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#1322571 - 12/10/09 10:59 AM Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Lancashire, UK
HI Guys,

Just wondering if any of you have played this song and whether you have any general tips or specific fingerings in the unison sections, i.e. where the LH and RH are playing the same part? I'll want to start it slow for obvious reasons!

My favourite version is the RTF 1972 Light as a Feather version, I nearly can play Childrens Song 1 which I find is good for independence.

I can't get enough of Chick, his lines along with Keith Jarrett are the pinnacle for me!

Thanks


Edited by flat13sharp11 (12/10/09 02:53 PM)
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#1322985 - 12/10/09 09:40 PM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: flat13sharp11]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Flat, I am in a Chick Corea study now and working through his Now he Sings, Now He Sobs CD tunes, Pannonica written by T Monk, Windows, the Matrix solo, My One And Only Love, plus Litha featuring Stan Getz and Humpty Dumpty on his other CD's. I'm also dabbling with Spain with the Real Book versions. All these are challenging tunes and make great studies. I wish I had a private teacher to work with on this stuff, but so far, no luck finding one in Los Angeles. Several great jazz teachers I had years back passed on or moved away.

I have found his transcribed solos online and in the Bill Dobbins books, plus I am slowing down his solos in QuickTime Pro, 8 bars at a time and writing fingerings in to get his pentatonic patterns as smooth as possible. I feel my playing is moving in another creative direction with more possibilities with improvisational ideas.

My intention is not to try and copy Chick's exact notes, phrases or lines, but to capture his style and influence to filter in my own thing. I don't want to just imitate what he is doing, which would be tough to do anyway.

I'm having a lot of fun working with these tunes and I'm learning new approaches to apply to other tunes I'm playing. Chick is a great songwriter, IMHO and a great, inspiring jazz piano player that I have seen live, The Electrik/Akoustic Bands, RTF and the NAMM show.

katt

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#1323093 - 12/11/09 12:54 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: nitekatt2008z]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7100
Loc: So. California
I'm like Katt here. I've been studying little by little of Chick. I too am not intending to copy Chick exactly on anything but would like to play a tune like Matrix in a Chick Corea-like styling. I saw someone do a Chick-Tribute using Matrix as a platform.

I've worked on Tones for Joans Bones (his first album?), and spent a lot of time on Windows. Spain itself isn't particularly difficult, changes wise. But I've never played the head as a Unison so can't help you there.

My teacher has a very good feel of what Chick does. But Chick changes over the years too, I find. Just comparing his recent recording of Matrix in Rendezvous in New York versus the original and it was approached so differently and he even played differently (nowadays his playing is more detached and uses straighter eighths than he did -- he was more swingy younger). He plays so fast now that it may be an impossibility to duplicate.

So it's my long term project to integrate of what I learn from Chick into my own playing. I'm a Modern Jazz afficionado so Chick definitely falls into my stylistic radar.

Chick's harmonic vocabulary is just stupendously unbelievable. The content of his early tunes was just so advanced. Look at Tones for Joan's Bones. Since that's his first record, that would have been in his early twenties? It's an amazing tune that sounds like a 4/4 precursor to Windows.

Much of what Chick does is known to many of us now, at least academically. But at the time, the stuff he was doing was all new. Although Chick's been around forever, he still to me, is the founder of Modern Jazz (as we often describe Modern today). And he does all of this at a blazing speed.
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#1323125 - 12/11/09 02:23 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: jazzwee]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Jazz, Chick's open spread voicings in 4ths, the way he moves them around the piano as fills effortlessly is incredible. He takes the modal scale and builds the harmonic structures as they relate to the mode. At least I think that's how to analyze it.

If you take Windows for example, there are 3-4 bars of one chord, F#m and then Am9/D with a whole note melody. So to create motion and not leave "holes uncovered" Chick plays "fill" voicings. Unfortunately, I don't know what he's playing there yet, even when I slowed it down with QuickTime Pro. It definitely has that fourths tonality. But he's ripping through them at a good clip. They are in a very logical pattern. The same thing occurs in Litha. Am 8 bars, Bbm 8 bars, Bm, he fills the holes with these special voicings that are Chick's signature. It's a very modern sound, but I have to know how to make it logical of how he's thinking, it's not random. I'm trying to devise an exercise with voicings in fourths in all keys from all the modes. This may take 3 months to get it down, maybe longer, who knows.

Litha and Windows are not easy tunes to play a great solo on because they are uptempo in 3/4 or 6/8. The chords are not just standard or common II-V-I patterns.

Getting transcribed solos is common, but transcriptions of the voicings is uncommon, because those are harder to figure out no matter how great an ear you have. Any thoughts of making things simpler to the process?

katt


Edited by nitekatt2008z (12/11/09 02:26 AM)

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#1323141 - 12/11/09 03:38 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: nitekatt2008z]
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Lancashire, UK
I love the Now He Sings, Now He Sobs version of Windows, just to be able to play a bit of that would satisfy me! Transcribing his voicings are so hard, though I'm no expert!

There is a book that has was used as a reference in this essay that has quite a lot of his famous solos transcribed, with his left hand I think which is on here http://www.acmerecords.com/chickpaper.html

The book is called Takase, A. (1979). Jazz Improvisation. Nichion Publications, Japan. I wish I could get my hands on that, but typing it in the internet gets you nothing, so I give up! It's not that I'd be able to play it, but just looking at how he constructs his solos.

