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#2313802 - 08/10/14 12:15 PM James Booker Transcription Project
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
I know there are a lot of James Booker fans out there. The genius produced some of the most breathtaking and soulful music to come out of New Orleans.

For the past few months, I've been slowly working transcribing some of his music - challenging since I'm new to the work and my ear is far from natural. But given his classical training, his music is surprisingly not impossible to decipher; it's very structured and layered with much classical technique and harmonies.

I'd like to know if there are others out there doing the same; it would be a great idea to collaborate. We'd realize some good music to share with Booker fans and those just learning about him.

I've worked on the following, hoping to finish by the end of the year:
-So Swell When you're Well (Maple Leaf)
-Life (Piano Prince; Hamburg)
-Stormy Monday (Piano Prince)
-Slow Down Medley (Resurrection Bayou Maharajah)

Next on my wishlist - Goodnight Irene and Classified

If there's any interest to work together - proofing, splitting pieces, post here or PM me. I feel in debt to Joshua Paxton for his brilliant transcriptions, I just don't want the work to stop there! -p


Edited by pete3 (08/10/14 12:15 PM)

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#2313958 - 08/10/14 08:17 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 627
Loc: Louisiana

Hey Pete, I'm a Booker fan too but I only play by ear so i don't know how much help I would be except with some chord progression and some bass line rhythm patterns. The guy's got some serious fast hands that he's not afraid to use even with a slow tune like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhERsrGg2As

Picking the vocal melody out's not hard ... the RH decorations I'd have to leave for someone who can listen faster than I can. grin
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2314077 - 08/11/14 05:54 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: Rerun]
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
Hmm, I have the opposite problem!

The RH decorations usually make sense to me, and come relatively easily - and thanks to software like Amazing Slow Downer wink , better yet, Melodyne. My patience gets tired for picking out the base (hereditary deafness for very low/high frequencies doesn't help, either, at age 29), sometimes I snag on the rhythmic patterns, but usually faster stuff like Irene. Studying transcriptions like SunnySide, Papa was a Rascal, and Little Tune for Lefty, has been a HUGE help deciphering those patterns, especially the roving pinky playing bass guitar and those fleeting chopin-esque chord progs on up/downbeats.

I also need lots of patience telling if 7 notes are being played at once, vs 5 or 6, or exactly where/which Eb or G is being used - worse with fuzzy recordings.

Thanks for hitting my favorite Booker song of all time. Definitely add to my wishlist. Whatever you've got on this song, it'd be great to get a start on one day soon. Do you have any recordings of yourself playing it (or other tunes?)

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#2314094 - 08/11/14 07:17 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1455
Loc: uk south
I can chip in from time to time on a transcription if it helps move it forward. I've also got stuck into New Orleans piano but more in the Dr John vein (slightly more relaxed), trying to make up for lack of vocal, hence trying also to incorporate the sung melody into the piano part.


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#2314097 - 08/11/14 07:23 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 627
Loc: Louisiana
Heh, heh ... and I can't hear the higher registers very well any more. I've worked with a few tunes of his, "True" being one of them but never recorded his work. I've posted a few tunes in the Adult Beginners Recitals when I've had some time. Got a full plate right now, but I'll keep an eye on this thread to see what develops.

Here's Cleary and Henry Butler discussing Booker some in these tapes ... hit about 08:00 and 13:30 on Cleary's and then you can hear some of Booker in the final demo at about 1:02:20. After the 13:30 segment he moves into some Longhair stuff.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfxioOwQyK0


Butler gets into rhythms too (the element I enjoy most in music), go to about 13:00, but he talks a bit about Booker's style here and there:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS7OkwB3kZI


Edited by Rerun (08/11/14 07:57 AM)
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2314102 - 08/11/14 07:40 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: Rerun]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1455
Loc: uk south
I've come across Cleary before, an impressive musician. Those links look interesting, I'll check them out later.

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#2314110 - 08/11/14 08:12 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: dire tonic]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 627
Loc: Louisiana

Hey DT, yep, I've learned a lot from Cleary ... glad he spends some time talking about it on camera. He's from a musical family, began at age 3 I think, came to New Orleans at 17 or 18 and started digging this stuff out.
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2314131 - 08/11/14 09:24 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
Rerun, aka 88blueskeys4U - or something like that??...well I've listened to your stuff two years ago! I only ever did find one person on youtube posting Booker tunes. If that's you, nice to meet you wink

Thanks for those links, I'll be checking them out after work!

Mind posting a link of your playing of True if you have a minute (if you've played it)? I believe I recall 'Please Send me Someone to Love' which was very nicely done.

cheers -pete

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#2314144 - 08/11/14 10:13 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
Rerun Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/07
Posts: 627
Loc: Louisiana

Quote:
Rerun, aka 88blueskeys4U - or something like that??


