Friday, June 5, 2015

"Count Your Change" - The Paul Horn Quintet

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

I really enjoyed playing on the Paul Horn composition, Count Your Change. Because it transitioned so easily from 4/4 to 5/4 time, it helped me develop my 5/4 chops [“back in the day”]. The tune became so familiar to me that I was able to “dance around” the usual way of counting 5/4 - one bar of 3 plus one bar of 2 - and establish some interesting counter rhythms between my hands and feet on the drum kit.

Count Your Change was originally released in 1962 as part of the eight tunes that made up the Columbia LP - Profile of A Jazz Musician [Columbia 8722]. The album featured Paul on alto sax, clarinet and flute [including the rarely heard bass flute], Emil Richard on vibes, Paul Moer on piano, Jimmy Bonds on bass and Milt Turner on drums. [You can listen to the original recording on the video that serves as a lead-in to this piece.]

Count Your Change is basically blues for the first eight bars of the theme; then come six measures in 5/4 time, followed by two measures in 4/4. The same pattern is followed in each of the blowing choruses. If you think of it as though the 5/4 bars were an extension of the ninth and tenth measures of the regular 12-bar blues, the form will become clearer.

The composition was featured television film called The Story of a Jazz Musician, a half-hour program built around Paul and the group, for which he wrote the background score (featuring four cellos and flugelhorn) as well as supplying music by the quintet. "The story line," says Paul, "traces the evolution of a typical composition. It shows Emil and me kicking around some ideas at my home, then trying the piece out at Shelly's Manne Hole in Hollywood. There are scenes with the fellows talking, as well as some narration by me; scenes with my father, and Yvonne and our kids; a visit to the Down Beat office to see John Tynan. It's an unusual TV approach to jazz."

The Story of a Jazz Musician has been available on YouTube for some time in the three segments shown below. You won’t want to miss Part 3 as it features interior views of Shelly Manne’s famous Hollywood, CA Jazz club - The Manne Hole - and Paul’s group performing Count Your Change.

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