Month: December 2009

Charlie Parker: “An Oscar For Treadwell”

Page 43 of the Eb Charlie Parker Omnibook contains this cool phrase in lines 12 & 13.  Why does this particular lick sound so nice over a V7 chord?   One reason is that the 3rd of the chord (TI), the 7th of the chord (FA), and the 13th of the chord (MI) are prominently featured on the strong beats 1, 3, & 1 respectively.  These are the most interesting notes in the chord.   FA & TI form an attractive tritone, while MI is a major 7th above FA.  The line also has an interesting contour.

Although Bird’s solo on “An Oscar For Treadwell” is in the key of A major (on alto sax), you will notice that the lick shown below – which occurs in the first 2 measures of the bridge – is in the key of F#.  For the benefit of New Ears Resolution students, i have written in the solfége syllables below the notes.  (The syllable “SE” – pronounced “say” – is between SO and FA.)    As always, you will derive the maximum benefit from playing this phrase in all 12 keys.  If you cannot figure out the notes in the other keys, email me for a FREE pdf of the complete chart and an mp3 recording you can practice along with.

The more you study the work of the masters such as Charlie Parker, the richer your own musical vocabulary will become.  Playing the licks in all 12 keys develops your “hand / ear co-ordination” and prevents you from falling into “finger familiarity” ruts.