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Spring 2022 TedGreene.com Newsletter

ADVANCE TO NEW ITEMS >>

For our newsletter message this month, Nick Stasinos shares with us some details about his transcription of Ry Cooder’s “Flashes” recording, and Ted’s contribution for that arrangement.

* * * * *

The Ted Greene December 2021 Newsletter featured Joseph Byrd’s reminiscing on Ted’s involvement with his own album project, “Joe Byrd & the Field Hippies: The American Metaphysical Circus” (1968) and later with Ry Cooder’s “Jazz” album (1978). As a follow up, Paul requested that I finish and submit my transcription of Bix Beiderbecke’s “Flashes” to be posted in the Arrangements section for this newsletter.

My transcription? Originally, it was just a hybrid arrangement from Ted’s original ideas and Ry Cooder’s studio recording, as captured in chord grids from several lessons I took from Ted over the span of a decade (1981 – 1993). In 2011, I started transcribing and posting it under the Forums topic heading “Bix Beiderbecke” as an invitation to all readers to collaborate and to prompt some discussion. See: forums.tedgreene.com/post/bix-beiderbecke. I only got as far as measure 12 before interest waned.

Eleven years later, upon Paul’s request, it quickly became my number one New Year’s resolution for 2022 to complete. After bouncing these five sheets back and forth between Paul and myself, we arrived at what you are presented with today: the definitive transcription of “Flashes” as played by Ry Cooder on his “Jazz” album. I included performance notes as well as the original session chart with this transcription. A very special thanks goes to Paul Vachon for his help in proofreading and adding the chord grids.

It all started in the late 70’s when Joseph Byrd approached Ted to help out with the chord arrangements on three Bix Beiderbecke songs for a very unique recording project with Ry Cooder – a new album titled, “Jazz.” Those three songs were “Davenport Blues,” “In a Mist,” and “Flashes.” “In a Mist” and “Flashes” both came from Bix’s published work, Modern Piano Suite. Well-known for his cornet playing, Bix was also a classically trained pianist. His original piano music was very impressionistic, filled with lots of chromatic, contrary passing lines. Bix never recorded his own piano compositions, but there are many fine recordings of these pieces today (i.e. Ken Werner, Dick Hyman).

“That is so much like Debussy!” Ted added, listening to the beginning of the “Flashes.” Unlike the other two songs on the “Jazz” album arranged for ensemble, “Flashes” is the only guitar solo encompassing the entire harmony of the original. Isn’t that right up Ted’s musical alley? Here’s a brief impromptu interview I did with Ted about “Flashes” during a 1993 private lesson:

Ted: I am so pleased I arranged this thing.
Nick: So, that was your arrangement? I thought they brought the arrangement to you, and you said, “Yeah, that’ll work!”
Ted: I took the piano music and said, “Ry, here’s what you do,” and Ry said, “Fine! Great! Show it to me!”
Nick: What attracted them to come see you?
Ted: You were busy.

What a jokester! We now know why Joseph Byrd sought Ted out. He knew of Ted’s vast knowledge of harmony and chords as applied to guitar – by reputation and by his personal experience. Who else could qualify to undertake this task?

“I was working on a jazz album and wanted to transcribe some of Bix Beiderbecke arrangements for guitar,” Cooder said, referring to the cornet player. “I thought it was hard stuff, but it wasn’t to Ted. He created arrangements that sounded like eccentric Beiderbecke.” (Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2005, B11)

Ted told me that he worked out “Flashes” in great detail and then gave it to Ry in tablature form. It was quintessentially Beiderbecke arranged and “adapted” for guitar. As cluttered as Ted’s apartment was, he knew exactly where most things were, but when asked about his “Flashes” arrangement he would just say, “I have that around here somewhere.” Over time it became obvious to me that Ted didn’t keep a copy of it for himself. Later he commented to me, “If you write it out for solo guitar, I’d love to see it!” (Ry, someday I would LOVE to see the original TAB that Ted gave you!)

You might wonder, “Did Ted ever sit with Ry Cooder and go over the voicings or fingerings of ‘Flashes’ after he wrote it out?” We don’t know for sure, but I think there might have been a lot of back-and-forth between Ted and Ry. Between my lessons with Ted, how he taught “Flashes” to me, and by transcribing this piece, it became clear to me that Ry added his own fingerings and made a few minor alterations to Ted’s notation in order to adapt it to his own playing finesse. We all do that, don’t we?

