Day: December 5, 2020

Listen and Learn

If he’d survived, trumpeter Jack Sheldon would have turned 89 on November 30th, 2020. For one who never studied his recordings, it’s fascinating to watch a live video of his quintet in concert.  The five musicians play in perfect sync, like a well-oiled machine, and they swing like crazy.  Jack’s vocal style is instantly recognizable, and his trumpet sparkles with fiery assertiveness, crisp inventiveness, and unhesitating self-assurance. 

The lick leading into the bridge of Jack’s solo especially knocks me out. Here it is: 

There’s a dynamic shape to that melodic line and an infectious rhythmic vitality which combine to offer a wildly exciting listening experience. Equally impressive is Jack’s ability to infer fascinating harmonic curve-balls creating two deceptive modulations before settling onto the home key, as portrayed on the chart above .

Here’s that lick in all 12 keys. 

A complete chart is provided below, if you want to woodshed this unique lick. 

My friend Bill – an excellent trombonist – voiced his frustration after attempting the licks on my blog at full speed.  I reassured Bill that I certainly do not begin by playing any of these licks at its ultimate pace.  Here is the original tempo over which I started wood-shedding.

It took me several hours to get the lick up to tempo.  With each new pass, you ratchet the metronome up maybe 3, 4, or 5 clicks until you reach your goal, and the most difficult note sequences require extensive looping in order to achieve smooth, effortless execution.

Here is Jack’s full solo:

As stated above, the band swings like mad throughout this entire performance.  Here’s a link, if you want to listen to the whole cut.

Click on “continue reading” below to see a chart of the lick in all 12 keys.

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