See Steve's Hand-Written Solo Transcription

Steve Khan's solo on:

"A Shade of Jade"(Joe Henderson)

    Joe Henderson's 1966 album "MODE FOR JOE"(Blue Note), since the moment that I first came home with it, and put it on the turntable, has always been an iconic recording for me. The sound, Joe's playing and writing became a fascination which has lasted to the present. I couldn't get those sounds that he made as his solo began on the title track - at the time, I just didn't understand such things, but it wasn't long thereafter when I completely connected with them. And wished that the guitar could make such sounds. I first recorded Joe's "Caribbean Fire Dance" in 1992 on "HEADLINE" with Anthony Jackson, Manolo Badrena, and Dennis Chambers.
    The opening tune from "MODE FOR JOE" was "A Shade of Jade," another brilliantly unique composition for me. What a sound, what a line-up of players: Lee Morgan(trumpet), Curtis Fuller(trombone), Bobby Hutcherson(vibes), Cedar Walton(piano), Ron Carter(ac. bass) and Joe Chambers(drums) - no relation to Dennis!Mode for Joe - Joe Henderson I had entertained the idea of recording this tune for years, but just wasn't certain as to how I could cover everything either in a guitar trio format, or what has become a guitar trio format plus Latin percussion. But during 2018, I began to believe that I could do it, while integrating, as always, the keyboard harmonies of Clare Fischer, which would, of course, be realized by the great Rob Mounsey.
    In this arrangement, the tune is treated as a son montuno, and it is played in 2:3 clave - and there is the opening for a great story - a rather embarrassing one for me. You see, prior to recording, and even contacting the players, I endeavor to make, hopefully, great sounding demos of the arrangements for each tune. When I feel that they are really close to being ready, I always consult with a couple of key people, and for me, saxophonist/arranger Rafael Greco in Caracas, Venezuela is one of the first! Then, after Rafa and I have sorted out any potential clave problems, I will call Marc Quiñones. and eventually he comes over for an afternoon meeting, and we go through all of the demos - and, if there is a problem, clave or otherwise, I can fix them right there, or shortly thereafter. Now, here's the amazing thing, I thought that I had written this entire arrangement - and I had slaved over it for the longest time - in 3:2 clave. I was certain of it, I had gone to great lengths to make certain that all of the keyboard or guitar montunos were in 3:2. Up until the actual recording, that is what I believed - and my meeting with Marc produced no negative comments from him, and nothing about clave problems. At the session, he did however throw a couple of last minute ideas at me, regarding the percussion and drum solos, which I had mapped-out in the reverse order that you now hear them. But, we survived that, as I just adjusted 'on the fly' and we played. However, I was blissfully ignorant to what had actually happened as the guys were playing. It wasn't until weeks later, as Rob and I were deep into the digital editing phase of the recording, that I was suddenly listening to Marc's cáscara patterns on the timbal, and recognized that they were in 2:3! How the f$%k was that possible?!?!?! I thought that somehow there had been an error made, and the timbal performance had gotten turned around by a bar somewhere. But no, that was what he played. In my state of complete and total panic, I phoned Bobby Allende(conga), because he is easier to reach than Marc - who had since moved to Miami. I asked Bobby about "A Shade of Jade" and the clave, and he didn't really remember - so I had to play him the rough of the track over the phone - he heard about 2-seconds of it, and quickly said: "It's 2:3!" I almost fell over. In part, I was in shock, and in part, I had to laugh at myself. HOW could this have gone on with my being completely unaware that it was happening - being played in 2:3? I felt like a complete moron!
    It was a real slap in the face, my Latin music face! After years and years of study and practice, listening - I was almost willing to believe that I had learned 'something' about this great genre - and here I was, sitting by myself and realizing: "You don't know sh&t f&%k-all about anything!" What could help to make sense of this for me? Well, I told this story to Rafael Greco, and though, over the years, he and I have had many conversations and e-mail exchanges about the 'mysteries' of the clave - at least for non-Latinos - I was hoping to acquire some new wisdom, but, in essence, he told me things that we had shared before. Here's an excerpt, in Spanish, from that recent e-mail:
Querido Estifi:

