I've been thinking about how great musicians can break all the rules. Blues tunes seem to be all the same when it comes to the simple but moving harmonies. But one of the bluesiest Blues ever played on clarinet was by Bechet and called called 'Blues in Thirds'. Just Sidney Bechet and Earl Hines the great pianist, recorded in 1940. Listen to it on Youtube and you'll agree it's a powerful Blues. But get a transcription of it and you'll see that your ears (or Bechet) have been playing tricks on you: where are the sevenths that characterise instrumental blues? Nowhere. Usually you hear those strong sevenths in the second and fifth bars. Not here! And yet the bluesy power of Bechet's playing is undeniable, and it's a 12-bar. It's a fantastic demonstration of how Blues can be played without Blues harmonies.
One of the regulars at the Two Brewers is a guy called Chris who is a great Blues singer and harpist. I love it when he sits in. He often sings and plays "Careless Love", and it's so bluesy.' Careless Love is one of those tunes I should have put in my list to you the other day, but forgot. No bluesy sevenths to speak of, just a simple 8-bar theme, but transformed by a good Blues player like Chris - and he likes me to put in a chorus on soprano. When I do I always think of Bechet. Almost a hundred years ago now Bechet recorded some of the greatest instrumental Blues ever: starting with Kansas City Man Blues in 1924 through to the King Jazz records in the 1940s.
It's often been said of some of the greatest jazz musicians: 'he made everything he ever played sound like a Blues.'
X:1 T:Blues in Thirds M:4/4 L:1/8 K:G R: Sax %pad=leonwool,new-orleans-jazz% | "G" AGAG B B3\ | "Am" BABA "D7" d d3\ | "G" ed ed BB BB-\ | "G7" B2 (3ABA G4| | "C" AGAG B B3\ | "Cm" AG AG B B3\ | "G" AG AG "D7" dd D2\ | "Em7" z2 \ F1/2G1/2B1/2d1/2 "E7" fe E2| | "A7" BABA e e3\ | "D7" BABA dd B2\ | "G C7" G8|"G" -G4 z4||