See Steve's Hand-Written Solo Transcription
Pat Martino's solo on:
"It's All Right With Me"(Cole Porter)
Normally, I would never repeat a portion of my text verbatim here at KHAN'S KORNER, but, considering that this particular transcription comes from the same album on which "The Breeze and I" appears, the information, from a historical perspective, remains the same. And so, in case someone has not read what I wrote at that page, I will hope that this becomes just as beneficial.
It is almost hard to believe that in 1976, Pat Martino recorded his one true Fusion LP as leader. It was titled, "JOYOUS LAKE"(Warner Bros.) and featured: Delmar Brown(Keys); Mark Leonard(El. Bass); and Kenwood Dennard(Drums). The textures and the high energy levels were very much in tune with the music produced during the decade of the '70s. However, in sharp contrast to Pat's previous work, here he experimented with other guitar sonorities and tone colors which included: some overdrive, a touch-wah, and a guitar synth. These sounds are in addition to his 'normal' jazz guitar sound. I only mention this recording because, just one year later, on December 21st, 1977, Martino found himself recording with one of his old bandleaders, saxophonist Willis Jackson for his recording, "BAR WARS"(Muse), which features: Charles Earland(Organ); Idris Muhammad(Drums); and Buddy Caldwell(Conga). The stark contrast between the music and Pat's tone on this recording is what is so striking.
The Joe Fields produced session was recorded at Van Gelder Studios, with the great Rudy Van Gelder, of course, behind the console. Perhaps, this alone accounts for the fact that Pat's tone, where 'pure' jazz guitar is concerned, is just superb, as you will hear when you listen to the soundclip offered here. All Fusion experiments aside, it just seems that Pat Martino was born to sound like this, to play like this. As virtually everyone knows, Pat plays with super heavy gauge strings and a very dark, full-bodied tone. But, the art of recording is very different from the sound which might be acceptable in a club or a bar. This is why, in my opinion, the best recordings of Pat's sound were captured by engineers like Richard Alderson and, the aforementioned, Rudy Van Gelder. Aside from their audio expertise, it is my sense that they were probably able to convince Pat to brighten-up his tone before recording. This is a most important detail! The reason being, and I often have to be reminded of this as well, is that when one gets to the mixing stage, it is far easier to 'warm-up' the sound, make an instrument a little darker sounding, than it is to 'brighten-up' the sound. If you are adding treble frequencies to your mix, you are also adding noise to the sonic palette, and no one wants that!!! So, in my humble opinion, even though this recording, as a sideman, was made some 10 years after those that brought Pat Martino such acclaim, he sounds as good here as you will hear anywhere.
In the great tradition of the organ trio, or the organ trio plus saxophone, there's something about tunes in minor keys that just make them fit perfectly into this format. Perhaps it's because it becomes so easy to give them a treatment where they would resemble a minor blues? A tune like Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me," which first appeared in his 1953 Broadway musical, "CAN-CAN," becomes a perfect fit here. Performed at a brisk and very swingin' tempo, with special kudos to organist Earland and drummer Muhammad, this [A]-[A2]-[B]-[A3] form is a little different in length because, even in cut-time, each section is 16-bars long, and not the usual 8-bars. Also, if you've ever heard the song performed by a vocalist, there's always an 8-bar [Tag] to the end of [A3], but here, in this interpretation, that [Tag] is not played during the melodies, nor as part of the solo form. On this recording, each player is given 2 choruses.
As Pat Martino enters Chorus 1 of his solo, picking-up where Willis Jackson leaves him, the nature of his opening lines, during the first 6 bars, reveals that he is playing through all the potential minor oriented changes that Charles Earland might be playing by using C Dorian[C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb]. The most revealing evidence of this kind of thinking is the presence of the A-natural in bar 2. If we are to include bars 7-8, Pat has played mostly chord tones through the first half of [A].
| Cm7 / / / | C7(alt.) / / / | Fm7 / / / | / / / / |
Bars 9-12 could be approached in any number of ways, and you might expect to find a Gm7b5 in bar 11, but as they play the tune here, Earland is using Ebmaj7. When you examine the notes Martino plays in 11-12, they are all related to Eb major[Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D], and they sound fine. As the section comes to a close in bars 13-16, the most interesting aspect for your improvisational arsenal is to see how Pat anticipates the iim7b5-V in bar 15 by actually ignoring the Dm7b5 area, and playing right through it by using G7(alt.) oriented lines. If you follow his line beginning in bar 14 from the B-natural-D-F to Ab(b9) and Bb(#9), you will find many of the tones from the G altered dominant scale[G, Ab, Bb, B, Db, Eb, F], except that he sticks to D-naturals in both bars 15 and 16.