Hey Pete, 88blueskey is someone else. I'm not even set up to post tunes on utube, but I'll try to find 88's posts. I have posted links to Booker and Cleary in the last year or two.

I'd have to polish up my Booker impersonations a lot before they'd be worthy of posting, I've had too much other stuff on my plate the last few months. Why don't you post something of his over at the Adult Beginners Piano Bar.
_________________________
Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD







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#2314153 - 08/11/14 10:44 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
Sorry about that, mate! Sure, I'd love to hear your Booker covers someday. I plan to upload some this fall (slowly but surely and junco). I'll keep us posted.
Yeah, I'd love to get a start on True sometime soon, if anyone would donate or point to chords, I feel it would be a satisfying start. There's something very zen about transcribing, too, I've discovering.

I'm in architecture school myself, with nearly no leftover time, but every free minute goes to Booker these days. I'm setting myself up to take weekly lessons in NY, too, I'll just invent more hours in the day? wink

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#2314174 - 08/11/14 11:46 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1455
Loc: uk south
If this will kick you off here are the chords for the verse (marked out as a slow 6/8). Tell me Pete, are you singing this or is it planned as piano piece?

G/////|D7+/////|G7/////|G7/////|
Cma7/////|Cma7/////|F9/////|F9/////|
A9/////|A9/////|D7/////|D7/////|
G/////|E7/////|A7/////|D7/////|

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#2314181 - 08/11/14 12:11 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: dire tonic]
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
Thank you! I'll be singing it alright (poorly)...with the goal to have the piano down note-for-note. I'm a pianist by training, I've only started singing for myself recently.

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#2314200 - 08/11/14 01:17 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
dire tonic Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 1455
Loc: uk south
Originally Posted By: pete3
...with the goal to have the piano down note-for-note.

- that's quite some undertaking!

Would it possible to hear any of your already worked Booker pieces...perhaps just an excerpt?

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#2314263 - 08/11/14 05:19 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
pete3 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/05/14
Posts: 6
Loc: New York City
@DT: I know. I'll confess it's a high ambition.

...Absolutely. I'm abroad in France, away from my piano, working until early-September. I'll post something as soon I get back home to NY. My own transcription work is in rags, but I'll upload something I play from printed transcriptions, if that suits.

Come to think of it, I'll start back practicing the solo for 'Life', as well, I had done a good twenty or so measures of the solo.

Another edit - I forget I had started with about 30 measures of Black Night about two years ago, when I first ran into Booker, I'd find those and post a clip. Some work on Tipitina, as well.


Edited by pete3 (08/11/14 06:22 PM)

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#2326046 - 09/10/14 02:36 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
mykonos Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/10/14
Posts: 1
Hey,
I recently got into James Booker myself, and I'm hooked!
I suck at reading music, so most of my progression has been through youtube videos and by ear.
I got the song "Classified" down though (Not exact note for note, but working on polishing the details).

I play on a piano mostly, but I believe you can transcribe a song if you play it on a keyboard, and connect it to a midi software. Once I get Classified exactly how James Booker plays it, I'll see if I can transcribe it that way and share.
I'm also very interest in "Life" and "Stormy Monday". I would love to see what you got.

Myk

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#2342561 - 10/28/14 07:08 PM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
cclofton Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/14
Posts: 1
@pete3
any updates? im sure im not the only one waiting with great anticipation

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#2348431 - 11/11/14 01:23 AM Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
T E Bekken Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/14
Posts: 18
Loc: Trondheim; Norway
Have you guys seen THE NEW ORLEANS PIANO BOOK; put together by people like Tom McDermott, Josh Paxton et al? It contains note for note transcriptions of pieces by Booker, Henry Butler, Professor Longhair and the like. Highly recommended; a great arsenal of musical ideas, licks and phrases for improvisation in various New Orleans styles. You may of course also play the music as written. Wonderful stuff.


Edited by T E Bekken (11/11/14 01:28 AM)
_________________________
Dr Bekken
Jazz Blues Ragtime Stride Free Improvisation
http://youtube.com/drbekken

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#2354210 - 4 minutes 47 seconds ago Re: James Booker Transcription Project [Re: pete3]
just ber Online   content
Junior Member

Registered: 10/24/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Orleans, France
Hello,
I'm also looking forward to see those transcriptions finished !
I'm currently working on Goodnight Sweetheart from the album "King of the New Orleans Keyboard", I've got half of it written down and I'm looking for some Booker's fan to share it with.
This would be a nice way to have some feedbacks and maybe some advices...

Let me know if you want to take a look at the sheet. If some of you have made Booker's transcription, I'd be happy to take a look too...

Take care

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