in clave, two simple triads, Ab to Gb are featured, and within them all the alterations come into play. Harmonically, on the guitar, doing this is a bit of a magic act because the guts of C7(Bb-E) are nowhere to be found and/or heard. It's remarkable how the musical ear hears them even when they are not there at all!!! Bar 7 is a simple paraphrase of Monk's melody with the added twist of landing on B-natural(b5), something I imagine that Monk might have done 10,000 times. To place some chordal emphasis on that tone, perhaps even to soften it a bit, the chordal punctuation, spelling up: A-D-G-B, is played on the and-of-2, again in the 3 bar of 2:3 clave.

    Chorus 3 continues by putting to use thematic elements from Monk's composition in bars 1-2. Again, you find an A-natural in bar 1, and an Ab in bar 2 over the Bb7 chord, but this time, the bluesy line is punctuated by a stab with the interval of a 6th: G#/Ab-E. Again, with analysis, this is another case of putting some emphasis on the b5 substitute, E7, or an E triad, as it relates to Bb7. In bar 3, the feeling generated by blues notes continues, as you again find an Ab over the F chord. In bar 4, over the D7(alt.), the accent is placed around an Ab triad, which supplies you with the b5(Ab) and the b9(Eb). This time over the G7 in bar 5, a G7 augmented is heard: G-B-D#-F, with a G whole-tone scale[G, A, B, Db, Eb, F] feeling added by Eb and A-natural. Bar 6 goes right up the C 1/2-tone/whole-tone diminished scale[C, Db, Eb, E, Gb, Ab, Bb] with a nice cadence from Db-C-F in bar 7. Again, as Monk played his own tune, bars 7-8 are just over F, there is no V7 chord indicated, so when a tune functions like this, you just have to use your imagination and allow the line to do create other chordal sonorities for you. Here I have used the Eb minor pentatonic[Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Db] which, over an imaginary C7 chord provides me with all of the altered tones. The phrase ends on an Eb, and the pick-up to the next phrase that begins [A2] is an E-natural.
    The 2nd 8-bar section of this chorus begins with bar 1 featuring notes from the F major scale. But, bars 2-4 pay tribute to Monk and his affection for the b5 on dominant 7th chords or the #4 on major chords. In bar 2, the chordal accents are right out of Bb7b5. This moves into a line ascending in 3rds that passes through a B-natural(#4) over Fmaj7. As the line plays itself through the D7 chord, it finally lands on beat 4 on a 2nd of F#-Ab. If you added in a C-natural below that, you'd have the guts of a classic guitar D7b5 chord. Bar 5 simply outlines a G7(9), which is so very consonant when compared to what has come before. Over the C7 chord, you find a rather classic C7#5 arpeggio, and again, this is something that you might see countless times in Charlie Parker solos, and other players of that era, and well beyond. The cadence that follows is nice too, because you are surrounding your target note of A-natural with both Bb and G#, the great difference here is that it's all played in 3rds. In bar 7, over the Fmaj7 chord, there's a lot of space, with only a chordal stab on the and-of-2 with an open voicing, spelling up: D-G-A-F. In bar 8, as the F becomes a real dominant 7th to pull us towards Bbmaj7, the descending line is right out of the F altered dominant scale[F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C#, Eb]. The Jazz feeling is greatly aided by the little phrasing ornament around the b9-#9 on beat 1.
    As the [B] section arrives for Chorus 3, the line that brought us here from letter [A2] comes to rest on F-natural, over the Bbmaj7 chord. Using broad intervallic leaps, we end-up on a high D-natural on our E-string. This time, the approach over the B°7 chord puts to use the various major triad options that are available. For B°7 you have the following options, highlighting the ones that I put to use: [Bb(Bb-D-F), Db(Db-F-Ab), E(E-G#-B), & G(G-B-D]. Over the F major chord in bar 3, wide intervals are again featured. The D7 lines use an Ab triad again, but this time, it's preceded by a touch of chromaticism(Bb-A-Ab-F). Over the 2 bars of G7, I played what is a little tip o' the cap to Chick Corea, as you hear a parallel 7(#9) voicing with the 5th on top landing eventually on a D-natural, but starting on a B-natural. Over the C7 chord, the line is reminiscent of the way some artists have played Monk's [B] melody. In bar 8, over the Db7 chord, the line is right out of Ab Dorian[Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb], and again, the last two notes: Bb-Ab chromatically surround the target note of A-natural on beat 1 of the next and final section for this chorus.
    [A3] of Chorus 3 begins, after the initial cadence, with some chordal voicings that mostly reflect a more modern sensibility than, for example, Monk's characteristic left-hand approach. Here you see mostly voicings involving 4ths. In bar 3, as the single-note lines return, I tend to see this as A minor pentatonic[A, C, D(6th), E(maj7th), G(9th)] over Fmaj7, which produces virtually all of the important extensions, giving any line a more angular quality. The same kind of augmented arpeggio idea now reappears over the D7 chord, but this time, it begins with the #9(F-natural), this gives the eventual F#(3rd) below more weight. In bar 5, over the G7 chord, the line is pure G whole-tone[G, A, B, C#/Db, Eb, F], which, as previously stated, is a staple of Monk's linear vocabulary. In bar 6, over the C7 chord, I view this line configuration in the 1st half of the bar as G Dorian[G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F], but the line takes us to Ab/G#(#5) before we cadence to a G-natural, the 9th of Fmaj7. And, as it was embraced by Ab, its chromatic upper neighbor, we then, in bar 7, find an F#, its chromatic lower neighbor.Steve Khan This is a common linear device in Jazz that keeps lines from sounding so diatonic, or like a bunch of scales. Bar 8 leads us into the last chorus with a couple of very open chord voicings over Fmaj7, spelling up: A-D-G-D. This goes up a 1/2-step in clave, and finally on beat 4 we hear a classic Fmaj7 voicing, spelling up: D-G-C-E. That voicing is really part of a phrase that begins the first 4 bars of the 4th Chorus.