    No sé como será ese particular caso, no recuerdo el arreglo. La clave depende de muchas cosas, en principio de la "sabrosura," el lugar donde suene más adecuada para los acentos y en especial para la danza. Es algo parecido al "feel" del "swing": ustedes saben bien cuando alguien toca en el jazz con verdadero "swing" porque lo sienten, lo perciben como algo natural, que por cierto, también viene de la danza.
    Hay muchos conocedores que se pierden en la verdad de este asunto. Por un lado están los defensores a ultranza de la escencia y la tradición, y por otro los que se relajan y se dejan llevar por lo que sienten.
    Que la rumba tiene unos códigos y hay que respetarlos?!?!?!? Quién dijo?!?!?
    La pregunta siempre es: ¿Dónde suena más sabroso? Lo más importante es que la clave esté firme en toda la pieza, de principio a fin: si el intro está en 2:3 pero hay un compás extra para que entre en 3:2 en la [A], debido a que la [A] está en 3:2 está bien!!! Si el [I]ntro está en 2:3 y sin preparación entra en la [A] en 3:2 entonces no está bien para la danza... pero los músicos, percusionistas, si saben esto, no deben tocar en ese caso la clave, ni hacer ningún patrón que sugiera la clave... deben tocar corrido, seguido. Así se ha hecho muchísima música latina. Así Venezuela tiene su "feel," Brasil tiene el suyo, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Colombia, y USA, etc., etc.
    Espero todo se solucione con esa pieza.

    Un fuerte abrazo. Te quiero mucho, Rafa

    So, what does one take away from that? Well, many things to be sure. I have never forgotten the vital connection between Latin music and dancing - this is never out of my mind. Long ago, someone that I used to know, when I would send her my 'demos' - she would always dance to them. As the arrangements grew and eventually became an album, all throughout the process, periodically her dancing was a hugely positive sign to me that, what I was doing, was headed in the right direction. I am also always mindful that the melody or melodic material dictates which clave is best for the tune. But, all dancing and melodies aside, it doesn't excuse the fact that I didn't hear/feel, while we were rehearsing, and then recording, that the guys were playing a "A Shade of Jade" in 2:3! After laughing at myself for weeks now, I have picked myself up off of the floor, and I am back at it, undaunted by this folly! And now, let us get back to the topic at hand, shall we?

    Well prior to actually recording anything, I sent a couple of the demos to Randy Brecker, and his response was almost instantaneous in choosing this tune as his tune for the album. Randy's performance and contributions completely changed the shape and concept of what I had originally planned. I had written out the 3 horn parts for flügelhorn, but other than a few horn stabs, I never expected that Randy would actually perform them all.Randy Brecker and Steve Khan - Photo: Richard Laird Once he had done that, my role on guitar was transformed. I had always envisioned that I was going to play all of those clustered voicings on the guitar, suddenly, relative to the melodies, I became more of a linear instrument. It was strange, at this point in time, to see myself that way. On the other hand, the one key component of Latin music that I have just not been able to integrate, nor afford, on this series of recordings is having the presence of a brass section. So, quite by accident, for the first time, we now have one, and, as one might expect, it gives this arrangement a kind of punch that it might not have otherwise possessed. So, for that alone, I am really thrilled. The arrangement also includes another Soli for Randy, Rubén Rodríguez and me, which I labeled as a "Joe Shout" because it was culled from fragments of Joe's original solo on this tune. This kind of device has become an integral part of all the recent recordings. Though the performance of this piece is very long, I absolutely believe that it is worth the commitment of time to come along with us on this musical journey.
    Of course, the journey of a recording is not always filled with such surprises and misunderstandings. Sometimes, often times, great things can happen. For example, as we were sorting things out for "A Shade of Jade," Marc announced that he and Bobby were going to switch to one of my favorite Latin rhythms for the guitar solo section. That rhythm is caballo, and it makes for such a great contrast to what Randy had just soloed over. He got cáscara and mambo bell. But, I would be graced with the cha-cha bell, and the mambo bell for the [D] sections, the bridges. Though "A Shade of Jade" follows a typical song form of A-A-B-A, it is unique in many ways because, the [A] sections are each 12 bars long, but the [B] sections are 16 bars long. So, when the soloist is playing 3 choruses, no wonder this tune clocked-in at over 10-minutes! So now, finally, let's take a look at what happened during this guitar solo.

