# St. Thomas - Sonny Rollins

upinthemteles
June 6th, 2012, 11:01 PM
So I'm learning this song, and watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ikBbQyw2nw

On one point, Pat says you can simplify the chords. So when you're not playing the melody, and just want to riff on the chords or solo, what are some ways to simplify them?

He plays it in D, but let's talk about it in C, the way it's usually played I think. The first measure is C, the second is the start of a circle of fifths going to G, and could just be played as C, right? The third measure is a ii V, can I just play G? Last measure just C?

5-8 is a repeat of 1-4. Then for 9-12, I don't really see any way to simplify Emi7(b5), A7, Dmi7, G7, but that's okay. The last four measures can be just walking the bass line up with the rest of the chord sometimes.

Any thoughts on this?

klasaine
June 6th, 2012, 11:37 PM
Awesome arrangement by a great player!

Here's the changes in "C" (the bottom tune) ...

I don't usually hit the #11's and #9 in bars 9, 10 and 11 but the last four bars are super important in getting this song to sound like 'this' song.

As for 'simplifying' it, the Em to A and Dm to G can be played by just putting an A and G in the bass over the Em and Dm chords. You can even keep the b5 in the chord.
*I think what Pat D. is talking about is not necessarily playing full 1, 3, 5, 7, etc. chords. Just using what's necessary to get the sound.

Samrsmiley
June 7th, 2012, 12:19 PM
You can also simplify by playing in the first 4 bars:
|C |C |Dmi G7|C |

Also definitely get rid of the extensions from that lead sheet to simplify. Just think in terms of function
|1 |3 6 |2 5| 1|
Klasaine is totally right on the bridge, just a longer 3 6 2 5 progression.

I LOVE this arrangement! Thanks for sharing, as someone who's way into where jazz and country can kind of cross this is really amazing!

Modern Saint
June 7th, 2012, 01:06 PM
Killer video!

I am not very good at chord melody so for me it is tough to answer regarding that style. However, if I am just comping I usually play what is writtten. I do sometimes avoid the high extensions ie: Bb7#11 to avoid the melody getting in the way of the #11. But....I would play the chord as a Bb7b5 instead since the following chord is the A7.

upinthemteles
June 11th, 2012, 08:33 PM
thank you guys so much, still working on this one, but gotta say, just rewatched the pat donahue video and he references Joseph Spence for the calypso open D sound. You guys gotta hear this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmDybuYTuoM

I like it.... I think

twangjeff
June 13th, 2012, 12:57 PM
I love hearing people talk about learning standards, because you will hear about simplifying the tune, and then you'll hear other people talk about how to make the changes more interesting.

The general rule is, to simplify you can eliminate the color chords and just stick to Vs and Is. To add changes you can always backcycle.

So you have the first four bars as a I-iii VI- ii V- I, but you could make that as simple as I-I-V-I, granted that sounds a little hokey, but you get the idea. The important thing is to make sure that everybody is on the same page when you play the tune. If you are soloing and just playing key centers and the accompianist is playing a bunch of extensions and added changes, it will make you sound like you don't know the tune and are just noodling. However if the accompianmet is very simple it is easier to add color by playing the extensions and implying additional ii Vs. This is kind of an age old debate.

I do agree with klasaine that the voice leading on the last four bars is very important. That is the difference in my mind between sounding like someone who knows the tune and somebody reading it out of a fakebook. I really like the recording on Jim Hall/ Ron Carter Alone Together. Just beautiful.

klasaine
June 13th, 2012, 01:31 PM
This a great resource for seeing the basic form of the 'standards'.
Ralph Patts 'Vanilla Book' ... http://www.ralphpatt.com/Song.html