Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wes Montgomery | Impressions



Here's a clip of Wes Montgomery ripping it up on the John Coltrane tune Impressions.

From Coltrane's 'modal' period, Impressions is in an A-A-B-A format -- Dm7 (16 bars), Ebm7 (8 bars), Dm7 (8 bars). Compare this progression against Coltrane's Giant Steps which is a veritable minefield of key-center modulations.

The challenge of this tune -- other than keeping things interesting over the repetitive progression -- is not getting lost when the last 8 bars of Dm7 turns around to the top of the tune, starting out again with 16 bars of Dm7. In effect, that's a continuous 24 bars of Dm7 from the second 'A' back to the first 'A' section!

Wes' solo is, as always, a swingin' study in bebop lines.

He starts his solo with an Fmaj9 type triadic idea (some might want to analyze this as a Dm7sus idea), going on to play Dm7 type lines.

Wes seemed to love superimposing the relative major on minor, and vice versa. Freely superimposing his arpeggios in this way, which he extended to the 7th and 9th degrees, gave his playing a certain modern-ness. This technique also gave him a wider palette of sounds to work with, especially over harmonically static progressions.



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