May 16, 2015: Martin Hathaway

Many thanks to Martin Hathaway for a session in which we covered

“Three to Get Ready” by Dave Brubeck

Martin is amongst the many tutors that emphasise the importance of not having your head in a lead sheet or squinting at your mobile phone when playing a tune so we put away our music stands and listened to Dave Brubeck bashing out “Three to Get Ready” followed by a chorus or two of Paul Desmond’s improvisation to get the feel for the tune.

It’s a tricky tune with the melody firstly being stated in 3/4 and then restated in sequences two bars of 3/4 followed by two bars 4/4. Following the “if you can’t sing it, you can’t play it” maxim, we learnt to sing the tune. Then having been taught the chord sequence, we tried playing it with our instruments. We all managed to do that fairly well.

The co-op members were then let go on some improvisation; the tune is largely diatonic so we could get away with just sticking to the C Major scale if you had to.

Martin discussed the importance feeling the “rhythmic key” of the piece, i.e. the “clave” and then using that as a cornerstone of the improvisations; feeling the rhythmic key” is much more useful than desperately trying to count through the piece

Using the “rhythmic key” idea and playing simply but with the use of the underlying rhythm in certain sections of the improvisations, they became a lot more coherent and grounded in the piece when the co-op members had another go.

The co-op members paired up for duets (with backing) improvising on alternate sections of the tune.

Thanks again to the always entertaining Martin Hathaway for a rhythmic session.