Grace Notes

When I was a kid, I had a 45* of the song “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The song is written by Joe Zawinul and has been performed by everyone from Cannonball Adderly to Queen Latifah. I can’t find the exact version I heard on that record all those years ago, but the song is etched in my musical memory.

Above are some examples of grace notes as they appear in music notation. They’re the little notes that are squeezed between the “real” notes.

I decided to write a song inspired by the thick Gospel groove of “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.” The tune was originally called “Grace, Grace, Grace” (you see what I did there?) but as I entered the music in Dorico and clicked the little button labeled “grace notes” to make a secondary melody smaller, I realized that “Grace Notes” was a much better name. 

The harmonies in this song are much simpler than my other jazz tunes, instead concentrating on a catchy melody and knee-deep groove. On this recording, you can hear Steve Talaga on piano with a groove so far in the pocket that he’s counting change in his sock!

*Editor’s note to young people, a “45” is a small record that used to be the only way to hear hit singles.

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