“Tree of Light” is one of the last compositions I completed in 2020 (hence the silver Christmas tree in the YouTube video) and the very last one Akiko and I filmed and recorded in our Sunnyside apartment (Queens, New York) before moving to Reykjavík (Iceland) for a few months. Two of our friends, namely Dominique Muzeau and Thibault Perriard, joined us remotely from the Île-de-France (Paris Region) in this transition, contributing amazing bass and drum parts from their homes and lifting our spirits in the process. I’m sure their playing on this track will lift yours too!
Sorsornet is a rhythm from the Boke region in Guinea. The chord progression came from harmonizing Mamady Keïta‘s version (on his album Nankama) of one of the traditional songs that go with the rhythm (AfuriKo‘s arrangement will be featured on the duo’s upcoming album).
The chords I used for comping in this video are mostly 5-note 2-hand jazz voicings. I’ve notated some of them for your consideration below:
And here’s a short explanation of how each one of the 12 notated voicings relates to its corresponding chord symbol:
C#mi7: inversion of generic “So What”/quartal voicing for minor chords;
F#13: generic voicing for dominant chords (right hand plays a 3-note quartal voicing from the 5th down while left hand plays guide tones);
D#mi7: generic “So What” voicing for minor chords with 5th as top note;
E6: inversion of generic quartal voicing for major chords down from the root “E”; can also be considered a generic quartal voicing down from the 5th “B” with the root instead of the 7th in the bottom;
F#9sus: inversion of “So What”/quartal voicing for sus chords;
F#2/A#: upper structure triad (UST II) from C# melodic minor; the parent chord scale to this F#2/A# chord is A# locrian #2 (VIth mode of C# melodic minor);
Ama7/B: inversion of “So What”/quartal voicing for sus chords;
Ama7(#11): “So What” voicing with #11th as top note;
F#mi9: generic “So What” voicing for minor chords with 5th as top note;
C#: upper structure triad (UST II) from F# melodic minor; the parent chord scale to this C# triad is C# mixolydian b6 (Vth mode of F# melodic minor).
NB: the very cool djembe part (with additional foot shakers/rattles) in the video was performed by courtesy of wonderfully grooving percussionist Akiko Horii!