new single: Igneous Alloy by AfuriKo feat. Corey Wallace & Alex B. Smith

Back in 2019 (May through November) and then again more recently in July and August of 2020, AfuriKo had the pleasure to invite both Corey A. Wallace (on trombone) and Alex Busby Smith (electric bass) as guest artists as part of our monthly residency at Tomi Jazz (a Japanese bar & grill in Midtown Manhattan that features nightly live jazz). The shows in both trio formats were a blast, and Igneous Alloy, a composition of mine first recorded on Spirit of the Snail (2015), was one of the tunes we played almost every time. So we decided to record a quartet version of it (this time with both Alex and Corey featured on the same track!) to document these good times and make a little something available to those of you who weren’t able to make it out to Tomi’s. The arrangement was refined to suit this particular instrumentation, including trombone melodies, synth counterlines, and a new bass line/riff to support Akiko’s percussion solo. Our friend Laure Lang from the Hauts-de-France region added her grain of salt with a magical mix and crafty video editing. Enjoy!

💽 Support us by getting your digital track on Bandcamp 🙂

Corey A. Wallace – trombone
Alex Busby Smith – electric bass
Akiko Horii – percussion
Jim Funnell – keyboards
Laure Lang – mixing, mastering, and video editing

Recorded in New York, NY in August and September 2020.
Mixed and mastered in Betz, FR in September 2020.

5-note 2-hand voicings: example of a minor II-V resolving to Ima7

The example above is a great exercise to practice some solid sounding 5-note voicings for a minor II-V (resolving to a Ima7 chord, just like in the second half of the bridge to All the Things You Are¹). So buckle up and get ready to take this whole thing through the cycle of fifths in all keys! You might well end up with a brand new, hip sounding chord or two in your toolbox. 🙂

The first chord, F#mi7(b5), is built using what Mark Levine (1989) calls the insen pentatonic (B C E F# A). You can construct it yourself (without looking at the sheet music) by first playing an E below middle C (as the b7 of the chord, that E respects standard low interval limits), then skipping the F#, playing the A, skipping the B, playing the C, and so forth (in other words, playing every other note in the insen pentatonic scale and sounding all the notes together with both hands). As you can see from the example above, I have notated all five inversions of that chord (first ascending, and then descending all the way back to the inversion chosen initially). I find it very beneficial to practice in that fashion in order to create a “sheet of sound” effect (like McCoy Tyner comping for John Coltrane!); having all five versions of the chord under your belt will also enable you to voice lead as smoothly as possible in any situation, taking into account where you’re coming from and where you’re going harmonically. Lastly, if the tune you’re playing calls for dwelling on a certain chord for a somewhat prolonged amount of time (a few bars), there lies a perfect opportunity for you to explore some of those inversions for the sake of variation…

The second chord is a B7 to which we have added a b9, a #9, and a b13. These tensions form a C2 triad (C D G) which when inverted gives us either two perfect fourths stacked on top of each other (D G C), or a Gsus triad (G C D)². Therefore we have an upper structure triad chord (UST) voiced with the aforementioned triad on top (played by the right hand) and the guide tones in the bottom (in the left hand). To be musically consistent with the phrasing used for F#mi7(b5), I have included several “inversions” here too (to be precise: inversions of the top triad in the right hand, and inversions of the guide tones in the left).

The final chord to which this progression resolves is an Ema7 chord (with thensions 9 and 13). The building process here is the exact same as for F#mi7(b5) (with the playing and skipping of every other tone in the scale), except that this time, a “regular”³ anhemitonic (containing no semitones) pentatonic is used (B C# D# F# G#). Notice how each individual voice outlines the pentatonic scale melodically… Neat, huh? I sure like it! (the same thing goes for the insen pentatonic we talked about above).

And there you have it: three solid sounding, 2-hand voicings for your minor II-V resolving to a major I chord. I hope you’ll enjoy practicing this snippet and that it will prove to be a valuable addition to your harmonic vocabulary!

Notes

¹ Click here for a transcription (example #2) of guitarist Remo Palmieri soloing over the bridge of All the Things You Are (Gillespie 1993).

² Click here to see these quartal triads (2 and suspended) in root position and their inversions notated in treble clef.

³ In order to differentiate this particular pentatonic scale from other kinds of 5-note scales (such as the insen pentatonic mentioned earlier), I usually refer to it as “global.” After all, it “has been found in use upon every single continent of the planet Earth.” (Hewitt 2013)

References

Gillespie, Dizzy. Groovin’ High. Savoy 152. 1993 (originally released in 1955).

