Tom Harrell’s “I Don’t Know” from the album “Visions” Part 1


Tom Harrell has always been one of my favorite jazz composers. He write in a variety of styles and never becomes cliche like many modern composers. His immense library of small group originals are impressive, with an ever-growing list that continues to innovate and branch into different identities. Something that is common with his works though is sometimes the simplicity and beautiful chord progressions that work so well, and form interesting platforms for improvising.

This week I transcribed the melody and chords for this tune, which is based in the key of E. The follows a simple form, but puts the trumpet and flute in an uncomfortable key that most jazz musicians don’t normally see. The flute mostly doubles the trumpet and octave higher, so I choose not to transcribe that part. The chord progression shift of major chords a whole step apart is something that I want to improve at improvising over, since ii-V licks don’t work in a tune like this. The melody and solos are both simple and borrowed from the chords, but built on the sharp 4 tension that is part of the Lydian tonality rather than standard Ionian Major scale. Next week I will be posting the solo from this tune by Harrell.  Unfortunately there isn’t a full version of this tune to listen to on any websites I could find, and the album is not available through iTunes. I have a copy in my library at home, but to my knowledge this album is out of print. If you have this album it is worth taking out and listening to.

Listen to a sample it on All

Lead sheet: Bb  |  C

One response to “Tom Harrell’s “I Don’t Know” from the album “Visions” Part 1

  1. Pingback: Tom Harrell’s solo on “I Don’t Know” | Nate Weiss·

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