    As part of my arrangement, there is a 2 bar percussion break plus a 6-bar interlude that reprises the latter portion of letter [A] with Randy's 3 horn voices. As [Chorus 1] begins over Cm7, my opening phrase comes right out of C minor pentatonic [C, Eb, F, G, Bb] which is a surefire linear choice because, one could continue in that area over the coming Dbmaj7(#4) and it would sound great over both. This rather than taking an individualized modal approach for each chord. As there is no accompaniment from a keyboard, bars 3-4 offer chordal punctuations as if I was a pianist adding in my left hand. Here, stylistically speaking, these kinds of voicings are characteristic of my playing, but they are really derived from McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. After telling the earlier story, listening to my chordal punctuations with a crisp accent on the and-of-2 in bar 4, I must have been feeling that 2:3 clave - even if I didn't know what had happened. [It's O.K. to laugh me! I'm laughing at myself!] In bars 5-6, over that Dbmaj7(#4), as I said, I continue to play C minor pentatonic - with nothing more than the change of Rubén's bass note and it fills everything out without an issue. Again, in the construction of my arrangement, I altered Joe Henderson's solo changes to a flow that felt better for me. So now, you have bar 7 as Emaj7(#4) and bar 8 as Dmaj7(#4), before returning to Dbmaj7(#4) for bars 9-12. Over the Emaj7#4, I am playing D# minor pentatonic [D#, F#, G#, A#, C#], which is especially useful and to the point, because it includes the #4(A#). As the Dmaj#4 arrives, I am playing C# minor pentatonic [C#, E, F#, G#, B]. Notice how each phrase began on the and-of-4. Over the Dbmaj7#4 chord in bars 9-12, I come very close to playing Db Lydian [Db, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C] with some chromaticism, but in truth, it still feels like C minor pentatonic to me. Again, with maj7#4 chords, if you play the minor pentatonic built upon the major 7th, you get all of the color tones, plus the #4.
    As [C2] begins, even though there is a D-natural(9th) in the line, I still feel that this is from C minor pentatonic. In bars 3-4, we have the first appearance of my Korg DVP-1 harmonizer using Sound #48 which harmonizes my top voice by adding below: m3rd [-3], p4th [-5] and a p5th [-7] and an octave [-12] as I play a brief quote from Joe Henderson's "Caribbean Fire Dance," which Dennis and I have played together many, many times. I knew that this would make him smile broadly. In bars 5-6 over Dbmaj7#4, I am playing 3-note chordal punctuations that, though parallel, still come from Db Lydian. This time, in bar 7 over the Emaj7#4 chord, I am playing G# minor pentatonic [G#, B, C#, D#, F#] and as the Dmaj7#4 chord arrives, I slide into C# minor pentatonic. In bars 9-12 over the Dbmaj7#4, I begin with C minor pentatonic, but then I shift to two major triads F major (F-C-A) which gives me Dbmaj7#5 and then Eb major (G-Eb-Bb) which gives me Dbmaj6/9(#4). As always, because I am in control of the harmony via my lines and/or chords, I can introduce these types of sonorities whenever I hear them - and that is the beauty of playing without accompaniment.
    As Joe's beautiful bridge [D] arrives, we are treated to Rob Mounsey's beautiful orchestral colors, Marc goes to his mambo bell, Dennis goes to his ride cymbal, and the campana enters. Over the Gbmaj9/6, you hear me playing F minor pentatonic [F, Ab, Bb, C, Eb]. As the F7(13b9), often a wonderful chord color, but a bit unusual when traveling to a im7 chord, in this case Bbm7. Unusual because you have a D-natural in the F7 chord and you are headed to a Db. But, this is the chordal sonority as presented and over it, I am playing the F 1/2-tone/whole-tone diminished scale [F, Gb, Ab, A, B, C#, D, Eb]. As I land on the Bbm7 chord in bar 5, in bar 6 I play a brief quote from another Joe Henderson tune, "Isotope." In bars 7-8, we are presented with Gm7b5-C7(alt.) which you might expect to be headed to Fm7. But no! We are going to be headed to Fmaj7(9). So, over the Gm7b5, I am playing Bb Dorian [Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab] with some chromaticism. In this case, over the C7(alt.) chord, I am playing the C 1/2-tone/whole-tone diminished scale [C, Db, Eb, E, Gb, G, A, Bb] to resolve to Fmaj7(9) and playing from A minor pentatonic [A,C, D, E, G]. In bar 10, I reprise the rhythms of the "Isotope" quote. This continues thematically through bars 11-12 over Bbm7. Over the Gbmaj7 in bar 13, I am essentially playing G Ionian/Major but avoiding Cb or C-natural. [Gb, Ab, Bb, (Cb), Db, Eb, F]. Finally in bars 15-16, we have a iim7b5-V7[Dm7b5-G7(alt.)] headed back to Cm7. Over the Dm7b5, I am playing F Dorian [F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb]. The line that I played in bar 16 over the G7(alt.) chord actually has a strange note in it, a Gb/F#(maj7) over a dominant 7th chord. The line sounds good to me - perhaps if there had been a keyboard playing a chord with an F-natural in it, the line might not have sounded this well? But, there are times when you can get away with something like this because, in the end, you are headed to a very consonant note of G-natural over Cm7.
    As [C3] arrives, the percussive intensity stays at the same level. The opening line is again harmonized by my Korg DVP-1 using Sound #41 by adding below: m3rd [-3], p4th [-5], and a b7 [-10], and even though I usually hear a D-natural over this kind of Cm7 chord, here I used a Db in bar 2 as a chromatic upper neighbor to C-natural(Root). The line finishes in bar 4 with an expressive F-natural with vibrato. In bars 5-6, over the Dbmaj7#4, C minor pentatonic is on call. But, when go to the Emaj7#4 chord, or more accurately, there is an E in the bass, I am playing very chromatically and the presence of an A-natural indicates to me that I was hearing E major [E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#] more than E Lydian.Marc-Bobby-Dennis Photos by Richard Laird However, in bar 8, over the Dmaj7#4, that line is clearly right out of C# minor pentatonic. As this first chorus closes out from bars 13-16 over Dbmaj7#4, I am again employing two of my favorite triad superimpositions: Eb major(bar 13) and Fmajor(bar15) with the line coming to a close on an expressive G-natural(#4) with vibrato.