    Chorus 4 begins with a sequence of open-voiced chords that reflect the influence of the piano, and in bars 1 & 2, you can see that, from a guitar perspective, these chords are fingered in exactly the same manner. So, if you viewed these voicings from a minor point-of-view, you would be playing Am7 voicings over Fmaj7, and Fm7 voicings over Bb7. In bar 3, the chords are still open but parallel over the Fmaj7, however, here a brief moment of a montuno appears, ending in bar 4. In hindsight, it was fascinating to me that this very brief moment caused Marc Quiñones to respond with two ferocious crashes. In the end, in any genre of music, everything comes down to instincts. In bars 5-6 over the G7-C7, with a touch of chromaticism the lines are right out of the basic modes. D Dorian[D, E, F, G, A, B, C] over G7, and G Dorian[G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F] over C7. Where G Dorian is concerned, one could view this as simply playing in F major before the F major chord actually arrives in the next bar. The cadence in bar 7, simply goes up an F triad: A-C-F. From beat 4 of bar 7 until the target note of A-natural on the and-of-4 in bar 8, the parallel 3-note chords ascend: F-F#-G#. But, if you spelled those top voices enharmonically: F-Gb-Ab, you can see that the line, in chords, is ascending using notes from the F altered dominant scale.
    The line over Fmaj7 in [A2] again uses A-natural as a central point surrounding that pitch with both chromatic upper and lower neighbors, before descending down what could be viewed as D minor pentatonic[D, F, G, A, C]. The line in bar 2 over the Bb7 chord is purely F minor pentatonic[F, Ab, Bb, C(9th), Eb(4th)] which gives you some great color tones, and a typically angular feel to the line. We land on A-natural in bar 3, as we return to Fmaj7, which is punctuated by the classic voicing in 4ths for a major chord on beat 3, spelling up: A-D(6th)-G(9th). In bar 4, the line configuration over D7(alt.) accentuates the degrees of the b9(Eb), the b5(Ab) and the 3rd(F#) before landing on two chords on beats 2 & 3, right in clave, for G7(13). Over the C7 with the notes Bb and C on top, we find, yet again, those minor 7(sus) structures that could be described as being related to Ebm7(sus) and Fm7(sus), with both adding tension that is resolved on the and-of-4 with a voicing in 4ths: A-D-G-C for Fmaj9/6. Mercifully, a little breath is taken, and then, another classic Jazz phrase over an F7 chord heading to a I major. The line glances over the b9(Gb) as part of the little phrasing ornament on beat 1, and then using the root(F) as a pedal note, the line descends touching upon: Eb(7th)-D(6th)-C#(#5) before cadencing to Bbmaj7 via the note D-natural on beat 1 of the bridge section.
    In bar 1 of [B], a simple Bb triad: D-F-Bb defines the harmony, and as we pass through B°7, this time with some chromaticism applied, you can see that the line centers around a G triad, with the 7th(F) added this time, and an E triad, also with its 7th(D) added in. The high E-natural slides the line right into a resolution on F-natural, and we're back to F major. In bar 4, over the D7(alt.) chord, the line uses both the #5(A#) and the b5(Ab) as points of emphasis, with a simple D augmented triad: F#-D-A# thrown in as part of a triplet figure for good measure. The small chromatic lines that occupy most of bars 5-6 over G7 remind me of something that Don Grolnick used to play a lot, but the key is the chromatic upward movement from A to Bb to B-natural with it all ending up on a Db(b5) below which, in the end, is certainly a Monkish touch. Over the C7 chord in bar 7, the line again, in my way of viewing harmony, is right out of G Dorian[G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F]. In contrast, in bar 8, over the Db7 chord, the line shape, with a touch of chromaticism is derived from the Db dominant 7th pentatonic[Db, Eb, F, Ab, Cb]. The last note, Cb, resolves so nicely to C-natural as the Fmaj7 chord arrives.
    As letter [A3] makes its final appearance, Chorus 4 wraps up. The chordal passages return, and in 3 short bars, the voicings pay a very brief tribute to Wes Montgomery, then McCoy Tyner/Chick Corea, and, of course, Thelonious Monk in bar 3. The hit in bar 4 over the D7 is purely born of my own guitar sensibilities.Rumba Para Monk - Jerry Gonzalez The solo concludes with a final tribute to Monk's composition using phrases in bars 5-6 that most players allude to during the melody statement, but I chose to put them to use as a finishing touch to the solo. The cadence in bar 7-8 is right out of the melody. So, I began and ended in a very Monk-like manner!!!

