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The Fiddle Sessions Jazz Violin Project: Go Tell Aunt Rhody – #5 Graham Clark

July 2011 No Comment

By Graham Clark


The entire solo is played with swung quavers, heavy on the second and fourth beats of the bar. I start with a simple bluesy  riff begun on the sixth which is repeated with slight variations, in the manner of, say, Count Basie. This sets up an accessible swinging  beginning to the solo. 

Bar seven brings a be-bop triplet to come to the end of the eight bar chorus, which simply restates bars four and six, but a fourth up.

Then I begin with a slightly folky line that leads into another be-boppy phrase at bar eleven  that includes the augmented fifth over the F 7 chord.


That gives me a way to lead down chromatically to a Charlie Parker reference in bars 13  and 14, followed by a nod to Eric Dolphy’s “Out to Lunch”  at bar 17 in which  the Db brings out a more bluesy sound over the Bb. The final  four bars depict the rhythm of the words “Gooooooo, Tell Aunt Rho-ody, that her old grey goose -  is dead”, sung to a descending Bb minor pentatonic 

Note that I play an Eb major seventh over the F7 chord three out of six times, which builds  an F 13 when you add the notes of the solo to the chord.


I didn’t feel that this simple tune needed to be taken too far out, just given a hint of what else might happen. I think it lends itself to a more bluesy feel than a “clever” modern approach. 

I would bow all this with separate bows, (I might slur the last note of bar sixteen over the barline to the first note of seventeen) and tend to play a bit behind the beat, especially bar eleven – that really wants to be taken quite late, coming back on the beat on the and of four before  bar twelve. Bar 19 also gets the behind the beat treatment. I smudge certain blue notes.

 CLARK-Rhody5.mp3 | Printable Version


about the author


Graham Clark has been working as an improvising violinist since 1982, and has played in a wide variety of contexts, from free improvisation through jazz and post bop, to salsa, as well as working with many indie singer-songwriters. Amongst the people he has worked with are Andy Sheppard, Keith Tippet, Elbow, Lamb, Jah Wobble, Daevid Allen and Gong, Mark Feldman, and Jean Claude Vannier. His website is at www.grahamviolin.com


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