Top 50 JAzz Blog

Saturday, May 1, 2010

When Quote Changes to Interpolation

The Fabulous "Extend-O-Quote"

We said it-quoting is rampant. Usually it's a snatch of melody-a few key notes from "Laura," say. Sometimes it's a chorus that's etched in marble-the piano chorus from"Parker's Blues" and sometimes quotes are memorialized in orchestrations.

The ilk of quote that seems to me the rarest falls into neither category. Call it interpolation (or, for you Vegematic fans-"extend-o-quote").

The notion arises because, a few choruses in, I just heard Bird-from the Carnegie Hall '49 Disc-quote almost the whole of Armstrong's intro to "West End Blues;" displaced off the beat, of course. Amazing that it hadn't stuck in my brain the first time I hear it.

Keep a sharp ear out. I'm anxious to see what people come up with as examples.


rob chalfen said...

Bird was also fond of quoting the first phrase of Baquet & Picou's "High Society" solo

Steve Provizer said...

Specific citation, please, or Extend-O-Quote does not get delivered.

Anonymous said...

One of the most obscure quotes is coming from Miles Davis: "Bill", an old swing tune with Helen Forrest and Artie Shaw.

Miles quoted it on many of his recordings, mostly during the 1950's.

Steve Provizer said...

Brew-Can you think of any of the type I describe in my post?

Anonymous said...

Yes, an orchestrated part of "Yankee Doodle" at Billy May's arrangement of Night And Day with Charlie Barnet & His Orchestra, 1940, if it's that what you mean with "interpolation", Steve?

Or, just fill in some words for a non-native speaker ;)

Miles quoted "Bill" not only, it became part of each particular solo when he quoted it. Maybe he had heard that song very often when he was in High School.

He was obviously a fan of Buddy Rich when he started to play jazz. He led a trumpet-piano-drums trio when he was sixteen; and he wanted the drummer to sound like Buddy Rich.

Buddy played in Artie's orchestra in the late 1930's.

Steve Provizer said...

Brew-that link didn't work for me, but I think you get what I mean. A short quote comes and goes quickly. If you recognize it, you chuckle or nod. But sometimes, a quoted phrase is so long it takes you out of the flow of the solo into something else-it has a different effect. That's what I mean by an interpolation. One explanation may be that it's an improviser's arranging or compositional urge being expressed in another way.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Steve, now I know what you meant by "interpolation" ... !!! Eureka !!!

One quote can be found in one of Dizzy Gillespie's greatest solos: On "Hot House", Jazz at Massey Hall, March 1953.

There he is quoting the well known entry phrase of "Carmen", the Habanera, the famous aria.

He quotes it, could go some other place, but no! He takes that quote high up in the sky, then replies to it with another phrase, and so he does that what you said: "It takes you out of the flow of the solo into something else (...)"

This concert alone is full of such musically transformed quotes which not just stand alone, our beloved "Laura" is only one of them.

By the way: If some of you would like to purchase this very concert, go and look for this very CD (although I usually recommend vinyl):

Jazz At Massey Hall (complete & unaltered)

There you have the concert with all pieces in the correct order, but without Charles Mingus' overdubbed studio-bass sound, and an hitherto missing part of "Perdido" is added there as well.

Anonymous said...

P.S.: A quote doesn't need to be that long, Steve, for creating the certain aha moment. It depends on *how* a quote is used, if it just stands there alone as a gimmick, a gag, or if the soloist (or arranger) works it out, plays with it, turns it around etc. etc.

It's all about making MUSIC. That's what I wanted to say.

Steve Provizer said...

You inspired me to put Massey Hall on the turntable (btw, I had it filed under Diz's name, not Bird's). What playing---Diz uncharacteristically cracks some notes on the Hot House head, but is then impeccable in his solo. Bird seems to include all the devices at his command in his solo-except quoting. Diz, as you say, uses the habanera-and it seems to fit like a glove-it's the perfect _feel_ of it at that spot. I notice he uses the first 2 notes as pickups into the start of the chorus, instead of placing them on the beat, as they originally were. Similar to what Bird does with his West End Blues quote I previously mentioned.

Anonymous said...

P.S. -- I played one of my favorite recordings to one of my students today: "Fire Waltz" with Booker & Eric, live at the "Five Spot".

I have completely forgotten about that until we were listening through Booker's masterful, and lengthy solo.

And what appeared out of the blue? A complete quote of the first 8 bars of "How High The Moon", squeezed into 4 bars of "Fire Waltz".

Brilliant! One of the millions of 'brilliant corners' on those three wonderful LP's.

I will invite some friends on a weekend in July, and we will listen to all three LP's in a row.

Steve Provizer said...

We should do that at the same time here in Boston and see what our simultaneous impressions are-or Skype the session!

Anonymous said...

Splendid idea, Steve. I'm skeptical regarding the skype-sound ... I doubt we would have that much fun with that kind of "anti-fidelity" ... ;)

It's such a great recording. When you play it really loudly, you have the impression of sitting right in front of the band.

Or better: The sound of the band has been captured so well, that you think Eric & Booker would play in your living room.

But the piano in the "Five Spot" was very out of tune.

Steve Provizer said...

We can do it via Gchat or something like that-although when I'm high I'm not much of a typist. Maybe I'll hire a secretary for the occasion!

Mal Waldron is not my favorite-