Louisiana, part 2/3 – Jimmy Giuffre’s solo

I’m back with the second part of my trilogy on Bob Brookmeyer’s recording of Louisiana! This time we are going to look at Jimmy Giuffre’s excellent solo, that somehow manages to mix influences from swing, blues and country music.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIBcSHBb5Ec
Spotify: Bob Brookmeyer Quintet – Louisiana

In this solo Jimmy Giuffre shows what a varied tonal and timbral vocabulary he has. He effortlessly switches between bluesy riffs, warm melodies and complicated bebop phrases. And to top it all off he throws some country-sounding bends in there too!

The broad array of influences present here is something very typical of Giuffre, and if you enjoy that I would recommend that you check out some of the bands he has led. They frequently include Brookmeyer and Jim Hall, so you will hear more of them too. Jimmy Giuffre is an excellent and very interesting artist, so it’s sad that he is often overlooked.

A few things to note:

  • Blues riffing à la Lester Young in bar 1-7.
  • Long, slow phrases over several bars in bar 9-16. Riding on top of the rhythm section, letting them do the work of keeping it swinging.
  • The legato lines in bar 12-13.
  • Incredibly warm low notes in bar 14-15.
  • Some kind of rhythmic effect in bar 20-21, 37 and 39-40. I’m not sure how this is done on the saxophone, but I would guess that it involves mashing the octave key (maybe some saxophonist can fill me in on this?).
  • Country-like bends in bar 22-24 and 55.
  • Locking into the rhythm section with quarter notes in bar 25-28. Note that the way he does it, with short notes on 1 and 3, is the exact opposite of how Brookmeyer does it in his solo (with short notes on 2 and 4).
  • Involved bebop phrases in bar 29-36.
  • Repeated motif in bar 41-42 and 43-44.
  • Development of a rhythmic and melodic motif in bar 45-52. Listen to how Jim Hall joins Giuffre on this idea and plays a counter-rhythm on the guitar.
  • Buildup in intensity over the last 12 bars, with some high Ab’s and eighth note lines.

Jimmy Giuffre - Solo on Louisiana_0001

Jimmy Giuffre - Solo on Louisiana_0002

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