[A2] continues with an elongated C Dorian line that includes two Cm9 arpeggios, and what is important to note is that both of them avoid the usage of the root, C-natural. In bar 1 of the section, you have Eb-G-Bb-D, and in bar 2, you see D-Eb-G-Bb-D before C-natural appears in a descending scale passage. Bar 5 sees Martino using another linear device, certainly familiar to him, where the line begins on a high D-natural at the 10th fret, but as the line descends in bar 6, notice how he observes the C7 chord with notes from the C altered dominant scale[C, Db, Eb, E, F#/Gb, Ab/G#, Bb ]. As he arrives at the ivm7, Fm7, he puts to use more F Dorian lines with chromaticism from the language of Jazz. Pay particular attention to the configuration in bars 7-8, where the line turns from Eb-C-C#-D, this is a very typical passage over m7 chords and dominant 7th chords, as it is a way of surrounding the 3rd of the dominant 7th chord. Here, D-natural is the 3rd of Bb7. You can't help but hear the similarities to a minor blues as the first 8-bars of any [A] section goes by. The turnaround and eventual cadence during bars 11-15 also reveal some pretty classic Martinoisms. Over the Ebmaj7 chord in bar 11, the short ascending chromatic blues-oriented line should be familiar to all his most ardent fans. Over the C7(alt.) chord in bar 12, you have a line beginning on the 3rd(E) of the chord, followed by an arpeggio that ends-up accentuating both the b9(Db) and the #9(Eb). In the Jazz language this is most typical. During the final ii-V-Imaj in bars 13-15, again, notice how Pat surrounds the 3rd(D) of the Bb7 chord! This line configuration is a rich part of the tradition.
The [B] section of Cole Porter's "It's All Right with Me" offers some really interesting improvising challenges, because of the presence of the descending diminished chords. In bars 1-4 of the section you have Bb°7 for 2 bars, and then A°7 for 2 bars. From the beginnings of the genre of Jazz, players have wrestled with the problems presented by soloing over diminished chords. First and foremost, the whole-step-half-step diminished scale lends itself to any variety of scale-oriented patterns, patterns of every form imaginable. And that's the problem!!! Every player seeks to play lines where he/she will not sound like they are just playing a bunch of memorized patterns. Even when you begin to explore all the triads(both major and minor) as possibilities, the lines can still resemble patterns, but, at least this approach can serve to break things up a bit. In bars 1-2, over the Bb°7 where you would apply the Bb whole-step-half-step diminished scale[Bb, C, Db, Eb, E, F#, G, A], I have highlighted the tones from that scale that Pat Martino applies. If I had spelled the Db as a C#, you could view this pattern as C#-E-C-natural-A. In other words, a line configuration that embraces both the major and the minor triad. If you explore all the notes within the Bb whole-step-half-step diminished scale, you will find the following triads: Amaj/Amin; Cmaj/Cmin; Ebmaj/Ebmin; F#maj/F#min. These are your possibilities. In bars 3-4, over the A°7, the 'A' whole-step-half-step diminished scale[A, B, C, D, Eb, F, F#, G#/Ab] is your principal option. Here you can see that Martino only plays the notes A & B. Though I've chosen to label this chord as Ab°7, following in the sequence, it is really functioning as part of Bb7(b9), the V chord to our eventual resolution to Ebmaj7, the relative major of C minor. Here, you can use the Bb 1/2-step/whole-step diminished scale[Bb, B, Db, D, E, F, G, Ab], because you're headed to a major chord. Of course, using the Bb altered dominant scale[Bb, B/Cb, Db, D, E, F#, Ab] will always work too. Using the diminished scale in this case gives you the option of the sound of the natural 13th(G), which is a great note as you're headed towards Eb major. As the Bb°7 reappears at bar 9, Pat plays the same motif that you heard in bar 1, while adding two more scale tones. In bars 11-12 over the A°7, you see the usage of more diminished scale tones. Finally, over the Ab°7[Bb7(b9)], it is again my sense, because of the presence of G-naturals, that he is applying the Bb 1/2-step/whole-step diminished scale, as opposed to the Bb altered dominant scale. From a guitar perspective, if you view the notes: B-D-F as part of G7, and look at the diminished cycle in m3rds: Bb7-Db7-E7-G7, you can see that this would lay perfectly on the instrument when played around the 3rd fret. Patterns such as this are 1,000 times easier on the guitar than they might be for a pianist! In bars 15-16, even though you see an Eb on the 1st beat of the bar, the root of Ebmaj7, the overall sense is that he's relating to these 2 bars as if it's all G7(alt.). In bar 15, notice the presence of B(3rd), D(5th), and Ab(b9) of G7(b9). In bar 16, he walks right up the G altered dominant scale[G, Ab, Bb, B, C#, D#, F] from Eb(D#) to resolve to Cm7, and the last [A] section of Chorus 1.