    [Chorus 2] begins with a forceful hammer-on to my high C-natural with vibrato, and this followed in bars 3-4 by a descending line using G minor pentatonic [G, Bb, C, D, F]. What is the difference between G and C minor pentatonic? One has a D-natural and the other offers an Eb. But, the difference in having or not have one of those notes can be huge. It always depends upon what YOU hear. As the Dbmaj7#4 arrives in bar 5-6, the line has changed to C minor pentatonic. This time over bars 7-8, Emaj7 to Dmaj7#4 I do something that I always remember from my earliest days of learning to improvise and that is that, when you have a chord progression moving from one maj7 chord to another down a whole-step, you can continue to play in the scale of the 1st chord over the 2nd chord - and it will usually sound good. So, over Emaj7 (remember that there is basically just an E coming from the bass) I play an E major scale again, notice the presence of A-natural. And when the Dmaj7#4 arrives, I am essentially playing a blues lick in E major, except that it is now going over Dmaj7#4. Notice how the line starts on G#(#4). All of this, as it is with all things when you're playing, it just depends upon what you hear - and that YOU believe it yourself! In the first part of the 4-bars over Dbmaj7#4, I am really playing C minor pentatonic, with the inclusion of a scale tone/modal tone of Ab. You have to pay attention to the little phrasing mannerism on beat 3, the inclusion of these elements in one's playing is essential to speaking the linear language of this idiom. In bars 11-12, with my line, using a C major triad (E-G-C-E), I am implying a C/Db sonority briefly which, to me, always has to resolved inwards to Db major, and quickly goes back into a chromatic version of C minor pentatonic.
    The DVP-1 harmonizer is back as [C2] arrives using Sound #44 harmonizing my top voice by adding only two notes below: p4th [-5] and a p5th [-7] as the melodic voice plays trumpet section-like phrases that are somewhere between C-blues and C minor pentatonic. The blue note of Gb is especially telling. In bars 5-6 over Dbmaj7#4, the inclusion of an Ab (as an upper neighbor) does not alter that I am still using in C minor pentatonic. But this time, over Emaj9 to Dmaj9, I respond to the lines by playing 3-note clustered voicings that I like a lot. When I arrive at bar 9-10 and the Dbmaj9 chord, I used the same voicing, but I orchestrated that moment by playing the same chord with my Strat and Ernie Ball volume pedal and using the tremolo arm (the soul stick as some have called it) to color the moment. I remember once taking a chance and trying to do something like this on some Steely Dan song, and Walter Becker, after hearing it, said to me with a stern look of disapproval: "Oh Steve, that's so juvenile!" But that was then, and this is now! This section closes out with another favorite color of mine of this sonority that is using my open G-string with F on the D-string and C on the B-string. When played this way, always with my fingers of the right hand, it has a special sound to it that is in keeping the mysterious quality of these harmonies.
    It is important to note that I anticipated the arrival of the 2nd [D] section by playing an F major triad (C-F-A) as the prior section was ending. Remember how I used the sound of C/Db to make a linear resolution to Dbmaj7, here I am doing the same thing by indicating F/Gb which resolves nicely on beat 1 of the new section. Then the line moves through F minor pentatonic, the F triad returns on beats 3-4 and the line concludes by using Bb minor pentatonic [Bb, Db, Eb, F, Ab) with the inclusion of Gb(R) as a passing scale tone. The lines over the F7(13b9) chord are probably the most angular and disjointed that I played during this particular solo and they represent my personal quest to get away from the kind of up the scale/down the scale playing that we all often begin with. It begins with a D major triad and then an angular fragment from a 13b9 idea (D-Eb-B) and finally some very consonant chord tone from F7 (A-Eb-C-F). It's remarkable how far out something like the final 4 notes can sound after the wildness of the previous bar - even though those same 4-notes are so inside! It's just how your frame things. As we resolve to Bbm7 in bars 5-6, the line becomes much more blues-based. However, when the iim7b5-V arrives, over the Gm7b5, the first thing that you see/hear are notes from Bb minor, a simple triad as a line: F(7th)-Bb(m3rd)-Db(b5). Over the C7(alt.) chord, you have the pivotal tone of E-natural surrounded by both of its chromatic upper and lower neighbors before the line descends as if you were headed to Fm7 (notice the Ab), but no - you arrive on an E-natural in bar 9 over the Fmaj7 chord. That phrase continues with notes from A minor pentatonic. Then, quite simply, over Bbm7, I am just playing Bb minor pentatonic. As Gbmaj7 arrives in bar 13, there's a soulful bent note high Db with vibrato. In our final 2 bars with Dm7b5 to G7(alt.), if you only look at the line and see those E-naturals, knowing that we headed back to Cm7, you might question what are they doing there? But, when you hear them and realize that they just chromatic upper neighbors to the important note of Eb, it should make sense.
    Landing right on the C, the root for Cm7 as [C3] arrives leads me into another blues-oriented phrase, notice the Gb blue note in bar 1. In bars 3-4, even with the vibrato on F-natural, we are back to C minor pentatonic. This continues over Dbmaj7#4 as I am sitting hard on all of the quarter-notes. This phrase is answered in bars 7-8 with a chordal passage that puts to use the sound of F#/E resolving to Emaj9(6) to Emaj7(6) and finally to Dmaj7(#11) and Dmaj6/9. As bar 9 arrives bringing with it Dbmaj7#4, the top voice ascends from B-natural to C-natural for the chordal sound. And finally, in bar 10, you have C/Db resolving back to Dbmaj7#4. What can I say? I love this kind of harmony on the guitar - especially in the middle of these great rhythms. In bars 11-12, the line returns to C minor pentatonic.

