Giant Steps on Small Hands

Bus Stop – David Park

Okay. You’re on the bandstand. You’re slugging out some jazz best you can, all the time trying to avoid what has been termed jazz wank. Sure, you’ve consulted your fake book many times; the irony is not lost on you as you pluck note after note in your desperate attempt to elude being identified too strongly with the term: fake.

What? We’re gonna play Ellington’s Take the A Train?

Yes!! I can waddle my way through that one! Sheesh…too many notes and that one‘d sound pretentious anyway — unless a true jazzcat were blowing their sheets of sound, or some such artistry. Good thing I don’t have to worry about that. I can do not too many notes — comes naturally.

Allrighty then. Let’s pull this train outta the station. Golly… me! playing jazz! Look! There’s even a few cute gals watchin’!

Lord, thank you for having this tune be in the key of C. …I can do this!

What?…

There’s been a change of tunes?

…What do you mean “that guy’s brother is the one who’s paying us?” We’re playing some lounge-y Ellington right? See the chicks over there? They want lounge-y.

So…What are we gonna play?. . . Some more Ellington? A little Satin Doll maybe? That one’s in C too. I can rock — I mean…swing that one like a good fellow…

GIANT STEPS!!?

Oh God, no! You must be mistaking! You musta meant Girl From Ipanema, right? That one’s in the key of F. I can always just move my hand up a few frets for that one…

What!? You’re not mistaking? You’re telling me that we’re gonna launch into John Coltrane’s masterful composition — famous for an angularity in which even the deftest players have been known to break down — crying for their mommies — as they cheese the chord changes in unmistakable displays of musical humility?

NOOOooo. . . !!

…hey guys…seriously — I know I never told you this, uh, but…when I said I played jazz…well, you know, I meant: jazz. Not JAZZ. So you see, it’s all just a miscommunication…

What!? the drummer’s getting all excited? Sheesh! …he wouldn’t know sheets of sound if they rained down on his head!

Huh!? You want me to take the second solo after Mr. plays-all-that-shit-for-breakfast-tenor-sax? (he don’t play chords either I might add…)

Hmmm. What will I do? (Chicks? Forget about them man! You’re about to commit public jazz suicide brother…)

Wouldn’t this be a good time for a piece of rhubarb pie!?

Giant Steps – John Coltrane, 16 bars, 26 chord changes; 3 keys (B – G – Eb)

B___G_______Eb_________G_____

BMaj D7 | GMaj Bb7 | EbMaj / | A-7 D7 |

G___Eb________B_________Eb_____

GMaj Bb7 | EbMaj F#7 | BMaj / | F-7 Bb7 |

Eb_____G____________B_______

EbMaj / | A-7 D7 | GMaj / | C#-7 F#7 |

B________Eb_________B________

BMaj / | F-7 Bb7 | EbMaj / | C#-7 F#7 |

There it is soldier. Now it’s up to you to get that desperate look off your face. Roll up your sleeves…

I wouldn’t smile at the girls yet. This ain’t over and you know it.

Three keys! Got it? You got yer B, yer G, and yer Eb, right? Ya, I know it’s angular! Don’t fixate on that mister! You know those guys skiing those moguls? You don’t hear them whining, “But it’s so dang angular! What if I fall down?” You can bet they don’t get a lot of snow bunny action acting like that.

Get yourself together! The drummer’s doing that countdown thing again! …there he goes!…

1..2..1.2.3.4…

(pssst…listen kid…and remember: You can always secretly turn down your guitar and pretend like your chord shorted out or something…)

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3 thoughts on “Giant Steps on Small Hands

  1. OK, I like the desperation.
    Probably sounded good to the crowd listening, even though the brother might not approve.

  2. oh I can whine about that too
    I can damn near whine about anything
    sort of like Neil Diamond…
    …my tv reception?
    don’t get me started…

    (dang that comment left me hollow…oops! there I go again.)

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