The Fiddle Sessions Jazz Violin Project: Go Tell Aunt Rhody – #9 Sam Bardfeld
By Sam Bardfeld
In my “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” solo, the first thing on my mind was what I wanted the overall shape of the 16 bar solo to look like. The first six bars or so are a statement of the melody using a combination of slightly altered 2-note double-stop voicings and a little rhythmic displacement. Nothing fancy, just enough to keep it interesting and personal.
The 5th and 6th bars mirror the 1st and 2nd with the bottom note of the dyads descending in half-step motion. In the last two bars of the chorus I let it rip with a bop-ish Lydian line.
The second chorus starts (bars 9-12) with a short development of the main four-note descending theme (DDCBb). My variation uses a quarter-note triplet rhythm and quickly morphs from the four-note motif into a three-note pattern. (If this were a longer solo, I would stay on this motif out as long as possible). Harmonically, I stretch the character of the chords a little without altering anything fundamental. Whereas in bar 8 I emphasize the E natural or raised 4th of the Bb chord, in bar 10 I turn the Bb tonic chord into an augmented major 7 by emphasizing the F#.
The last four bars (13-16) again feature a fast bop-ish run. The harmonic rhythm is a little loose – I don’t actually land on the Bb chord until the 3rd beat of bar 15 (with an implied V7 before it).
Both choruses share a similar structural feature with a more controlled, melodic fist half and a less constrained, more note-y second half.
about the author
Sam Bardfeld is a member of Bruce Springsteen’s Sessions Band and is a soloist on We Shall Overcome (Sony, 2006) and Live in Dublin (Sony, 2007). He is a member of the Jazz Passengers and has worked with a long list of jazz, pop, folk and experimental acts including Elvis Costello, John Zorn, Calexico, Johnny Pacheco, Debbie Harry, Ray Anderson, John Cale, and The String Trio of New York among others.
Bardfeld’s own recordings have both earned critical acclaim, including a “4-Star” rating in Downbeat magazine. He also wrote, Latin Violin (Hal Leonard, 2002), widely considered the authoritative work on the Afro-Cuban violin tradition.