Tuesday 31 July 2018

Negative Harmony Update: Cherokee with Negative Polarity Chains

  John Coltrane developed the concept of bebop chord substitutions to include his own triple tonic Giant Steps system. These superimposed, alternative sequences could be used to replace the regular changes of a tune, although the cadential, polarity points would remain the same. Coltrane's version of Charlie Parker's 'Confirmation', entitled '26-6', is one of the best known examples.

  In this video I am playing the sequence of 'Cherokee' using chains of Negative Harmony 7th chords, polarised towards the important cycle of fifths junctures in the regular sequence. The 'backdoor' IVm-bVII can also be expressed with Negative Harmony ideas, as can the tritone versions of both progressions. Following these chains and loops, strings of minor plagal moves, gives a me wonderful sense of falling backwards through space. There is a feeling of navigating a parachute drop gently on to the cadence point, rather than the sharp, tension-release of regular jazz harmony. Using tritone substitutions of the Negative Harmony minor 6th chord movement gives a rising semitone sequence (D7-G7-C7 = Bbm-Fm-Cm or D7-Db7-C7 = Bbm-Bm-Cm) another marvellous, liberating feeling for a jazz musician who has been tied into the cycle of fifths for thirty years. A 'backdoor' version can also be mixed in: (Dm-G7-C = Dm-Ebm-Bbm-Fm-C) therefore (Fm7-Bb7-C = Fm-F#m-C#m-G#m-C).

  Here is a transcription of what I play in the video. The pulse comes and goes, giving it a sort of fantasia feel. I was short of breath, as the temperature in Ruislip that day in July 2018 was about 33ÂșC and Lockett Towers was not blessed with air-conditioning!