There's also a transcription of Gemini on youtube that may interest you, a more abstract Chick piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOjWkff9ajo


Edited by flat13sharp11 (12/11/09 03:47 AM)
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#1323189 - 12/11/09 08:33 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: flat13sharp11]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7100
Loc: So. California
Katt, I was taught the actual voicings to use in Windows. They're very specific but perhaps modified for solo piano, by my teacher, I don't know. I was given several variances. There are quartal voicings on a big section of it, but some of it, I don't know if I would have figured out the voicings on my own. It would have taken a lot of patience to transcribe but that's where the teacher's Perfect Pitch helps smile. We just do it on the fly in the lesson.

Even with 'Tones', it has a lot of these spread out two-handed voicings, with tenth intervals.

I've never worked on Spain with my teacher.
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#1323199 - 12/11/09 08:55 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: nitekatt2008z]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7100
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: nitekatt2008z
Jazz, Chick's open spread voicings in 4ths, the way he moves them around the piano as fills effortlessly is incredible. He takes the modal scale and builds the harmonic structures as they relate to the mode. At least I think that's how to analyze it.
katt


There's another layer I'm discovering here and it relates to chord substitutions. Now I happen to have worked on these types of chord substitutions in my studies but not related to Chick.

I've observed that when he starts sounding outside, he's actually gone a very clear chord substitution and he sticks to the same chord for the whole bar. I'll give you an example. He does this quite frequently in Matrix.

Matrix is an F Blues so typically it goes
| F7 | F7 | F7 | F7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | Bb7 | Bb7 |
| C7 | C7 | F7 | F7 |


But he'll modify it like this:

| F7 | F7 | B7 | B7 |
| Bb7 | Bb7 | A7 | A7 |
| C7 | C7 | F7 | F7 |

Then his left hand would change to a sparse quartal voicing to hint at the move. It goes so fast I can't really tell if the Bass player even becomes aware of this. In the newer version of Matrix, the Bass player just keeps going with the original changes.

In a lot of ways, it starts to become simple once you understand what he's up to. He's quite fond of doing ALT scales on his dominants so the chord tones don't become obvious anymore. It's even more confusing when he does an ALT on a substituted chord. This is truly no regular ii-V-I. In fact he keeps that tonality vague quite a bit, particularly with quartal voicings and inversions thereof.

Now simple to understand is one thing. Applying it to one's playing is a whole different issue. I think one has to be an 'intervallic' player to really follow this style. So if you're big on pentatonics then this is easier. This is less of Bebop and about as far away from an Oscar Peterson style of playing that I can imagine. It's almost like different sides of a spectrum.
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#1323301 - 12/11/09 12:07 PM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: jazzwee]
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Yeah jazz, interchangeable tritone subs that Chick uses throughout his comping patterns. Man, so modern, even now, it's still futuristic tonality and motion.
E=Mchick 2hehe....anyway

I think Oscar P dabbled with the pentatonic thing, but it just didn't work in his 2 handed style, with double octave bebop lines he was famous for pulling off. I have a book of Oscar P transcriptions that I've played through for over 30 years I bought at a music shop across from Berklee in the 70's, ripped to shreads, was in a basement flood, my Oscar "Bible" and I can't seem to toss it and order an upgraded version on Amazon. But that book has also been a wealth on info on playing jazz piano voicings, blues and licks.

Today I am going to experiment with extracting fourth voicings from major and minor pentatonic scales that relate to the changes in Windows and Litha. I'm able to play all the changes now in real time and beginning solo experiments with a click, slowly of course. I'm concentrating on pentatonic patterns and altered scales on the minor 7th b 5 voicings.

I'll fill you in later today and see what I came up with. I'll be recording these tunes on GarageBand as soon as I feel ready and might post them here with my results.

katt

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#1323502 - 12/11/09 04:44 PM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: nitekatt2008z]
flat13sharp11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/23/09
Posts: 119
Loc: Lancashire, UK
I know a lot of the voicings in Windows are fourth but I can't hear them in the intro of the Now He Sings Now He Sobs version. I know it starts on B-7, but that tune is really, really hard and seems out of range at the moment. But it's one of my favourite Chick tunes, on a par with Spain and La Fiesta for me. Thats the good thing about RTF, because his Rhodes voicings are more economic so it doesn't sound as muddy which makes transcribing easier.


Edited by flat13sharp11 (12/11/09 04:46 PM)
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#1323531 - 12/11/09 05:10 PM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: flat13sharp11]
jazzwee Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 7100
Loc: So. California
It took me awhile to understand Windows. For one it is uptempo. Next it's in 3/4 and you've got to make it swing. Even making the changes was difficult because some of the changes come pretty quickly. But the solo itself is mostly chord tone based.

Chick makes the tunes complicated by substitution. Since these are 'his' changes, there's no substitution mystery.

To me what was first difficult with Windows was that the scales are based mostly on the B scale, which is not the most comfortable.

But this was one of my favorite tunes so I couldn't let it go. Long ago, I played this as a ballad because that's all I could handle. That's always a way to start since the melodies and harmony are beautiful.

Rhythmically, Windows is complex because you have to maintain a dotted quarter rhythm with the comping over the 3/4. Very difficult to master.
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#1325059 - 12/14/09 09:41 AM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: jazzwee]
jjo Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 646
Loc: Chicago
This won't help anyone sound like Chick, but Marion McPartland has a great version of Windows. It's very interesting to hear another fine take on this tune. There is also a very differ, much mellower version on Rain, the album with Stan Getz.

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#2355929 - Yesterday at 06:30 PM Re: Chick Corea Spain Tips/Fingerings [Re: flat13sharp11]
Skyscrapersax Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 8
Have any of you come up with a comfortable fingering for the first bar of the "B" section of "La Fiesta"? Using my right hand index finger is a stretch, even though I have gigantic hands. Using the RH thumb is easier, but harder to do at a fast tempo with the correct articulation. Thanks...

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