Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,580 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm helping a friend by playing in his senior college recital next month (in a jazz quintet). Everything is pretty straight-forward, except we are playing Night Dreamer and he'd like me to start the tune off with a "big, elaborate cadenza" that would end about 3/4 of the way through the form with the rhythm section coming in to start the tune.

Question I have is, I've never played a cadenza, so I'm not sure if there any rules I need to follow (?)

Should I stick to the changes so that what I play at least makes some kind of sense with the song I'm playing?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,416 Posts
The cadenza doesn't follow any particular chord changes although it should be 'flavored' toward the main music. The purpose of it is to show off and segue into a short introductory section that will key in the musicians to start, like the first few notes of the piece in tempo. This must be practiced or at least shown to the musicians so they recognize the lead-in. What you're planning so far sounds like it will be very embarrassing when they don't know when to come in. I think your 'friend' has pranked you into sacrificing yourself to take the pressure off of him. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
I can't tell you if there are 'cadenza rules', although I've never heard of any. My own approach to that song would be first to listen to Wayne Shorter's original recording of it; it starts with the piano playing a short cadenza on 3 chords unrelated to the form and it's changes. I'd do that too, probably not necessarily exactly what the piano did.

Perhaps something that starts with G-7; play low Bb as a pedal tone, or maybe G instead, or maybe alternate; with elaboration between the pedals that illustrates the chord while introducing a motif. The motif, for me, is usually going to be something from Stravinsky, Copland, Holst, or other 20th century classical composers that I like.

Then to Bb-7, again with the pedal, reiterate the motif, maybe add a 2nd one.

Then to A-7b5 with the same kind of treatment; then to D7+9+5, ending with a phrase that's picked out in advance, telling the rhythm section what it is, so everyone's on the same page on when the candenza is going to be over. Rhythm kicks themselves into the groove.

That's just me though. For an audio example of great improvised cadenza playing, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWbBHmdNbB4, Bob Mintzer playing with the Danish Radio Big Band on his composition "Flying". He is running through the changes after introducing himself with some other material, starting at 7:30. In fact, I'd guess they're playing from my transcription of his hand-written score -- the chart and parts had been sort of lost to time I think, but I wanted to play it and offered to put it into Sibelius for him for free so we could have it. I met Bob a few months ago when I went to see him with Yellowjackets -- great guy, very nice, and what a player!
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top