Technical Notes on ♥️ Bird, V


More notes on the compositions that appear on <3 BIRD (see part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and part 4 here).

13. Arc's Peel

Arc’s Peel is based on Parker’s studio improvisations on “Scrapple.”

"Arc's Peel" is the last of the compositions originally composed for The Jazz Gallery's Lockdown Sessions, Vol. 33 to make it onto <3 Bird. As with "Cheroot" and "Mohawk," the initial strategy was to look at the two studio take solos overlaid and to identify any interesting patterns or musical effects that might suggest a direction for a composition:
From my notes, I see that I was interested in playing with the idea of echoes or accumulations, as there are a number of phrases or shapes that seem to be handed off between the two improvisations (marked on the above as "echo"). There are also moments where the directions of lines either criss or diverge (notated in red with arrows), which I wanted to highlight for contrapuntal motion. 

I selected 10 passages from the solo (both voices), then flattened the rhythms into straight eighthes and quarter notes, and sequenced them to create two independent but complementary voices, adding up to 26 beats (or 6.5 bars of 4/4). After being played once, the treble and bass voices trade melodies, so that the entire sequence becomes 13 measures long. There are occasional moments of octave displacement, which explains some of the larger, un-Bird-like jumps. 

The entire melody is played twice, with a short coda. You'll notice that the groove changes between the first and second repeat, which is another instance of making 4/4 "not 4/4." The first go-through breaks up the metrical scheme into mixed meter, so the articulation of time in the drums reflects this shapeshifting, moment-to-moment quality; the second go-through is in 4/4, allowing the time to settle more before a quick final passage.

14. Talck-overseed-netes (a.k.a. Klacto-veereds-tene)

Talck-overseed-nete is a 5/4 arrangement of “Klact-oveeseds-tene,” which Peter Losin has argued is actually “Klact-oveereds-tene” based on analysis of Parker’s handwriting.

I'm thankful to Ken Schaphorst, who was a teacher of mine at New England Conservatory, for pointing out Max Roach's striking drum fill on the intro to "Klacto-veereds-tene." As with "Du Yi's Choir" and "Schaaple," what could have been a throw-away figure on the introduction becomes the foundation for the new arrangement or composition:
One way of analyzing this 16-beat fill is as a 3/4 phrase, two 5/4 phrases, and the first 3/4 phrase again. For my arrangement, I isolated the 5/4 figure (starting from beat 2 of the second measure) and repeated it three times to create a 15 beat figure. Similarly, the rest of the arrangement follows a five-beat subdivision of some kind; the introduction horn figure, which is normally 8 bars long, is now a sequence of 4/4, 4/4, 4/4, and 3/4 (15 beats long) twice, which recurs again on the bridge (three bars of 4/4 and a bar of 3/4, adding up to 15 beats).

The A sections are felt in conventional 5/4, but the harmonic rhythm is compressed so that the A sections only last 6 bars; instead of stretching out the phrase by expanding the meter, I try to compensate with this compression, so the A sections are 30 beats long compared to the original 32. In a way, this is the most straightforward arrangement on the entire album, which serves to close it out on a not-overly complicated note.