Joseph Byrd’s 1977 “Flashes” chart doesn’t have Ted’s name on it. Ted was usually too modest to take credit where credit was due. I hope they paid him well! The session chart leaves the end open for adding your own tag, and Ry added his own bluesy tag at the end, which reminded Ted of a song performed by Cream in the 60’s. During one lesson, Ted played for me a variety of different possible “Flashes” tag endings – each one unique. Ted was famous for being able to improvise a seeming infinite number of variations on any given theme. In another lesson, Ted suggested an intro. It might be fun to come up with an enhanced Ted-like version of this piece in the future, but for now give your fingers a nice ‘work-out’ with this one...and have fun!
~ Nick

* * * * *

In addition to the beautiful transcription of Ted’s arrangement of “Flashes,” we have a hefty banquet of other lessons for you to feast upon, hoping that there’s enough to keep you satisfied until our next quarterly newsletter. The New Items this month contain several pages from Ted’s Personal Music Studies files, which we will henceforth refer to as PMS. We thought we had finished posting all of Ted’s comping pages, but, as you can see, new ones keep popping up, coming from Ted’s students – and we expect (and hope) that more of this will happen in the future. Special thanks to Robin Pitigliano and Alexander Williams for sending us their Ted comping lesson pages, to Mark Fitchett for his recording, to Mike De Luca for proofreading most of the scores, and of course to Nick Stasinos for all his work on “Flashes” and the newsletter message.]

Enjoy... and stay safe!

~ Your Friends on the TedGreene.com Team

NEW ITEMS

ARRANGEMENTS:
* Flashes – As Played by Ry Cooder, Arr. by Joe Byrd & Ted Greene. [This tune was written by Bix Beiderbecke, arranged by Joseph Byrd and Ted Greene, and played by Ry Cooder. This is a transcription of that studio recording, notated by Nick Stasinos. See newsletter message above for more details.]

AUDIO:
* 1994-04-14, Ted Greene Lesson with Mark Fitchett. [mp3 files, 320 kbps, length:6:28. During this lesson Ted demonstrates dialogue textures for accompaniment for “Autumn Leaves” (and briefly for “Have You Met Miss Jones?”).]

BAROQUE:
* 2-to-1 Bass Movement – Contrary Motion, 1977-09-11 and 18. [From Ted’s Personal Music Studies files (PMS). New notation, Ted-style chord diagrams, and chord names provided for easy reading and study.]

* Counterpoint Exercises – Implying One Chord with Series of Intervals, 1979-05-18. [From Ted’s PMS files. New notation provided for easier reading.]

* Counterpoint Over a Major Chord, 1978-02-24. [From Ted’s PMS files. Studies like this were probably intended to eventually end up in Ted’ book on Baroque improvisation for guitar. New notation provided for easier reading.]

CHORD STUDIES:
* Contrary Motion into Complex Chords, 1974-10-22, 24 and 1999-02-18. [From Ted’s PMS files. He had it filed away with his Baroque papers, but this study seems to go into harmonic structures that are beyond the just the Baroque style. New notation, chord grids, chord names provided. Also, we wrote out some “follow-through” notation and grids of the examples that seemed to require it. These are all in blue.]

* Contrary Harmonization Examples, 1975-12-18. [From Ted’s PMS files. There are two examples: one is strictly diatonic, the other also employs secondary dominants. New notation for easy reading.]

* Diatonic Major Key Contrary Motion Studies, 1974-10-24. [From Ted’s PMS files. He had it filed away with his Baroque papers, but this study is diatonic and has a somewhat stylistically ambiguous quality that could apply to many different styles. New notation, Ted-style chord diagrams, and chord names provided for easy reading and study.]

* Implying Chords with Intervals, 1979-01-02, 03. [From Ted’s PMS files. Fifty-four examples, using 2-note dyads and 3-note chords. Excellent for developing chord “break-up” techniques and the George Van Eps’ “Teams” fingerings. New notation given for easier reading and study.]

COMPING:
* A Foggy Day (Key of D), 1980-04-09. [This lesson page was provided by Robin Pitigliano. She also sent us the lyrics sheet in which Ted added the basic chord changes above the lyrics. Notation with lead sheet provided, combined with Ted’s original grid diagrams. Thanks, Robin!]

* Here’s That Rainy Day – Walking Chords, 1978. [This lesson page was sent to us from Alexander Williams, who received this during one of Ted’s seminars given at G.I.T. in 1978. Though not stated on the hand-out, this is a study in what Ted called “Walking Chords” – which is an accompaniment style similar to a walking bass, but with chords. We provided notation and lead sheet, combined with “restored grids” diagrams (we filled in the missing lines) to make it easier to read.]

