by Hannah Dexter, bass
Slam Stewart is often forgotten when we think of virtuosic bass players. Although he came to prominence at the same time, Jimmy Blanton is credited with changing the way bass players solo, maybe due to how difficult Stewart’s classically trained style is to emulate. Although he spent one year at Boston Conservatory, studying orchestra repertoire under Jean Lemaire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, his tone, intonation, and agility on the upright burns through countless classical players’ technique. No one can make tremolos and trills sound as tense and uplifting as this man.
Keep in Mind
1) Play this singing and bowing, at the same time, all the time.
2) Tear apart each phrase and practice them isolated. At nauseam.
3) Try playing it with someone comping ¼ notes. It’s insane.
4) Play with joy. Slam Stewart does not have a sad sound in his bass or in his voice.
5) The recording of this song is tuned a little high. It’s been verified that the original key is Bb.
Download the PDF here: Slam Stewart I Got Rhythm – Bass
Swing sisters, swing!
– The Jazz Girls
by Alessandra “Mariela” Versola
About this Recording
Charlie Parker, alto saxophone
Efferge Ware, guitar
Phil Phillips, drums
1943, Vic Damon Studio, Kansas City
The tune “Cherokee” was written by Ray Noble in 1938 for his “Indian Suite.” This specific recording is a bootleg recording from 1943, during the recording ban. This is a rare glimpse at early bebop history. Because of the ban, there is much we do not know about the beginnings and early development of bebop innovators. Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and Don Byas are among the artists of whom we are missing pieces to the puzzle of Bop history. “Cherokee”, recorded with Efferge Ware on the guitar, provides a study of the early phrasing, time, vocabulary, and inflection of a young Charlie Parker- between his big band swing roots and the invention of Bebop.
About this Transcription
My process for transcribing this solo began with jotting down a rough outline of Bird’s lines. I finished learning it by ear before entering it into Finale NotePad for my final draft for BackBeat Magazine.
I have included changes for the first chorus- there are three. The changes will appear in the “Concert Changes” attachment as they sound in the recording and are slightly different than the Real Book. I could not enter accents or turns with my software.
“Cherokee” Bird 1943 – C Instruments
“Cherokee” Bird 1943 – Bb Instruments
“Cherokee” Bird 1943 – Eb Instruments
“Cherokee” Bird 1943 – Concert Changes
As transcribed by Mariela
Until next time,
Swing sisters, swing!
– The Jazz Girls –