Archive for Buddy DeFranco

Billie’s Bounce

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , , on July 28, 2011 by telescoper

I thought I’d put this up because I’ve just found it and I think it’s great. It’s an interesting facet of jazz history that the clarinet, a mainstay of jazz styles from the New Orleans roots through to the Swing Era, fell into disfavour in the post-war era with the advent of bebop when it was largely replaced by the saxophone. Very few musicians persisted with the clarinet into the era of modern jazz, but this is one that did. It’s the superb Buddy DeFranco, one of the most technically accomplished clarinettists in all of jazz – few have ever been able to match his control in the upper register. The tune they’re playing is a Charlie Parker composition called Billie’s Bounce, another tune based on the standard 12-bar blues sequence (in F) but with some alterations. As far as my chord book says, it basically goes like this:

| F7| F7 | B♭7| F7|| B♭7| B♭7|F7| F7| G7| C7| F7| C7|

while the standard blues progression in F would go like

| F7| F7| F7 |F7 | B♭7| B♭7| F7| F 7| C7| B♭7| F7| F7|

It’s a Charlie Parker trademark to have a “turnaround” at the end, with the dominant chord C7 instead of the tonic F and, as you’ll hear, these changes produce quite a different feel to the standard blues sequence.

Anyway, one thing I particularly love about this performance is the perfunctory instruction given by Buddy DeFranco at the start: “Play the Blues in F for a while”. That’s all they needed to send them on their way.


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