    [Chorus 3] comes in strong with the return of DVP-1 and one my favorite sonorities, Sound #42, which harmonizes below my melody notes with: m3rd [-3], p4th [-5], and a m6th [-8]. There are some interesting note choices over the course of bars 1-4, with a Db in bar 1 and then a blue note Gb in bar 2. Bar 3 is more consonant and sounds like C minor pentatonic, but the phrases ends with two notes that are a bit sideways to either C Dorian or C minor pentatonic, and those notes are: Gb to Ab. At bar 5 over Dbmaj7#4 some normalcy returns with a bent note up to a high Eb with vibrato followed by bars 6-8 - all the notes are within C minor pentatonic.
    [C2] presents a nice chordal passage where all of the voicings sit on the half-notes, I especially like that last three voicings in bars 3-4, as you have some really nice inner-voice movement as the top voice moves Eb-Eb(D#)-F and inside goes from F-Bb to F#-B-natural to G-C. Though this is common to any number of players, I always associate this with organist Larry Young. Once again, in bars 5-6 over the Dbmaj7#4 chord, with my line, I am inserting a C-triad (C-E-G) before the line becomes C minor pentatonic and that E-natural has moved up to F-natural. In bars 7-8, first over Emaj7#4,Rob Mounsey - Sear Sound 2019 - Photo by Richard Laird I move to a C# major triad keeping G# on top and that top voice stays for the first chord over Dmaj7#4. It should be noted that here we have the entrance of the little background horn parts that I wrote for Randy Brecker and that he played so perfectly. The section closes with 4 bars of Dbmaj7#4 with bar 9 being clearly C minor pentatonic. The phrase in bars 10-11 stays in this area but with a nice touch of chromaticism as Gb and Ab as upper and lower neighbors surround the more consonant G-natural(#4). Though it's a small detail, I really love the sound of my low C-natural on my low E-string - this is a credit to the great engineering of James Farber! Those Marshall speakers of mine can really withstand a lot!
    As the final [D] section appears, Rob's orchestration become more dense and lush adding to the joy of playing over these harmonies. In bars 1-2, over the Gbmaj7(9), I am using Bb minor pentatonic which is, without question, my favorite pentatonic choice for this kind of chord. When F7(13b9) appears for bars 3-4, yes we are back in the diminished scale zone and this time, albeit briefly, I begin with a sequential motif where you have a tone(B-natural) and you then go down a 4th and up a m3rd, then you take that kernel and move it down a m3rd to Ab and to the same thing: down a 4th, up a m3rd. After those two angular phrases, coming down an F triad sounds refreshing but hardly ordinary. In bars 5-6, over Bbm7, here I am using F minor pentatonic which over a minor chord, I really like. In other words, the minor pentatonic building upon the 5th of the chord. In bars 7-8 the Gm7b5-C7(alt.) reappears and here, I play a fragment of Bb minor pentatonic - and then, over the C7(alt.) chord I play Eb minor pentatonic [Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Db] which, in this case, gives all 4 of the alterations: #9, b5, #5, and b9. This plus the angular nature of the pentatonic lines that it produces. Over Fmaj7 in bars 9-10, I am basically playing from A minor pentatonic with a good deal of chromaticism. Then, I really only have to go up 1/2-step to Bb minor pentatonic over Bbm7, but I conclude this phrase by playing F minor pentatonic over that same chord. Over Gbmaj7, what I played feels very pentatonic but the inclusion of the root(Gb) in bar 13 would normally never be there. In bar 14, using F minor pentatonic, the Lydian sound becomes more clear with the addition of C-natural(#4). Over the last iim7b5-V7, Dm7b5 to G7(alt.), I am simply ignoring the iim7b5 chord and playing immediately from G altered dominant scale [G, Ab, Bb, B, Db, Eb, F] to get me back to Cm7. Notice the triplet slur on beat 3 of bar 15 - another important phrasing mannerism.
    From the line that ends the previous section, I cadence to a chordal fragment that you could see as C minor(maj7) as the notes are G-B-Eb. For phrasing, notice how it ends with two 8th-notes played long-short! With that, [C3] has begun. From there over bars 2-4 I am back with the DVP-1 and this time, I am using Sound #46 which harmonizes below my melody notes with: p4th [-5], b7th [-10], and an octave [-12], but all of the melodic notes are from C minor pentatonic. With the arrival of Dbmaj7#4 in bars 5-6, I played four triads over Db: Db major-Eb major-F major-Eb major. Over the bars with Emaj7#4 to Dmaj7#4, I play two 3-note sequences that pass from G# minor pentatonic to F# minor pentatonic [F#, A, B, C#, E]. Over the Dbmaj7#4, I am again playing somewhere between C minor blues and C minor pentatonic, the key note being that Gb. The opening notes in bar 9, I am using two G-naturals with an alternate fingering on the B & G-strings. This is a very saxophonistic device.Joe Henderson - Francis Wolff The final phrases of the solo, I catch Randy's background horn figures and then, play the last ensemble figure in octaves. This leads us into another stellar percussion break which drives us to the aforementioned, "Joe Shout"!

