Last night’s new tune is a vibey, vampy tune that’s great for improvising.
That’s the thing about jazz: it’s not just about writing a catchy tune; a jazz tune is also a launching pad for soloing. You can have a great song that just doesn’t feel right for improvisation. It needs to have enough interest to catch the listener’s attention, but be simple enough that the performers can feel comfortable soloing over the changes. But not too simple! Then it gets boring. Clearly, there’s a balance that needs to be struck.
“Mysterious Lee” is halfway between Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” and ” Gershwin’s “Summertime.” It has the former’s prominent opening bass line and the latter’s mid-song lift and ii7-5 V7 turnaround. I don’t think we ever got the actual melody right in this recording, but you can hear that everyone dug into their solos with gusto.
Just for fun, I left a little of the musician’s prattle in the recording. Yes, these gigs are work, but we also have an awful lot of fun!