Jazz Concert: “Kinda Sorta Blue”

Marcos Acosta, piano; Kalani Duran, electric bass; Sam Epstein, vocal; Matthew Mashewske, trumpet; David Miller, guitar; Prakarsh Pandey, drums, percussion; Rafael Porto, guitar; Kye Shi, drums; Akshay Trikha, drums; John Zuk, guitar

Community members:
Tony Garcia, tenor sax
Robert Meyer, vibraphone
Harold Willhite, bass clarinet

Impro-Visor, software
Bob Keller, trumpet, piano, instructor

Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 8 p.m.
Drinkward Recital Hall

View from behind the audience of a performance area where students and community members of the HMC Jazz Improvisation class perform on vocal, piano, electric bass, trumpet, guitar, and other instruments.
Jazz Concert: "Kinda Sorta Blue" (video still). Drinkward Recital Hall. December 11, 2019.


All Blues
Miles Davis

Blues on the Corner
McCoy Tyner

Five Spot After Dark
Benny Golson

Toots Thielemans

A Frame for the Blues
Slide Hampton

Freddie Freeloader
Miles Davis

West Coast Blues
Wes Montgomery

Blue Bossa
Kenny Dorham

Una Mas
Kenny Dorham

Thelonious Monk

The title of this concert is a loose reference to the 60th anniversary celebration of the Miles Davis album Kind of Blue. The Jazz Improvisation class will perform two tunes from the album, in addition to tunes by other composers of the Blue Note period.

All Blues is from Miles Davis’ famous “Kind of Blue” album, where it was originally mislabeled Flamenco Sketches. The controversy about its mislabeling has been resolved by written notes from the recording session, wherein Flamenco Sketches is described as an entirely different form of composition.

In Blues on the Corner, McCoy Tyner invented a new way to make the I-IV transition that characterizes a blues, by using a series of descending suspended chords compressed into a one-measure sequence.

Five Spot After Dark is a minor blues composed by Benny Golson as a tribute to the Five Spot Café formerly located in the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan. We believe that the affect of the tune conveys an impression of how it must have felt to hear jazz at this famous venue. Miles Davis also identified it in his tune Blues Five Spot.

Having written many standard blues heads, Charlie Parker is known for the invention of the “cycle blues” (aka “Bird blues”) form represented in Bluesette by the Belgian harmonicist and composer Jean (“Toots”) Thielemans. Bluesette is a ¾ time take-off of the harmonic progression in Parker’s tune Blues for Alice.

A Frame for the Blues is a slow dissonant interlude written by trombonist, composer and arranger Slide Hampton for Maynard Ferguson’s big band, of which he was a member in the 1950’s. It has become a popular feature for jazz organists.

Freddie Freeloader, also from “Kind of Blue,” is perhaps the most traditional piece on the program, but still exhibits nuance in the form of the unusual last chord of the first section, a whole step below the normal tonic chord.

West Coast Blues by guitarist Wes Montgomery also references various blues formats created by Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Bud Powell in the bebop area in which “upward-slipping” and “down-stepping” chord progressions are injected into a standard blues progression. These create a bit of shock value for the performer as well as the listener.

Blue Bossa, by Kenny Dorham, will be performed by a human player trading choruses with Impro-Visor software, which was developed here at HMC.  After the human plays the head or improvises a chorus,  the software will improvise a chorus as a reaction to what the human plays.

Una Mas is the title tune of a Blue Note album by Kenny Dorham, composed in a “latin/funk” style.

Bye-Ya by Thelonious Monk will be our way of saying “goodbye.” Technically it is not a blues, with its opening IV-I progressions, but is nonetheless “blues-ish,” in other words kinda sorta blue.

HMC is deeply grateful for the generous support that created The Ken Stevens ’61 Founding Class Concert Series.

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