Steve Khan's Some Sharks Lead Sheet


See Steve's Hand-Written Lead Sheet

Steve Khan's Lead sheet:
"Some Sharks"(Khan, Jackson, Jordan, Badrena)

    As I have previously stated, the song "Casa Loco" opened a huge door for Eyewitness as a group. We never lost nor abandoned the improvisational nature of the music, but the addition Manolo Badrena's lyrics and vocals expanded the world of "the possible" where song form was concerned. This was the direction in which the group was headed had we been able to continue with the original four members, including the brilliant and very special, Steve Jordan on drums. When we recorded the "CASA LOCO" LP/CD, three of the six tunes featured Manolo's voice and lyrics as an integral part of the group's direction. When we began to compose what later became "Some Sharks," it did not take long for me to realize that the guitar's role was not melodic enough to carry the entire piece. And so, I sang some melodies I heard to Manolo, and asked him to write some lyrics in Spanish.CASA LOCO For the longest time, the piece had no title, and I suppose if I had made the effort, at that time to learn and understand more about Spanish, I now believe that I might have titled the tune something like: "Nuestra Onda." But, perhaps it is a little late for that?
    As I sit here today, I really can't recall just how this piece developed. I don't know whether I had letter [I] first, or if [A] had already been thought out. But, this data is rather trivial for, without question, the [I] section(s) stand out as one of the great moments in the recorded history of this group. The rhythmic concepts of Steve Jordan and Anthony Jackson have delighted and mystified other bass/drum tandems for decades now. And, of course, I am the one left to field all the questions. So, let's begin by taking a look at Steve Jordan's concepts during [I], [I2], and [I3]. As the piece begins, it is just the my Strat with Steve playing 8th-notes on his hi-hat and at the end of bars 2, 4, 6, and 8, a 16th-note pick-up into the next bar. This continues until Anthony's entrance at bar 4 of [I2]. This detail alone was the subject of much discussion, as I wanted A.J. to come in considerably earlier. Once again, I was voted down, and learned from it! As [I2] begins, Steve adds in his Simmons bass drum, playing on the and-of-one and the and-of-three in each bar, and this continues throughout this section. When [I3] begins, everything breaks totally wild, as Steve goes to what he used to refer to as his "Ringo cymbal"[which I believe was a paper-thin Paiste crash-ride around 16"], and bashes the livin' crap out of it. While this is going on, he continues to play his bass drum on the and-of-one, and adds in an 8th-note on the and-of-three, with a quarter-note hit on beat 4. In addition to this, he plays his snare drum on the and-of-two, and on the and-of-four. The strength of how he places these parts makes the entire section sound as if it has suddenly become backwards. And yet, it is not. As you can see from the lead sheet, everything is in 4/4. I don't know what more to say other than that Steve's contributions were totally unique, inspired and brilliant.
    The [A], from the guitar perspective, always makes me thing of two things: [1] What it might be like if McCoy Tyner played "The Girl from Ipanema" in minor and with a real bad attitude! and, [2] Nat Adderley's tune "The Jive Samba" which he recorded with his brother "Cannonball" Adderley on the "JAZZ WORKSHOP REVISITED"(Capitol) CD, originally recorded for Riverside Records in 1962. I have never forgotten this tune, not so much because of the tune itself but for Cannonball's 'rap' which introduces the tune. When I was younger, I used to have it all memorized, as I tried to capture the tone and the inflections of 'Cannon.' Of course, those are my associations, and I don't think that Anthony, Steve, nor Manolo were relating to it in that way.Eyewitness in Japan Not at all!!!
    In sharing this newly revised lead sheet with everyone, I made a more conscientious effort to transcribe some of Anthony's lines more accurately. And how he conceives of this section is truly remarkable for being uniquely Anthony Jackson!!! I remember sitting with A.J. when I was attempting to put together accurate lead sheets for a proposed "Songbook" and we would arrive at a moment, after he suggested a few linear ideas and he would say to me, "From this point on, just tell them to: 'continue à la Jamerson.'" Well, this was not what I was hoping for, but, from Anthony's perspective, he just humbly places his concept at the feet of the great Motown bassist, James Jamerson. Of course, for the most part, we are speaking of the rhythmic placement of the notes, not so much the notes themselves. I don't imagine that Mr. Jamerson would have ever played some of these pitches over a Cm7 chord. For example, when you study the first time through letter [A], you will see that Anthony does not even play a 'C' until the 3rd beat of bar 5. Think about that for awhile. It should also be noted that for much of this tune Anthony is employing his signature pick & flanger sound and attack!

