Saturday, December 10, 2011

Papa Jo #3: Theme and variation


Theme and Variation
In my last post about Papa Jo, I discussed his use of call and response and gave you an exercise to develop some of this technique in your own playing.  In today's post I am going to focus on another element that featured prominently in both the music of Papa Jo's time and his own playing, theme and variation.  In the sophisticated John Kirby arrangement of "Blue Skies" from 1938 above you will hear some perfect examples of theme and variation.  Listen to how Kirby changes the each A section of the tune to give it a dramatically different feel, even though the basic melody stays the same.  The following exercise is from my forthcoming book "Melodic Syncopation" and is designed to help you develop theme and variation technique.  My thanks to Kenny Washington who directed me to John Kirby's music.  


Papa Jo #3


I would strongly recommend checking out the previous Papa Jo exercise before trying this one.  Just to be clear, the video at the top is the same as the written melody in the exercise.  Also, I will try to post a video of me playing parts of this exercise in the near future to help show you what it should sound like.