Eric's Homemade Stuff

An infrequent blog of stuff I make, including music.

Building Phase Dance - Part 4

This is part 4 of a series on learning the tune, “Phase Dance” by Pat Metheny. Here’s part 1, 2, & 3:

Part 4

After part 3 was posted I got a lot of great feedback. Lots of guys commented on it on stickist.com with some good insights. I even got this feedback from Konrad Park who’s a Stickist and drummer from Australia. It’s nice living in the future, eh?

I took in all these comments and suggestions and kept working on smoothing the main vamp of the piece. Since it is used throughout the piece I know this has to be very smooth and automatic. As I started getting closer to full tempo the bass part was falling apart. This is the part from Pat’s songbook.

The bass player, Mark Egan, does play this a lot and also varies it as you would expect. But, at full tempo it didn’t seem like trying to emulate a bass player was the right thing. I never played bass and I play the Chapman Stick. I think it was time for a change. After a lesson with Steve Adelson I decided to simplify. I first reduced the part to its simplest form. Here’s what I did.

Then I used one of Steve Adelson’s suggestion of using ghost notes. He calls them a kerchunk. I slowly added those in until they were a little smooth, for me anyway.

The final section of part 4 is me playing the vamp at a good tempo. This is 176bbm, which is what is indicated in the songbook. Of course, PM plays it a lot faster. However, if I can play it at 176, I’ll be plenty happy. Here it is.

This marks my progress to date. Next is the melody, which I’ve started to work on but is very rough at this point. I’m also using this piece as a way to explore soloing in my lessons with Steve. His approach is very pragmatic and jazz focused, which is what I want right now. Highly recommended.

As always, all feedback is very appreciated.

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