Esta es una nueva onda
la que traigo para ti
para que goces todo el día

En la calle o en tu casa
en el aire o en la tierra
donde quiera que te encuentres

No tienes que comprender
solo dejarte ir
dejar que el tiempo pase

Ee-yay ee-yo
Ee-yay ee-yo
Ee-yay ee-yo

    With the arrival of [B], we finally hear Manolo's voice and we all bow respectfully to the work of the rock supergroup, The Police. When it was unclear what we would do, melodically speaking with this section, I stepped forward and wrote the vocalese and we stayed with it, no matter how obvious the influence. Once again, Anthony's approach this section and its driving quarter-note feel is spectacular. When I look at the staccato rhythms of the first two quarter-notes of bars 1, 3, 5, and 7, I can almost see the faces he makes when playing this particular rhythm. I am simply left with unforgettable memories of all our times making music together. This section probably bears the influence of James Jamerson more than any of the others. For those of you who are huge fans of Anthony, I simply encourage you to study the other repeats of these [B] sections.
    Apart from the [I] sections, letter [C] becomes the first real instrumental melodic section of the piece, and it features the Strat and its tremolo arm. For this section, I actually gave Anthony the idea for the bass part, which was derived from something simple that a guitar accompaniment might include. So, as he had all the unique properties of his 6-string contrabass guitar, why not use them? After this section has been played, we D.S. back to [B] and take the Coda which brings us to another contrasting instrumental section, letter [D]. This is an ascending sequence of chords, rising to a V7(alt.), with the b5 in the bass. And this brings us to an abbreviated statement of [I4], incorporating the best of when it had been repeated three times. One of the best things about working in a group with Steve Jordan is that he has excellent instincts about form. Our discussions about were to the piece should go and how many repeats any section should have always wore the signs of Steve's input.Steve Jordan MODERN DRUMMER
    Finally, we arrive at [E] and the solo section. Up until the day of the recording, I felt great about this section and what was likely to unfold when the 'red light' finally went on. However, Anthony had a surprise for me. And suddenly, when this section arrived he unleashed flurried of activity, chordal passages, everything. I didn't even know what to play. I remember saying to myself, "Well, just get through this take, and we'll try another one, because he'll never do the same thing again." Well, I was so very wrong. I politely asked everyone if we could do another take, and sure enough, something similar occurred. I knew that I was in real serious trouble now! I believe we even did a 3rd take, and this is the one that appears on the recording. On this take, I tried to "outwit" Anthony by letting the first part of the solo section just go by, listening to his approach and then, trying to sneak into the section. In a way, it worked, and yet, in another way, it was just a survival instinct more than anything else. I remember feeling awful about all this, but Anthony was thrilled, and he asked what it was that I had been unhappy about, but I couldn't really explain it to him. The truth is that I just didn't know how to "make music" with this particular concept he had. It is not a good nor a bad thing, just something that happens, and one just has to 'go with the flow.'
    After giving the 'cue' to move out of the solo section, we take the D.S. again and return to [B]. Once again, on the repeat, we take the Coda and repeat [D]. Once that has been completed, we are sent back via a D.D.S. to [A], and a reprise of our main melody, with the direction to take the Double Coda. After the 2nd Ending, we are sent to [I5] and a [Tag] ending. I recall that, during our rehearsals/jams, it took us quite awhile to come-up with the proper harmonic movement for an ending. But it was truly worth it as Anthony and Steve brought us to a rhythmic climax as well. That "Ringo cymbal" of Steve's almost becomes pure 'white noise' once he's been smashing it for a couple of bars. It is such a great sound, but then, all his sounds are carefully chosen and equally great.
    Over the many years that have passed since 1981, I have been asked about the sound that I used on this tune, and the "CASA LOCO" album in general. The fundamental guiding principle for me, after the Columbia years(1977-1979) was to go back to a more pure and simple guitar sound. In essence, that was to be a Gibson ES-335 guitar played direct into an amp, and with a little reverb for treatment. Of course, as the music developed from 1981 forward, I had to be more flexible about that, and a Fender Stratocaster appeared on tunes like this one. As the music for this particular album evolved, it just seemed that certain sections needed a little something extra, and so, on this album, that sound was produced with the help of the Ibanez Chorus(CS9). This particular pedal was a bit noisy sounding, not ideal for a high-quality audio recording, but it was in stereo, and was played through two Roland JC-120s. From 1990 to the present, the major sonic difference is that then I had graduated to what became my true voice, where effects are concerned, the Ibanez Digital Chorus/Flanger(DCF-10) which I written about extensively at the EQUIPMENT page here.
    I can't emphasize it enough, Eyewitness was for me, without a doubt, the most important group that I had ever been a part of, and I will always be extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in a relatively short period of time. It has been particularly gratifying to share the lead sheets with everyone, as well as the many anecdotes. At least the ones which are acceptable for publication. There are many which are simply not suitable for print!!! Sorry about that. "Some Sharks" remains as a grand part of the lore created by Anthony Jackson and Steve Jordan, which will remain as some of the greatest bass and drum hook-ups of any time. I feel most fortunate that I was able to play some small role in creating a context for this kind of expression and growth.

[Photo of: Eyewitness laughing in Japan '82 by Tatsuhiko Tanaka
Steve Jordan on the October 2005 cover of MODERN DRUMMER by Kate Simon]

KORNER 1     |     KORNER 2     |      HOME