Hewitt, Michael. “Section 5: Pentatonic Scales.” In Musical Scales of the World, 125-134. The Note Tree, 2013.

Levine, Mark. “Chapter 15: Pentatonic Scales.” In The Jazz Piano Book, 219-237. Petaluma: Sher Music Company, 1989.


Visit http://funnelljazz.eu/lessons/ for detailed information about lessons or click on the image below to book your lesson today:
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Echoes of Cyan

◀️ Clicking on the image to the left will take you to a low resolution JPG file (1st page only). If you’d like to purchase complete sheet music (higher resolution PDF) for “Echoes of Cyan,” please visit the Funnelljazz catalogue page.

“Echoes of Cyan” has not yet officially been released as a single or on an album/EP. Please enjoy the video below! 🔽

Echoes of Cyan is kind of a tribute to the tune Blue in Green by Bill Evans (or Miles Davis?). The 15 bar form for this new composition is somewhat unusual, echoing Blue in Green’s 10 bars, and the (mostly) descending stepwise melody reminiscent of the famous ballad on Kind of Blue (1959).

Franck Vaillant – drums
Takashi Sugawa – bass

Jim Funnell – piano & composition

Recorded in Tokyo, Paris, and New York in July 2020.
©2020 Jim Funnell (ASCAP, SACEM)

AfuriKo livestream from Sunnyside / July 1, 3PM

AfuriKo on “SoundCellar 2013”

The track “Oleleko” from AfuriKo’s album Tao was featured on SoundCellar 2013, a Spotify playlist put together by the South West England venue for their 10-year anniversary. SoundCellar is “a haven for fans of non mainstream music in the atmospheric setting of the Blue Boar cellar bar in Poole, Dorset.” The playlist highlights bands and artists that have visited the venue during the year 2013.

Chakarera pa’ mi hermano

◀️ Clicking on the image to the left will take you to a low resolution JPG file (1st page only). If you’d like to purchase complete sheet music (higher resolution PDF) for “Chakarera pa’ mi hermano,” please visit the Funnelljazz catalogue page.

A recording of “Chakarera pa’ mi hermano” has been released on On the Far Side (2014). Enjoy the audio/videos below! 🔽





AfuriKo on the Jazz Hole Live

Tracks from two AfuriKo concerts (both recorded in early 2020) were featured on The Jazz Hole Live with Linus, a show offering live sets by different artists each month and aired on BTRtoday.

Jazz a la Calle is an international cultural movement that culminates in a festival held each year in Mercedes, Uruguay, and boasts artists from all over South America and beyond.

Jazz At The Lescar is a weekly jazz night in Sheffield, England, ran by Jez Matthews and his team (Jazz Promoter of the Year in the 2018 Parliamentary Jazz Awards).

BTRtoday‘s mission is to inform and impact their audience in a positive way by identifying artists and cultural trends on the rise and contextualizing them alongside those that may be more established.

The Jazz Hole, hosted by sought-after New York City clarinetist and saxophonist Linus Wyrsch, presents the music of new talents from inside and outside of the New York circuit, and every once in a while, Linus is able to sneak in a major jazz artist, sometimes accompanied with a short interview (John Clayton, Lew Tabackin, Fred Hersch, Sue Mingus, Steve Gadd, Jojo Mayer, Gerald Clayton, Javon Jackson, the President of Resonance Records George Klabin, Sofia Rei, Sharel Cassity, Mark Sherman, Harvie S, Jean-Michel Pilc, Dafnis Prieto, Randy Johnston, Helen Sung, Gregorio Uribe and many others).

(For access to all BTRtoday shows that feature AfuriKo, click here to view AfuriKo’s artist page on their website.)

“Jazz non scientifiquement prouvé” 2 – Word Out on Radio Robert

Six tracks from Jim Funnell’s Word Out latest album Spirit of the Snail (2015) were aired on Radio Robert on April 30, 2020. The Parisian station, created during the COVID-19 pandemic and operated by the team at 59 Rivoli (a venue known for its exhibitions, performances, and artists-in-residence programs) notably offers playlists and podcasts. Their daily jazz show “Jazz non scientifiquement prouvé, la playlist du Pr Raoult” airs at 7PM GMT+2.