Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple is hard


"Cissy Strut" by The Meters is one of those tunes. A back pocket tune. A time killer at a gig. A tune so seemingly simple that it's easy to just not learn how to play it "right." And by right, I mean the original version. And the more I listen to it and the more I think about it, the more right it gets. It's so, well, funky. And it's so sparse. And the second riff is so straight! I love that.

The Meters--Cissy Strut

I know, I know. It's a simple riff-based tune. Variations galore. Scofield and Lovano can do whatever the hell they want. But it's still important, I think, to know the material you're working with. And I didn't until very recently: I played extra notes, played the first riff totally minor pentatonic, totally missed the A. Embarrassing.
This tune is overdone. And overdone badly. It's great to hear how good the original is.

Along these lines, Ethan Iverson has a great post here about Monk's "Well You Needn't"--similar issues and lots of great discussion.

And if anyone is interested in the curious title "Cissy Strut" this looks great. Honestly, I've only skimmed it, but it's very interesting stuff.


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