As the final [A3] section arrives for Chorus 1, Martino plays a characteristically syncopated figure putting to use notes from the C minor pentatonic[C, Eb, F, G, Bb] which, of course, is closely related to the C blues scale. In bar 4, he forcefully plays the G-C double-stop, which again, is often found in the blues or Soul Jazz language of most organ trios. As the changes move towards the Fm7(iv) chord, the kinship with the minor blues is again obvious. In bar 6, notice his usage of both the #4(Ab/G#) and the b9(Db) as they relate to C7. During bars 9-10, over the Fm7-Bb7, he uses one his common arpeggio devices over such ii-Vs to vault to his high-G, the highest note during this solo, by beginning on his G-natural at the 12th fret on the G-string and ascending: G-Ab-C-Eb-G. Once he has resolved to Ebmaj7, notice that you never again see an Eb. This is as if he's applying the G minor pentatonic[G, Bb, C, D, F] which gives you virtually all the beautiful color tones. In bar 12, you see a high Db, a blue note, that gives us the kind of bluesy feeling you want to have in such a context. He closes out this chorus by riding a Bb towards one final double-stop F-Bb, more related to Eb major than to Cm7.
As [A] of Chorus 2 begins, Pat takes a decidedly more bluesy approach, especially through the first 9 bars. Bars 5-9 see him riding a G-natural which is always preceded by its chromatic lower neighbor F#, and played with great rhythmic precision. That is certainly a hallmark of Pat Martino's playing from his earliest days to the present. In bar 10, notice that, over the Bb7 chord, there is a sense of Fm7 with the same ascending arpeggio configuration: G-Ab-C-Eb-G, minus the root of Fm7(9), the F-natural. In bars 13-14, his phrase involves another linear idea that should always be part of your vocabulary, and that is presenting, over a minor 7th chord, the descending inner voice movement from the Root(F)-#7(E)-b7(Eb)-6th(D). Just follow his line down from the high Ab in bar 13. One of the common substitutions used for the iim7b5 chord, here Dm7b5, is to turn it into an altered dominant 7th chord, which here would be D7(alt.). Pat's line alludes to this briefly while passing over a Gb(F#) and you could interpret it just as I am suggesting. Bar 16 sees him putting to use C harmonic minor[C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, B] which is often expected when cadencing to im7(Cm7). The interval that often gives this away is when you see or hear the #5(Ab) going to the #7(B-natural). If you viewed this in terms of G7(alt.), you are putting to use the b9(Ab) and the 3rd(B).
In bar 1 of [A2], you will see one of the classic line configurations over any minor 7th chord for the Jazz musician. Here, over Cm7, notice how the line begins from G-natural and goes up 1(G)-2(A)-3(B)-5(D). The pivotal note is the usage of B-natural, the major 7th and not Bb the note that you would always expect to find over a C Dorian area. Again, it is my contention that this is not the usage of C melodic minor, but more the usage of B-natural as a chromatic lower neighbor to C, the root. In bar 6, over the C7 chord, which is headed to an Fm7, you will notice Pat's usage of F harmonic minor[F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, E]. Again, you see the all important notes E(3rd)-Db(b9) as he descends to resolution on a G-natural, the 9th of Fm7. As his lines cascade up and down, there is an interesting moment in bar 15 over the Ebmaj7 chord when he plays a Db. I would not consider this to be a blue note in this context. In my view, it could be justified in one of two ways:  the Db could have been a part of a Gm7b5 chord, which could have easily been used in that bar of this tune, or  he is viewing bars 15-16, this time around, as one extended C7(alt.) chord, and the Db is, of course, the b9 of that chord. The section closes out with the usage of basically two notes, C to Eb with a G and a Bb thrown in at the end of the phrase. Sometimes, over such a ii-V-I, a player can create a bluesy feeling by using the minor pentatonic built upon the 6th degree of the major scale. So, for Eb major, that would be the C minor pentatonic[C, Eb, F, G, Bb]. And of course, you see all of those notes except the F-natural.