    As I have been saying, out of the solo there another ingenious percussion break, and I can't recall whether Marc or Bobby created it - or both of them. But, what I do know is that, these are the kinds of details that give an arrangement like this its sabor! Without this kind of creativity, it would be like cooking a meal and using no spices or pepper. The Soli is 24 bars in length and as it is with all of these section on the recent albums, I have assembled them after transcribing bits and piece, fragments of the artist's original solo. So this becomes my reorganization of what Joe Henderson played at various points during his solo. It doesn't really matter whether or not they came from a certain section, or were over certain chords or chord changes. If I have done my job well as an arranger - it will all work because Rubén's bass is part of the ensemble with Randy and me - and Rob's chord voicings/stabs sound out on their own - completely independent of a defining bass note. For those of you who are interested in this kind of keyboard harmony, if you go to Pg. 4 and view the Soli, or scroll down further and just follow along with the keyboard part. Either way, you might find it fascinating. On my original demo, I played everything into the computer with the help of slowing things down, etc. - fixing bad performances, etc.!!! So, I knew that it was sounding pretty good and swingin'!!! However, when it was finally time to actually start to see how these same things laid on the guitar - at times this became terrifying. I was worried that I might not even be able to play the very things that I had written. That's the truth. But, after some weeks of constant practicing, I started to gain some confidence - and in the end, I could do it. Everyone played their parts so great and now, it's wonderful to listen to it go by!!!

