Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Joy Spring


One of the tunes that I always return to is Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring." You could say that I am a bit obsessed with that tune. I remember studying Clifford's solo on the classic take with Max Roach note for note way back in the 90s when I was starting out on jazz. I played the solo over and over and still could not duplicate the dreaded double time bars (17-23) in real time for years ... Such beautiful and sometimes dazzling bebop lines. How on earth did he come up with those on the spot? Clifford is telling a marvellous bebop tale with a beginning and an end. With questions and answers. With all kinds of rhythmic variations and little surprises. A bebop masterpiece. The tune was first recorded in a studio session led by Clifford on August 6, 1954, at Capitol Recording Studios, in Los Angeles, with Harold Land (tenor sax), Richie Powell (piano), George Morrow (bass), and Max Roach (drums). 

If you are interested in lifting a few II V licks from Brownie's classic solo click here for a tutorial I made many years ago.

I played that solo for years but only in 2019 was I able to record it in real time over the original track, in unisono with a scat lady singer. 

And then there is Joe Pass' take on this classic tune ... It appeared on a live recording made in Los Angeles in 1964. The whole album is classic Joe Pass and over the years many references have been made on several internet fora to this particular recording as being among the best recorded jazz guitar sound ever, if not THE best. I have written on that particular sound earlier here.  The whole album is easily among Joe's best work and features essential Joe Pass listening! For a full transcription of his solo on "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (tabs included)  click here

Joe plays the head of "Joy Spring" in the lower register. Ever since I heard him do that I have played it like that as well. For a transcription (tabs included) of how he plays the head click here.

Joe has always been a huge inspiration to me, especially the "Joy Spring" album. That sound is in my head. Here's my own take on "Joy Spring." I keep going back and back to that tune. Joy Spring forever!



  2. I just love Clifford Brown. The CB "Memorial Album" was the album that first got me really into jazz. At my level I wont even attempt to play on guitar, but I just love listening to it. Thanks for a great post, Dick