As letter [B] makes its appearance in Chorus 2, just as he did the prior time, Martino uses the same line configuration over the Bb°7 chord, and focuses on A-B again over the A°7. In bar 4, though the actual notes can be hard to discern, I like his usage of the sweeped Abm9 chord. What is that doing there? Remember that over an A°7 and its diminished scale[A, B/Cb, C, D, Eb, F, F#, G#/Ab], you will find the following triads: Abmaj/Abmin; Bmaj/Bmin; Dmaj/Dmin; Fmaj/Fmin. So, there's nothing unusual about finding an Ab minor triad used as a line here. In bar 9, as the Bb°7 appears again, you see a much more linear approach to these bars. Apart from the arpeggio: E-Db-Bb on beats 3-4 of bar 9, you also see notes from its diminished scale [Bb, C, Db, Eb, E, F#, G, A] in addition to what I would describe as some chromatic neighboring tones. Over the A°7, he vaults upwards using a simple diminished arpeggio: F#-A-C, but from there, things take a wild turn with the conclusion of the phrase using a bluesy lick that alludes to E major. Parts of that triad would not be a stranger over this particular diminished 7th chord, A°7, but the presence of the E-natural could come into question. It all depends upon what sounds good to him, or what sounds good to you! Over bars 13-14, the Bb7b9 chord or Ab°7, again he starts with an arpeggio, D(3rd)-F(5th)-Ab(7th)-B(b9), and he appears to resolve to Eb major in bar 14, before the actual chord arrives in bar 15.
The final [A3] section of the solo, begins with another forceful, aggressive double-stop G-C on beat 2 of bar 1, followed by a bluesy phrase in bars 2-3. From beat 3 of bar 4 all the way through to the cadence on Ebmaj7 in bar 11, Pat Martino's sinewy elongated Bebop line is filled with the kind idiosyncratic chromaticism you would expect from any seasoned Jazz player. The most consonant part of the passage occurs in bars 9-11 as you could view all those notes as being part of Eb major[Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D]. There is not a single chromatic note during those 3 bars!!! The solo comes down for its last 4 bars with yet another double-stop, this one more of the blues variety, and played at the 6th fret by bending up an F#/Gb on your B-string until it almost reaches G-natural while holding a Bb on top. Such a device is elementary to virtually any and all guitarists, from beginners on up. The final phrase is also part of the blues language, even though, apart from some slurred grace-notes, there really are not any blue notes present.
Though I have stated before that these transcriptions were all done during my college years at U.C.L.A.('65-'69), this particular one is the last of the 9 transcriptions that did not appear in my book "PAT MARTINO: The Early Years." And so, as we close, I think that it's worth mentioning that, if you are now inclined to purchase this particular Willis Jackson CD, you should know that you will also find Bonus Tracks of an Alternate Take of both "It's All Right With Me" and "The Breeze and I." I can tell you that both of those performances are excellent as well. Usually there's an obvious reason why one take is chosen over another, but, as I was listening, it seems to me that both takes were good, and that, for whatever reason, Willis Jackson and the original producer, chose the one that appeared on the original LP. So, these bonus tracks are really a true bonus!
I just wanted to take a personal moment here and now to thank everyone who has written me via the CONTACT STEVE page to inquire about my well-being in the wake of all the damages inflicted by HURRICANE SANDY. I assure everyone that I'm fine, and that my particular neighborhood on the West Side of Manhattan was not greatly affected. However, the lower 3rd of this great island city was devastated by these events, and New York City and its five boroughs will be adversely affected for at least a decade, even if there will be the appearance of things being "back to normal." But, the residents of New Jersey, the southern shore of Long Island, and upstate New York will be feeling this for a long, long time. So, it's important to send all the positive energy their way, and the hope that things can be better for them as soon as is possible.
As we have now arrived at November, 2012, we certainly hope that everyone has a very warm, cozy, toasty, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Beyond those sentiments, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Joyous Holiday Season, and the best of everything in the coming year of 2013.
[Photo of a very young, Pat Martino on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, NJ
Perhaps just a few years too late for a shot as an extra on "BOARDWALK EMPIRE"?
Photo of Charles Earland ca. 1972]