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Monday, December 6, 2010

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite : Transcription and analysis

“Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” is the debut album of American R’n'b and neo soul musician Maxwell that was released in 1996. By listening to this album I was completely blown away by the albums impressive, atmospheric and “silky” sounds, the funky instrumentation, which was decorated with a horn section, wah-wah guitar, Rhodes, piano and of course lastly the Deep, Eloquent and Lucid bass lines!
Along with D’Angelos “Brown Sugar”, and Erykah Badu’s Baduizm “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” has been recognized by music writers for providing commercial visibility to neo soul. It has been cited by critics as Maxwell’s greatest work and remains as his best-selling release with domestic sales of over two million copies.
The tracks “Ascension”, “Dancewitme” as well as “Welcome” really influenced my bass playing. I hope that these bass lines will inspire and motivate you in the same way that they inspired me.
The following transcriptions are the basic grooves of Ascension, Dancewitme and Welcome.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I know you know - Esperanza Spalding - Transcription

I know you know is the second track on Esperanza Spalding’s self- titled project. In general this album combines elements of Latin flavored jazz compositions, startling mixture of alluring acoustic bass as well as various jazz sounds and mechanisms, which only are a proof of her talent. On this specific track, the bass establishes a push-and-pause funk syncopation, while her vocal is a spray of eighth and 16th notes. It carries a Neo-Soul undertone, with a touch of Caribbean hooks. Her lyrics about youthful flirtation may be generic and repetitive, but their abundance of “b” and “no” sounds is perfect for her dizzying swoops and soars through the melody.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Herbie Hancock Spank a lee - Bass Transcription

We are well into the 21st century and “Thrust”, by Headhunters, still impresses the new generations of musicians. This Jazz fusion album was released in 1974 by Columbia records. On this album, we can perceive influences of jazz, rock,funk, soul as well as African Rhythms. Hopefully, after a few years we can see the same innovation, modernism and creativity taking place in this century!
“Spank-A-Lee”: I can only describe this track with only one word. Groove. Mike Clark and Paul Jackson create a steady polymetric funk beat. This beat, is supported by Herbie Hancocks’ funky keyboard comping, as well as, simple, straightforward melodic lines.
Paul Jackson’s Jaco Pastorius-like bass playing and the cooperation with Mike Clark and Herbie Hancock create an inspiring solo base for Bennie Maupin’s tenor saxophone. The rhythm, improvisation and feeling inspire many young musicians nowadays and hopefully will do the same in the future.
The transcription is the main groove of the track. Enjoy!