See Steve's Hand-Written Transcription
Jim Hall's Guitar Solo on:
"EMBARCADERO"(Paul Desmond)

Recorded in June of 1963, and appearing on Paul Desmond's "TAKE TEN"(RCA) LP, Jim Hall's 2-chorus solo on the Desmond composed bossa nova, "Embarcadero" stands as a model improvisation for its development of ideas, its flow, and great thoughtfulness. Qualities which are so typical of virtually all Jim Hall solos.
TAKE TEN      The composition, like so many in the jazz and American popular song tradition, utilizes the 32-bar A-A-B-A form. The harmonic movement during each [A] takes the player through a series of ii-Vs which, to my mind, have a beautiful logic. [B] takes the player through a cycle of dominant 7th chords whose movements make perfect sense. They are almost like the chordal movement found in the bridge of any "rhythm changes" tune. Here, the last two bars break away from that notion.
     I previously mentioned development as it applies to Jim Hall's improvising. This quality is something for all of us to aspire to, and the "Embarcadero" solo supplies us with countless examples. In [A] of chorus [1], he begins with a series of 2-bar phrases which mirror each other, notice how similar bars 2 and 4 are rhythmically, especially on beats 3 and 4. As he plays through bars 5-8, the phrases in bars 6 and 8 slightly change, and this is where development comes into play. Then, the last little phrase he plays in bar 8 of [A] becomes the initial idea in bar 1 of [A2]. As this 8-bar section develops, you can see that during each two bar phrase, there's always at least one descending arpeggiated line. Notice this in bars: 9, 12, 13, and 15.
     As the solo moves into [B] another rhythmic motif enters. In the first bar of this section(bar 17), you see a grouping consisting of an 8th-note, quarter note, 8th note which reappears every other bar. As Jim moves into [A3] of chorus [1], it is preceded by a very typical "jazz" ornament, which I usually associate with trumpet players, and appears on beat 1 of bar 24. It consists of a 16th-note triplet to an 8th note on the 2nd-half of the beat. This little mannerism then appears again in bars 27, 29, and 30.
     Chorus [2] sees Hall putting to use a broken chord style passage which lends itself to easy development in areas of the pitches, and their rhythms. Each series of notes is actually the chord voicing minus the root. [A2] of this chorus is almost exactly like [A1], but of course, just slightly different. Again, development!
     As [B] begins, he introduces a new melodic and rhythmic idea. The idea revolves around the interval of a 7th. In the first two bars, 49-50, you see a leap from an 'F'to a high 'E.' Then, in the 3rd and 4th bars of this section you see a leap from a Bb to a high 'A.'This is followed in the 5th and 6th bars by a similar leap from an Eb to a high 'D.' And finally, there's the expected leap from a 'C' to a high 'B.' Hall then uses that same high 'B' to punctuate the ending of this 8-bar section with a Cmaj7(#5) voicing, but when it's played over a 'D,' it's really functioning as D7/9(13b5). When you see it, the intuitive logic for these eight bars speaks for itself. When you hear it, it all makes perfect sense.
     The solo concludes with a chordal improvisation which actually began in that last bar of [B]. Again, there's a new idea to be developed. But first he plays sequence of simple triads in the key of Db. Ab/Db, Gb/Db, and Fm/Db, which carry him towards the next motif. If you study bars 57-58 in [A3] of this chorus, you can see that Hall is accentuating a chord voicing for the internal part of Dm7(an 'F' major triad), then adding the ninth(an 'E') above it. This is followed when the inner voices move down to the guts of G7(13b9)(essentially an 'E' major triad), with the same high 'E' added later. As the ii-V moves down to the key of Bb, so does this motif, with the top note becoming a high 'D.' As the solo winds down, the top note moves down as well, finally coming to an 'A' on top of the Em7(9sus) and the A7(13) cadencing to a Dmaj7(#4) with the G# on top. It's all beautifully done.
     Much of what I have said here covers ground originally written about during the analysis of Jim Hall's solo on "Poor Butterfly" which was recorded around the same time but didn't appear on an LP until much later. It bears repeating however that Jim Hall and Paul Desmond were perfectly suited to making music together. Both were spectacularly concise and always melodic improvisers, with Desmond's very diatonic style existing as a great counterpart to Hall's slightly more chromatic leanings. In all cases, there remains a great sensibility and sensitivity to everything they played. If you make the effort to find these recordings in CD format, you will really enjoy hearing the collective improvisation by these two masters over the first two [A] sections which follow Hall's solo and before Paul Desmond restates the final [B] and [A3]. It stands as a beautiful example of music making, give and take. Each player remains an individual without ever overshadowing the other.
     I will hope that you've enjoyed the chance to take a deeper look at this wonderful musician. This solo transcription has been laying around in my files since my college years and remains a favorite. One which I always share with students as model for melodic improvising. I would have to assume that the title of the tune was inspired by the great city of San Francisco, for years the home of my dear sister.
     This is our 2001 Holiday "gift" to all the loyal readers of KHAN'S KORNER. As a citizen of the United States, as a citizen of the World, more than ever, it is my hope that somehow, some way, an enduring understanding and acceptance of those things which make us all unique, and a true and just peace can be achieved in our lifetime. At the very least, peace for those we must leave behind. Wishing you all a very Happy, Safe and Healthy Holiday Season and for us all, PEACE IN 2002 and for all times.