Let’s have a look at the chart as though it was just a conventional standard. It’s a 32 bar sequence AABA in E flat. It doesn’t really modulate much anywhere else - it might go to C minor a bit in the middle 8. C minor is the relative minor of E (flat) major - more or less the same key signature and so, in some sense, the modulation is fairly minimal. Let’s look at the chords first of all. The tune goes … and the first chord is E flat major7, using our voicings, use a 6/9 voicing but I’ve put in a thickening note.
The second chord is E diminished, or E diminished7, and on the music that I’ve transcribed for you I’ve got E diminished in root position. Of course, you can equally well play inversions of it if you find that easier. The next chord in F minor7, then F sharp diminished or diminished7 in root position, then G minor7 - what is it - the third inversion, F sharp, F minor, B flat7 - the thirteenth - and then E flat major7 - 6/9 - E flat7, the standard ninth and I’ve put in a thickening note, A flat major7, the standard third inversion, D flat 7 which is the thirteenth shape and then E flat major7, B flat, E flat.
If this wasn’t a question of vamping, then the tune would go - if I play 2 chords to the bar …
etc. But I am vamping so the left hand goes the root E flat, then the root E for the E diminished, then F, F sharp. So you get this for the A section …
approximately. I hope you’ve got to the stage now where you don’t expect me to play exactly what I’ve written for you, because I can’t remember it and one of the problems with playing stride piano, or vamping, is I need to look at the keyboard, otherwise I miss the roots if I look at the music. It’s a little bit of a struggle. Stride piano isn’t really my thing, but I want to try and give you an idea, at least, of the basic ingredients.
That’s the A section. The B section - when we get to the second time bar - it goes E flat major7 and then a new chord G+7. What’s G+7? Well, actually I don’t have to play G+7, I could just play G7 and I’ve got the thirteenth shape here. But G+7 - another way of saying it is G7 with a sharpened fifth. Let’s look at that. Take C7, take the fifth and sharpen it - that’s the sound that you get - augmented sound. The scale that goes with it not an 8 note scale, but a 7 note
scale consisting purely of whole tones: tone, tone, tone, tone, tone, tone. So there’s only 7 notes to get you up to the octave. If we were to play it in voiced position - there isn’t a fifth in the ninth version but we could put in the sharpened fifth.
Then the thirteenth - if we take the thirteenth and we flatten it then that’s the same thing as having a sharpened fifth. So that’s another voicing for C7 with a sharpened fifth.
In our case we’ve got G+7 and the scale that goes with it is tone, tone, tone … In fact, there’s really only 2 scales for a whole tone, because you have tone, tone, tone, tone, tone, tone starting on C and you do the same thing starting on C sharp or D flat.
Then when you start on D it’s just a mode of the very first scale. There’s really only 2 whole tone scales.
The point about having the sharpened fifth in there - the augmented sound - is that it’s got E flat in it. It’s a very E flat centred piece because you couldn’t really get very far away from E flat. But at least it takes us to C minor and then we get to the middle 8. The middle 8 goes C minor (first inversion), D7 (the ninth), G+7, C7 (the ninth), F7 (the ninth), B flat7 (the thirteenth), E flat major7 and so on. The middle section goes like this …
then we’re back to the A section.
Let’s have a go now at trying to play this in time.