    If you would allow me, I would love to share a Randy Brecker 'road story' from the mid-'70s when we were on the road as The Brecker Bros. Band, somewhere in middle America - the 'real' America - and we were frantically trying to catch our plane to somewhere else. As it always was, Don Grolnick insisted on driving one of the two rent-a-cars, as he thought that he was the ONLY safe driver amongst us. Make of that what you will. Anyway, this time Randy was at the wheel of the other car. As we approached the airport, there were, of course, the usual two signs: "Arriving Flights" and "Departing Flights"! Well, for some reason, Randy was in the lead car, and, for some reason, he turns off towards Arriving Flights! Oh my God, if you all could have seen and heard Don Grolnick at that moment. He was screaming and yelling: "No, No, NOoooooo!!!!!" - while pounding, with all of his might on the steering wheel. It was just hysterical - of course, not so funny because we, as a band, were almost always cutting things way too close to missing our flights. It was insane. Anyway, Don, in a state of absolute rage, and honking his horn all the way, chases Randy's car down, and they roll down the windows and Don begins to yell at Randy, basically saying: "What the f&%k are you doing?!?!?! We are catching a flight that is departing!!!" And, non-plussed by all of this, Randy looked at him calmly, and then said these now famous words:

"Well, you've got to arrive before you can depart!"

To which Don probably rolled his eyes, shook his head, stared into the heavens, and might have mumbled something like this: "Surrounded by idiots, surrounded by incompetence - everywhere I turn, I am surrounded by idiots and incompetence!"

    What can I possibly add to that? I tell this story, because when you have spent years traveling with someone, even if it was a long time ago, there becomes a collection of memories that are stamped in your mind forever. Most of these memories are amazingly fond ones. And little anecdotes like this one serve to inform the warmth that exists between all of us who were a part of that band. Of course, the great thing is that each person carries with them completely different memories of things. Sometimes, I have to cringe when I hear the stories of things that I had done - things that I have forgotten - or chosen to forget. [Like the night, @ My Father's Place on Long Island, NY, when I played an entire set of music with my back turned towards the audience, because I was pissed-off about something - and behaved like a stupid and spoiled child!!!] Ouch!!! So, I say all of this with only great love and affection for Randy.


[Photos in Collage: Randy Brecker and Steve @ Sear Sound - Photos by: Richard Laird
Collage: Marc Quiñones-Bobby Allende-Dennis Chambers @ Sear Sound by Richard Laird
Rob Mounsey Portrait @ Sear Sound by Richard Laird
Joe Henderson @ Rudy Van Gelder's - Photo by: Francis Wolff]

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