SINGLE-NOTE SOLOING:
* Dominant 7th Sounds – Step 1 (Parts 1-3), 1977-11-06 and 1977-11-15. [These pages were intended by Ted to be used in his single-note soloing books, but he apparently rejected them and rewrote the examples in a different key. New notation provided for easy reading.]

* Dominant 7th Sounds – Step 1 (Parts 4-7), 1977-11-22 and 1977-11-24. [Continuation of the above series. These pages were intended by Ted to be used in his single-note soloing books, but he apparently rejected them and rewrote the examples in a different key. New notation provided for easy reading.]

* 4-Note Arpeggio Fragments, 1976-03-26 and 1978-05-24. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. II. It’s listed under the topic “Condensed Arpeggios” (pages 12 thru 13).]

* Arpeggios for High Register (Extra), 1978-01-28. [This page is the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Extra Arpeggios for High Register” (pages 133 and 134).]

* Condensed Arpeggios, 1978-03-25 and 1978-05-27, 28. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. II. It’s listed under the topic “Condensed Arpeggios” (pages 15 thru 17).]

* Dominant Type Chord Forms (Group 4) – Altered Dominants, 1978-01-28. [This page is the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Extra Arpeggios for High Register” (pages 96 and 97)]

* Learning Altered Dominant Sounds – Type 1, 1977. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Learning Altered Dominant Sounds.”]

* Learning Altered Dominant Sounds – Type 2, 1977. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Learning Altered Dominant Sounds.”]

* Learning Altered Dominant Sounds – Type 3, 1977. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Learning Altered Dominant Sounds.”]

* Major Chord Runs Using Only Chord Tones, 1977-12-25, 27, 28. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Major Chord Runs (using only chord tones)” Find it spread out on pages 11 thru 13, 17 thru 19, 20 thru 23, 25 thru 27, and 30 thru 32.]

* Major Chord Runs (More), 1977-12-30 and 1978-01-03, 06, 07. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “More Major Chord Runs (pages 19 thru 20, 24 thru 25, 29 thru 30, and 32 thru 33),]

* Overtone Dominant 7th Runs, 1978. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. I. It’s listed under the topic “Overtone Dominant 7th Runs” (pages 84 – 90) and “Extra Positions for Higher Register” (pages 90 – 91). The “Extra Positions” also refers to the Overtone Dominant scale and its arpeggios.]

* Suggested Practice – and – Progressions for Soloing Over, 1978-05-27. [These pages are the original lesson sheets that Ted used in his book, Jazz Guitar Single-Note Soloing Vol. II. It’s listed under the topic “Suggested Practice” (page 18) and “Progressions for Soloing Over” (page 19).]


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* Of course, most of the videos are posted right here in our Video Section

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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - My Life with The Chord Chemist - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

My Life with The Chord Chemist
A Memoir of Ted Greene, Apotheosis of Solo Guitar
By Barbara Franklin


BUY NOW - Available at amazon.com

Publication Date: Nov 24 2009
Page Count: 276
Trim Size: 8" x 10"

ABOUT THE BOOK
A retrospective of Ted Greene, virtuoso solo guitarist, beloved music teacher, world-renowned author and innovator of unique music concepts for guitar. This book also includes an overview of Ted Greene's early life and musical development, plus an insightful narrative of the 13 years prior to his death

Six agonizing months after losing my beloved Ted, I slowly emerged from a state of profound disbelief, almost coma-like. At that time I didn’t know what to do with the remnants of my life; then a path began to unfold before me. This website was started and became a saving grace.

During the ensuing years, I organized and categorized Ted’s material and personal studies. Upon completion of that massive undertaking, once again, I didn’t know what to do, so I began writing.

I wrote pages, and then threw them away, until once again a path began to unfold. What I wrote is mostly a personal memoir. I suppose it was what I had to write first.

From the preface:

“The decision to reveal parts of our personal life was something I deliberated over for a long time. Because our lives became so inextricably bound, I included what I felt necessary, but not without a considerable amount of apprehension. This book illustrates the many parallels between Ted the musician and Ted the person. I felt it was important to convey how Ted was driven compulsively not just to pursue music, but so many other things he loved.”

With this in mind, here is our story. It IS very personal and I still have apprehensions about publishing it. My hope is that it brings you closer to Ted, as you begin to get to know and understand this unique and extraordinary man and musician.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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