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We usually do the James Brown fast version of Night Train, but I'm working on the ultra slow original Jimmy Forrest version and I have some questions for you guys.

1. How does Forrest get such a long fall/gliss at the end of the beginning phrases in the head? I can't hear it: Does he start with the high D and go down or does he start lower and go up then down?

2. I also can't tell whether the first note in the three riffs that make up the head are the same of not. The first one's D, but does he play D each time? Sometimes it sounds like the same note, sometimes it sounds different--maybe D then C then...E?

3. I love the bridge or pedal section--I'm not sure what to call it--but I can't quite figure out the underlying chord structure. What is the right "bandstand" word for that pulse rhythm?

4. Is there a good transcription of the whole song as played by Forrest around?

5. I have a Fake Book with lyrics: does anybody ever sing Night Train?

Cheers,

Rory
 

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That fall is very hard to do just right. It's the result of a combination of lipping down and glissing, from the D.

The high note is a bent note; you're having trouble hearing it because he bends it precisely and differently (from the d) through the progression. You'll need to find your own route here: make it sound good, and don't worry to much about copying Forrest exactly -- you'll make yourself crazy.

I've heard "Night Train" sung. IMHO, it shouldn't be. If the singer wants to do it, tie her/him up until the tune is over.:shock:
 

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Curtis Swift (saxsolos) has done the transcription of the Jimmy Forrest version. His transcription shows the chords in tenor pitch.

Have a look at: http://www.saxsolos.com/

He charges 50c a sheet and all his transcriptions are very good.

Isn't that rhythm usually known as a shuffle ? Works really well at this slow tempo - it's really insistent.

Rhys
 

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rleitch said:
We usually do the James Brown fast version of Night Train, but I'm working on the ultra slow original Jimmy Forrest version and I have some questions for you guys.

1. How does Forrest get such a long fall/gliss at the end of the beginning phrases in the head? I can't hear it: Does he start with the high D and go down or does he start lower and go up then down?

2. I also can't tell whether the first note in the three riffs that make up the head are the same of not. The first one's D, but does he play D each time? Sometimes it sounds like the same note, sometimes it sounds different--maybe D then C then...E?

3. I love the bridge or pedal section--I'm not sure what to call it--but I can't quite figure out the underlying chord structure. What is the right "bandstand" word for that pulse rhythm?

4. Is there a good transcription of the whole song as played by Forrest around?

5. I have a Fake Book with lyrics: does anybody ever sing Night Train?

Cheers,

Rory
Hey Rory, great questions. I'll take a stab and then others can chime in to correct what I say, if necessary. First, I usually play the uptempo JB version with my band also. But I'm thinking of adding the slower, more swinging version as an alternate.

Ok, I'm speaking in the tenor key here (key of Bb on the tenor):

1) He does a great job on that gliss; what I hear is a fall, down from the D, slurring down the scale.

2) The first note is a D (on the I7 chord), but not necessarily right on pitch. He tends to slur up into it from somewhere between C# & D (see Joey the Saint's article in the Blues Teaching Resource--this is a perfect example of what he refers to). On the IV7 & V7 chords the first note is a C#, but again he doesn't necessarily hit it dead on. You're better off using the C# as a starting point, though, on the IV & V chords. The second part of each phrase (after the gliss) hits the D again.

3) I'm not sure what you mean by the "bridge." If you mean the third time through, he is playing something different on the first 4 bars, then returns to the "signature" theme again on the IV chord. If you mean his solo, he is playing over the 12-bar blues changes. The underlying harmony throughout is a 12-bar blues. It could be harmonized in a few different ways as long as it sticks to the 12-bar format. For example, in bar 9 the chordal instrument could (and maybe should) play an F7+9 chord.

4) I bet there is a transcription somewhere, but I don't know where to find it. If you spend some time working with the recording, you'll get it, though. Actually I think I've seen something pretty close to what Jimmy plays written out in a real book somewhere.

5) I've never heard anyone sing it. That might be a great idea!

Edit: I just saw reedsplinter's post (it came in while I was writing this); maybe it's not such a good idea to sing it, lol.
 

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I believe vocalist Dinah Washinton had a hit with 'Night Train'.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone:D


Here are the lyrics, sung according to the original sax head melody

Night Train, that took my baby so far away
Night Train, that took my baby so far away
Tell her I love her more and more every day

Night Train, that took my baby so far away
Night Train, that took my baby so far away
Tell her I love her more and more every day

My mother said I'd lose her if I ever did abuse her
Should have listened (uh uh uh ;) )
Now I have learned my lesson, my sweet baby was a blessing
Should have listened (uh uh uh)

Night Train, your whistle tore my heart in two
Night Train, your whistel tore my heart in two
She's gone and I don't know what I'm gonna do.


Maybe i'll sing Night Train, then Red Top, and I'll follow that with a rousing rendition of Mercy Mercy Mercy:D

But seriously,

Hey JL, about that "bridge" part. Yeah, it's not a bridge, but rather what you might call his solo, starting around 1:57 where the whole rhythm changes to a pulse and the chords sound different. You'd definitely have to tell the rhythm section what to do there.

Speaking of which, what is the drummer actually doing on that recording? He's mainly keeping time with his cymbal, but is he using his hand rather than a drum stick to get that bongo-like sound.

I'd love to play this, but I fear the super slow tempo wouldn't last the much longer than the first chorus and there's probably no way I could get the band to play that mellow.

What a great performance though--how come Jimmy Forrest never got bigger?

Rory
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Well, she can sing anything. She had a hit singing The Book of Mormon, back in 1959.
Oh, oh, hakukani, Satchel Paige may have been right. Don't look back, Reedsplinter is a newbie, but he hit the gate at 20 posts/day! Not to mention the fact that the Dinah Washington post is right up there with the classics!! Nice work.:D

Welcome to the forum AZ boy (I mean boy in the diminutive sense as 57, even a VERY new 57 is still a kid to some of us). A belated happy birthday to you. Have you checked out the thread on "get togethers" yet?
 

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rleitch said:
Hey JL, about that "bridge" part. Yeah, it's not a bridge, but rather what you might call his solo, starting around 1:57 where the whole rhythm changes to a pulse and the chords sound different. You'd definitely have to tell the rhythm section what to do there.

I'd love to play this, but I fear the super slow tempo wouldn't last the much longer than the first chorus and there's probably no way I could get the band to play that mellow.

What a great performance though--how come Jimmy Forrest never got bigger?

Rory
Rory, ok I see which part you mean now. That whole 12-bar solo will fit right over standard blues changes, with a "quick IV"-a IV chord in the second measure. In this case it could be a IVmin chord in the second measure, but I think IV7 would work also. This is one of the cool things about a blues. You can find certain phrases that will repeat over each 4-bar segment. One thing the rhythm section could do in bar 9-10 is play IV7 over both bars (and I think they are doing that on the Jimmy Forrest version), instead of V7-IV7, but the latter will work also. Listen to the King Curtis version. He plays almost the same thing, but more up-tempo, and I'm pretty sure I hear typical 12-bar blues changes throughout.

As to telling the rhythm section what to do, I'd just play the recording for them. I'm not a drummer, but even I could play that beat ("1 2 3") in the section you are talking about. I don't know exactly how he gets that muted effect. Maybe with a mallet? Or is he just playing the kick drum?

You could play this a bit more up-tempo and still keep the feel going, if your band would prefer doing it that way.

Jimmy Forrest was a great player all around. He played with Duke Ellington (where he got the tune we are discussing), was a good jazz player, and was one of the architechs of jump/R&B tenor sax. Get the cd "Night Train" and check out his playing on there.
 
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