Assignment On "In A Sentimental Mood"

852 words - 4 pages

"In A Sentimental Mood" By Duke Ellington, as recorded on "Duke Ellington and John Coltrane" "In a Sentimental Mood", written by Duke Ellington is performed on this recording by John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Aaron Bell, and Elvin Jones on the twenty-sixth of September in the year 1962. This is a very important collaboration between two distinctly different men on the forefront of jazz at the time. Coltrane approaches the recording with his regular drummer at the time, Elvin Jones, while Duke brings bassist Aaron Bell to provide the pulse for the recording. This meeting shows the versatility of Ellington's music. The two distinctively different musical personalities combined wonderfully to create a very historic album. The structure of this lovely ballad is a thirty-two bar form in the common AABA shape. The recording starts out with a four bar introduction in which Duke introduces a riff on the piano which will be quite familiar by the conclusion of the tune. The first A section comes about beginning with a three beat ascending pickup in the melody bringing us to the down beat of the first bar. Throughout this first section, the linear melody is very angular, ascending and descending in a way that builds tension only to be resolved usually within the next bar. For example, the pickup ascending to the downbeat gains momentum landing on the F a perfect eleventh above middle C. The melody then descends releasing tension in the second bar until it once again flirts with the higher D on the second beat of the third bar. The melody then travels higher once again, this time very briefly until it heads downward towards resolution, incorporating the blue note A flat leaving the listener with a bluesy, down and dirty feeling that is new to the melody. The melody once again ascends and comes back again at a slower rate this time bringing about the conclusion of the A section. We are then reintroduced to the initial pickup bringing the melody back to the top of the first section. This melody is very well structured and organized and Duke's piano riff that fits perfectly with the melody filling in space during held notes in the melody. Another interesting compositional point is that all the held or emphasized notes all fit in to a D minor triad whose harmony plays a large harmonic role during this first section. The bridge brings about a release with a more stabile and consistent melody. The harmony begins to change at a more rapid rate and it serves as a great release to the intense moody A sections. We are then treated to another A section once again beginning three beats before the down beat of the new section which leads us into the solo section. The rhythm section begins to play in a double time feel for the solos which serves as a nice contrast to the slower more dramatic melody. The harmonic progression remains at the same rate while the bass begins to walk in two and the drums double up the rate of time. Duke takes the first two A sections while Coltrane enters at the bridge. Duke's solo begins with a strong thick chord on the last sixteenth note of beat one. It is followed by a few more thick voicings until he abandons the heavy left hand comping and plays single linear lines in the right hand. Very rarely does he comp with his left hand and when he does it is usually one note accompaniment. Duke plays a beautiful octave melody over the bar line serving as a transition to the second A. The solo is very organized and proceeds with much clarity. Coltrane enters during the bridge and solos for just a short eight bars still with a double time two feel. The listener then is reintroduced to the melody with the familiar ascending pick up bringing the tune back to the A section. The last two bars of the melody are played rubato starting on the G minor seven chord. Duke then reenters with the familiar riff, which served as and introduction to the melody and the track ends after four bars in unison with a drum roll. I feel Duke Ellington's signature style is portrayed very accurately in his solo on this form. I also believe that this is only one of Duke's many great compositions with its extreme clarity and organization. The piece as a whole agrees with itself. The A section and Bridge compliment one another greatly and serve to create a whole piece. This tune is just one of the many ways in which the world will always remember the genius of Duke Ellington as musicians for generations to come perform and interpret this great tune.


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