In this episode, I talked about and played a jazz combo song called Elephant’s Feet that I wrote around 1990 and recorded in November and December 2013. It features my saxophone and a jazz piano, bass and drums. I also talked about Disquiet Junto #100 and an upcoming project.
I wrote Elephant’s Feet around 1990 for jazz combo. I wrote Sleepy about six months later. In college I performed it with alto sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums but I recorded it with two alto sax parts and no trumpet. The chord progression is a 32-bar song in an AABA format. I described the form of the song: First time is the “head” or melody. The second and third are the sax solo, the fourth is the piano solo. The fifth has the sax and piano trade solos with the drums, and the sixth is a reprise of the head.
I played the head of Elephant’s Feet so people could hear the melody and chord progression.
The chord progression is the most complicated of anything I’ve used for this podcast. In particular I wanted to talk about ii-V-Is and altered dominant chords.
I talked about what I, ii, iii and so on mean. In the key of C, a ii-V-I is Dmin7, G7, Cmaj7. I learned to play ii-V-Is on piano in every key. Having the bass move in a cycle of fifths (up a fourth or down a fifth) makes it a strong progression.
In Elephant’s Feet, I have Fm9 – Bb9 – Em7 – A7 – Dmin in the A section and I have Gm7 – C7(b9) – Fm9 – Bb13(b9) – Ebmaj9 in the B section.
I also use altered dominant chords. I use a G7(#9), G7(#5,b5), C7(b9). I played them on piano so people can hear how they sound.
I talked about writing the piano parts and recording the sax parts. It was tedious and I took frequent breaks from the song, working on Follow The Advice Of Your Heart, Disquiet Junto pieces, and a piece called Irrational Fantasy that I also had trouble completing.
I then played Elephant’s Feet.
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I had a nice meeting with Mike Ransom from Unable Records and Jason Ruch from 0x1 Sound Studios. I joined their non-profit organization 1776 as a professional member. This is a great network of music professionals that can really benefit all members, for example if an artist needs a saxophone on their song that I can record for them. If you are a music professional definitely look into joining 1776.
I enjoy math/music songs like Michael Blake’s What Pi Sounds Like and What Tau Sounds Like. I’ve been working on my own irrational number song that I will try to use as my next podcast episode. I planned it out and recorded a bunch of parts, and then realized it was a bad plan. I have to start over in the planning and probably record parts over.
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