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Jack Wilkins:

Wilkins is a player that utilizes harmonised intervals in a more


modern post-bop manner than the preceding guitarists who all
derived their language from Charlie Christian. This basis can be
heard in Wilkins, but he also uses melodic and harmonic ideas to
open up certain progressions and uses more substitutions typical in
a post-bop oriented approach.
Figure 10 is an excerpt from Wilkins improvisation on Joe
Hendersons reharmonised blues composition Isotope in the key of
C. This track appears on Wilkins album Call Him Reckless(1989). In
this example Wilkins uses descending harmonised augmented 4
th

intervals (tri-tones) to delineate a descending progression of
dominant 7
th
chords. These augmented fourth intervals strongly
imply the 3
rd
and 7
th
degrees (known also a guide tones) of one of
either two dominant chords a tri-tone away from one another.
Wilkins employs them here to suggest tri-tone substitutions.
The chords above the staff in Fig.10 indicate Hendersons
original written changes and the chords in brackets represent the
sounds Wilkins superimposes over the changes at this point in his
solo using harmonised tri-tone intervals. As this blues is
reharmonised, Wilkins and the band can choose to return to more
basic Jazz/Blues changes at any time after the head has been stated.
Fig. 11 displays the last four bars of a basic Jazz Blues in C. As can be
seen, Wilkins harmonised note choices reflect that he is thinking of
more basic changes at his point and the analysis will be more
coherent by assessing his improvisation in relation to these basic
changes.
In bar one, Wilkins implies a tri-tone substitution of Ab7
against the D-7 chord by harmonizing the C with the Gb in the upper
voice. These tones are the 3
rd
and b7th of Ab7. In Bar two Wilkins
delays resolution to the G7 chord by repeating the harmonised C and
Gb. He then resolves to the harmonised B and F tones which are
again the 3
rd
and b7 of the G7 Chord. He then flips the order of the
guide tones by harmonizing the b7 of C, Bb in the lower voice with
the third, E, in the upper voice clarifying the C7 chord sound. In bar 3
Wilkins uses the tri-tone substitution of Eb7 instead of A7 on the
and of beat two by harmonizing the G (the third of Eb) with the Db
in the upper voice (the b7 of Eb). He then descends chromatically and
anticipates the arrival of the D-7 chord by changing its function and
implies a D7 chord instead. Harmonizing the major 3
rd
of D in the
lower voice with the b7 in the upper voice create the guide tones of a
D7. This leaves the ear wanting to fill in the last bar with the
completion of the dominant cycle to G7 that would resolve back to
the top of the form and the ensuing C7 chord.

Fig.10

Fig.11

In Figure 12, also from Isotope, Wilkins uses double stopped
perfect fourth intervals to delineate the sound of dominant chords
that contain a suspended 4
th
degree. In bar one, he begins his quaver
based rhythmic statement by anticipating the A7sus4 chord two
beats early in the C7 bar. By harmonizing the E with an A, a fourth
above in the upper voice, and then slurring into the D with a G a
fourth above in the upper voice he creates the pitch collection of A
(root), D (4
th
) E (5
th
) and G (b7). These double stop 4ths clearly
identify the chord underneath as a Dominant7sus4. This repetitive
figure is repeated three times before Wilkins then anticipates the
resolution to the Ab7sus4 chord by descending chromatically to
harmonise the Db with a Gb in the upper voice which are the 4
th
and
the b7 of the Ab7 chord further outlining its suspended function.

Fig.12



Fig.13 from By Myself on Call Him Reckless displays Wilkins
use Major 6
th
double stops employing Post-Bop style chromaticism to
add ambiguity to the change from a one chord, D7 to a five chord,
A7 in the key of D. This idea consists of what is referred to in guitar
pedagogy as a shape (which refers to the Major 6
th
structure) that is
moved in a gradually ascending manner using rapid back and forth
chromatic quavers. The idea begins with a harmonised F# and D
double stop, which are the major 3
rd
and root of the D7 chord.
Wilkins then keeps this shape structure intact and employs it as a
vehicle to create ambiguity over the following four bars. This
ambiguity continues until he reaches the tones C# in the lower voice
and A in the upper voice resolving the idea on beat one of the 5
th
bar
clearly signaling the arrival of the A7 chord. The majority of what
happens musically between point A, which is the beginning of the
phrase, and point B, which is the resolution to A7 in bar five is
unnecessary to analyse against the underlying chord. What is
important is that the momentum created by the rhythm and the
major 6
th
interval structure is heard by the ear as a shape, moving
towards a point of resolution.

Fig.13


Jeff Barone

Figure 18 is a semiquaver based double stop idea
predominantly based on 4
th
intervals from the title track Open Up
from the album Open Up(ibid). Barone employs the D minor
pentatonic scale over the majority of this phrases duration. He begins
by harmonizing the G and A tones with the C and D tones a fourth
above, immediately lending the line a pentatonic flavor. He briefly
switches to four semiquaver harmonised 3rds on beat three of bar
one to emphasise the ninth (E) over the D minor, before returning to
the pentatonic scale fourths on beat four.
In Bar two, Barone continues to employ the D minor pentatonic
scale harmonised in fourths over the E7 chord. On beat one, Barone
harmonises the D in the lower voice with a fourth above (the G)
which is the #9 of E7 making it clear that his is an altered dominant
chord that will resolve a fifth above or a fourth below. On beat three
Barone harmonises the #9 in the lower voice with the #5 in the
upper voice, adding more tensions to the dominant chord.
On beat one of bar three, which is the resolution to the A minor
7 chord, Barone switches to harmonised 3rds to state the C in the
lower voice and the E in the upper voice which are the b3 and the 5
th

respectively on the underlying harmony.


Fig.18