'How Deep...' Changes

(5 posts)
  1. fakejake

    Hey guys!
    A few days ago I started working on 'How deep is the ocean', based on the changes that are given in the transcription of Kurts solo by Bruce Saunders (which seem a little more straight forward than those from the RealBook). Those of you who have already studied that tune, could you share some of your note choices for the changes?

    On the Cmin II V I in the first 2 bars I use C melodic minor, which works pretty well.
    However the, Gminor II V I in bars 4-5 is giving me a hard time. Any thoughts on that?

    Later on, there is a Eb7 --> Ab7 --> B7 --> Fmin progression. That Eb7 should be Mixolydian, as it resolves. According to textbook Jazz harmony, the Ab7 and the B7 would be Mixolydian #11, as they dont resolve properly (am I right here?) but I'm having a hard time getting that to sound acceptable...

    BTW I already learned Kurts solo, and I know there is tons of great stuff going on there, but before I start working on things like upper structure triads and reharmonizations I want to get the basics (i.e. guidetones, scales + arpeggios) right.

    I'd appreciate any help, cheers, jake

  2. harmnobean

    I would practice using an F#o7 arpeggio (F# A C Eb) resolving to G melodic minor/Gm6 in bars 4-5. Here are some examples that would work either in bar 4 or bar 6.

    F# A C Eb D C Bb A / G (root of Gm)

    G F F# A C Eb D C / Bb (third of Gm)

    Another good one to practice is to make the ii-7b5 chord a dominant, in this case A7 or Eb7, leading to the D7. You could use C#o7 arpeggio on the A7, leading to an F#o7 arpeggio on D7, like so:

    C# E G Bb A F# Eb Db / D (5th of Gm).

    The A7 (instead of A-7b5) works for a few reasons. 1) It creates a stronger pull to the D7 because it's the V of D7. 2) The C# in the A7 is a blue note in G minor, which is the key center we're in for measures 5-6.

    Another idea with A7 to D7 would be to use a diad of C# and Bb for the A7 (3 and b9), moving down a half step to C and A for D7 (b7 and 5), and move that down a whole step to Bb and G for G minor (b3 and 1). This sits really nicely on the G and E strings.

    Getting these simple, clear resolutions under your fingers will help express the changes effectively and open up your ears to more colorful options than just using the parent scale for all related chords. You could use this same concept with bar 2, but transposed to Bo7, instead of using C melodic minor for the ii-V in bar 2.

    When you get to G minor, melodic minor and G blues are really good options I think. In fact, I think it would be totally appropriate to approach bars 5-6 and the first half of bar 7 the same way you would treat bars 1-3, but in G minor instead of C minor. The tune itself actually does this: The melody over the G minor section is the same melody as the C minor section but transposed.

    As for the mixolydian #11 question:
    I don't think modally very much in my own playing, but if you understand how different notes work on different chords, I think you will find that you can convincingly use either mixolydian or mixolydian#11 on any of those dominants. The only difference in these scales is one has the natural 4, and the other has the #4.

    If I were using the natural 4, I would probably be using it on the way to targeting the third. So, for Eb7, I might go Ab Gb G, or Ab F Gb G. I could also use Eb blues scale on the Eb7, in which case the fourth will sound totally acceptable if you use it as part of a bluesy melody.

    While 4 typically wants to move down to 3, #4 is going to be inclined to go up to scale degree 5. Say you want to use this sound on the Ab7, you could go D F E D Eb C, which uses the #11 twice to surround the 5th (Eb) which then moves down to C, the third. Try that one beginning on beat one of Ab7, using 8th notes.

    I think when you are still learning how to get through standard-type changes in a simple and effective way, you might want to check out some guys who play a little more simply than a player like Kurt. Guys like Hank Mobley and Dexter Gordon are really great for this. Check out their solos on If I Should Lose You and Cheese Cake, respectively, for some great ideas on minor tunes. You are sure to find lots of things that you could readily apply to How Deep Is The Ocean. Kurt's stuff will probably be a lot more meaningful after checking out some older guys approaches, as well. Bill Evans also has a great version of this tune on his Explorations album.

    I hope some of that helps!

  3. jazznan

    Just think home keys...moving from key of Eb to Bb and then add the thirds of each five chord to your line. Make melodies

    I haven't studied Kurt's solo, but just looking at it briefly, the C# over Dm7b5....more likely Kurt is thinking G7 for the whole bar or Bdim, or he's just making strong melodies

  4. harmnobean

    Measure 2 of Kurt's solo (with the aforementioned C#) looks to me like a triad pair. In this case, using Db major and Eb major triads over G7. The Db generates b5, b7, and b9, while the Eb generates #5, 1, and #9. So I agree with jazznan, that this works because it is perfectly ok to ignore the ii chord in a ii-V progression. I would add, though, that part of why these simple major triads sound so colorful is because of the context given by the rhythm section. If the bassist and pianist played Db Eb for that measure instead of D-7b5 G7, the line wouldn't have nearly the same impact, in my opinion.

  5. fakejake

    Wow, thanks guys for those great replies. I just worked on those ideas and really dig the sound that i 'm getting.
    The diminished arpeggio is cool, it is pretty oldschool but I like it. Plus, I can play it over II and V.

    I guess one major mistake of mine is 1) trying to nail every chord in the chart, and 2) doing so with as many notes as possible. It's a lot easier though to concentrate on the melody if I just play the V instead of the II V, just like you suggested.
    Those triads pretty hip too, I especially liked the sound of going from a Db triad to a G triad to a Cmin triad. The Eb instead of the G triad is cool as
    well, but a little to similar to the Cmin.

    Thanks a lot for those suggestions, this gives me stuff to work on for hours...


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