    When one is speaking about great interpretations of the music of Thelonious Monk, and beyond that great Latin-style interpretations of Monk's music, if you have not ever heard "RUMBA PARA MONK" by Jerry Gonzalez' Fort Apache Band, then you must immediately seek it out and spend some time with it. It goes without saying, I just LOVE this album. I especially love the way they played "Nutty" which is so funky and nasty! I feel fortunate that I had not been listening to this album in a long, long time because I had forgotten that they had interpreted "Bye-ya"! This could have easily intimidated me from re-recording my own Latin-ized version of that tune for "PARTING SHOT," but the two versions are very, very different, from a rhythmic perspective. The Fort Apache version is played as a mozambique and mine was done as a bomba. All this is just to encourage you to have "RUMBA PARA MONK" in your collection, IF you're a really serious Monk fan!!!

    Could I just single-out how great drummer Dennis Chambers played on this particular tune? When you have a rhythm section like Marc Quiñones(timbal), Bobby Allende(conga) and Rubén Rodríguez(baby bass), players who have been a team on some of the most important recordings in contemporary Salsa for decades now, it is not the easiest thing for a drummer to just slip into the slot with them, and have everything not only function well, but swing in the best possible way - a way that only Latin music can swing! Dennis can be whatever one needs him to be, and the virtuoso elements of his playing are never discouraged by me, nor any of us. However, above all, Dennis is a team player, and always seeks to play what is best for the music as a whole. For me, that's what he accomplished here in the best of all possible ways. For my part, seeing the bigger picture, the only thing that I discussed with Dennis and Marc was how I wanted to shape the solo choruses, the entire solo section from the drums. I felt that the best way to do this, and to keep a sense of the piece being propelled forwards, would be that Dennis should only go to his ride cymbal each time we hit letter [B] of the A-A-B-A form. When the solo begins, Marc has already shifted to his mambo bell, and that's a big shift on one level of intensity, and a huge factor to be considered. Then, for each [B] section, the campana, the bongo bell, enters, so it's a nice change if Dennis goes to his cymbal to accentuate the additional sounds and the propulsion provided. One could say that, in doing this, the solo format can have an up-and-down sense to it, dynamically speaking, but for me, given the options, this becomes the best and most musical choice. Having Dennis there with us made all of this incredibly smooth, easy, and very much stress-free. At this stage of life, that is never to be overlooked! Thank you Dennis, for everything that you brought to this tune, and all the others!!! You are beloved by everyone!!!

    I just wanted to take a personal moment here and now to thank everyone who has written me via the CONTACT STEVE and posted such great entries in the GUESTBOOK about "SUBTEXT" and the various tunes within the album. It remains a great privilege to be able to hear from fans near and far giving a sense of immediacy to the impact of the work. As we have now arrived at August, 2014, we certainly hope that everyone is having a wonderful summer and that, wherever you might be that it's not too hot & humid!!!

[Photos: Thelonious Monk
Chick Corea by Mike Manoogian
Steve Khan by Richard Laird]

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