Inside a jazz workshop - week Five
I'm sure if I thought about it a bit more I could set up something much cleverer to reveal my great discovery of the week but Eurovision is on the TV and a girl's brain can only stand so much... So here it is, this week's great revelation: 'Rhythm Changes' has nothing, no nothing, to do with rhythm! Now half of you will be looking at that and saying 'uh, duh, of course it doesn't' and the half will, well it will be some comfort to me if you will, be saying 'WHAT??'
See, I expected the class to be all about quavers, semi quavers, the changes between them, maybe a few triplets just to pep things up a bit. I'd dusted off my hands ready for some clapping, the whole bit. Imagine my disappointment when Duncan handed us the tune and it all looked rhythmically consistent... Turns out 'Rhythm Changes' actually refers to a form and a set of chord changes. And just as we spent some weeks getting our heads around the structure of the chord changes for the blues our next weeks are to work progressively through this form.
Hmmm I just tried to explain how it works but it only served to point up the gaps in my understanding so I've deleted it all! Suffice it to say Duncan managed to unpick the tune so that the structure became clear at least in principle. It was interesting to listen to the group working on soloing over this form. There seemed to be a noticeable drop in the standard and confidence from many of the regulars (I was unsurprised to find myself a bit at sea) and interesting to reflect on the improvement over the weeks on the Blues and also to hope that in a few weeks time we'll be blasting our way through 'rhythm changes' with greater assurance.
As we split into small bands to work through the tune and solo on it we alternated between the advertised 'I Got Rhythm' and the substituted class tune Miles Davis 'The Theme' during which Duncan had a bit of a revelation of his own discovering that we all did better working over 'I Got Rhythm' - never doubt Gershwin Duncan, keep the faith!
And that was more or less the class, deep breath for next week's tune 'Anthropology'. And now.... well, it seems a shame to waste my dusted hands so I'm off to clap along to Blue's no doubt ill fated contribution to this years Euro festival of pop....