Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat

Posted by: aleck rand

Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 02:33 PM

Because I'm playing organ on this tune, I want to let you in on the dirty little secret behind the Hammond B3 and its practitioners. You all know that the B3 has bass pedals, and when you listen to the great players - Jimmy Smith, Joey DeFrancesco, Dr. Lonnie Smith, our own RealTracks B3zilla Mike LeDonne - you hear that kickin' bass going on.

The fact is, except for occasional ballads, the aforementioned never go near the pedals even though they may be tapping them. In the video of Dr. Lonnie Smith, you see him at first really playing one note on the pedals, then you see him push the two pedal drawbars all the way in, turning them off. His left hand takes over the bass part. You'll see the left-hand bass in the next three videos:

(1) Dr. Lonnie Smith

(2) Jimmy Smith

(3) Joey DeFrancesco

However, there are at least two great B3 artists that really do play the pedals. The first is possibly Germany's greatest Jazz musician, Barbara Dennerlein. Watch her feet - with high heels, yet - dancin' on those pedals and try hard to believe your eyes:

(3) Barbara Dennerlein

Barbara is fairly young, but one of the real old-timers did it too. You must see this if only to see Milt Buckner define Jazz in just 11 words (1:38-1:47):

(4) Milt Buckner

Now that we've straightened that out, left me confess that I play left-hand bass. There's one RealTrack here, provided by drummer Rickey Lawson. Yours truly on Latin percussion, horn arrangements, guitar.


Posted by: floyd jane

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 02:45 PM


Sweet! Cool playing - organ AND guitar (and horns?)!!! A truly enjoyable tune! If I had a hat like PAT's, I'd take it off to you. (Actually, I DO have a hat like Pat's - I may have to copy his avatar!)

More Mr. Rand, more!!!

Posted by: Pat Marr

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 03:57 PM


first of all I want to thank you for the title, since thats the closest association my name will EVER have with a piece of original music this cool!

Your song contained most of the things I listen for , and it omitted all the cliches. Blues especially have fallen into a black hole of commonly accepted "BLEH-ness.." to the point that I don't usually seek out the genre on Pandora.

Specific things I liked about this song:

1) Instead of using the horns to add accent chords, you used them to add an interesting and unexpected motif. I liked that a lot.

2) Although RealTracks are up to the task of performing all the parts, I still like to hear how live musicians integrate their own playing. And you rewarded my ears royally in this song by playing several instruments, all of them VERY well!

3) one advantage of playing more than one instrument is that you can weave a theme that is shared by all of the instruments in their time. I noticed right off that the bass and the organ were talking back and forth. Likewise the bass + guitar and the horns + guitar. Very cool.

4) regarding the idea of intruments talking back and forth: At different points in the song I had the impression of being at a therapy session for band instruments (hey, it's blues!) and getting to hear their group discussion about the meaning of life (or in this case, the meaning of the song)

5) As a guitar player, I especially liked your performance on that instrument. You are a true pro in every way. Whereas most of us on the forum are hobbyists or weekend musicians, you are simply in a different class. I respect what you bring to the forum, even if I sometimes don't understand what you're doing enough to appreciate it fully.

6) one element of a good composition that is often missing from hobbyist recordings is the effective use of white space. Your framework was so minimal that each of the instruments got to create its own mood during its time in the spotlight. It was almost like several unique songs as opposed to one song in which several instruments solo. That kept the song interesting and fresh.

7) the ending! This is another thing that is as rare as well-documented Bigfoot sightings. Partly because the PGMusic products don't provide endings that are as automated as the rest of the song, they rarely get included. Its not uncommon to get a fade or a synchronized stop of all instruments... but this ending was cool for the following reasons:
a) it extended a few notes past the logical stopping place
b) it was a joint effort of the bass, horns and organ
c) it used the same horn motif established earlier, almost like foreshadowing in a novel.

8) I liked the sections where the percussion had center stage.

9) bonus points for somehow avoiding all of the cliches that have made me tired of the blues. Far from being boring this was something I could listen to for extended periods.

10) mostly because alzheimers makes it sound like I never heard it before

In summary, it isn't that you did anything new and undiscovered at all.. but it's the mark of a pro to add the finishing touches that an amateur hasn't mastered yet.

I'm duly impressed. And, thanks for granting my request. I'll stop being a pest now.

Posted by: dcuny

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 04:21 PM

Nice laid back tune! Pat's already sucked the air from the room with his (as always insightful) comments wink , but I'll also mention the ending was a wonderful WT* moment, despite reading Pat's spoilers.

And thanks for the insight on organ pedals!
Posted by: aleck rand

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 06:49 PM


It was a pleasure creating Black Hat - I was aiming at things that I thought you might like, but your list of accolades blows me away. I accept them with deep gratitude.

And as far as that b.s. about "being a pest"? As they say in Brooklyn, "fuggedaboudit." As a recovering jazz musician I've needed all the help I can get in finding new directions that will work in this Forum, and so far no one has surpassed your guiding insights.

Posted by: Pat Marr

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 07:20 PM

OK, now I'd like to hear how a person sets out to create a song like this. Unlike the average song heard here that was generated by BIAB, and has one cohesive theme throughout, there's NOTHING about this song that remains constant from start to finish.

Where do you begin? Is it a cohesive idea to begin with, or the result of several iterations in which you systematically add the various conversations between instruments?

I would ALMOST guess that you started with a drum track and introduced instruments at different times (literally.. as on different days, so your musical mood didn't carry over into all the instruments)... but the fact that even the drum track does not remain constant makes me question that theory.

Please, teach me how to start with a blank sheet of manuscript and end up with something like this.
Posted by: Mac

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 07:55 PM

Nice job of funkin' on a blooz change there.

Posted by: boehm

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 05/31/13 09:11 PM

Hi Aleck,

I always like to read your insider information and visit
the links.
As a candy I grant myself listening to the actual song.
It has worked again. I was blown away and had
a very interesting time.
Great job!
Especially liked the percussion part.

Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 06/01/13 03:25 PM

If I could play solos like those I'd obnoxiously be camping out on certain folk's door steps demanding an audience. They've all said it. Janice says it gives her "happy feet." Uber cool.
Posted by: dani48

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 06/02/13 10:13 AM

Hi, Aleck !

My cats donĀ“t wear hats (lol) but they
are sweet nonetheless as was your tune
allthrough !:) I enjoyed this one very
much !:))

Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 06/02/13 10:30 AM

The judicious use of BB tracks along with a live player is what takes this to the next level.

While BB is an amazing way could BB do all that by itself..... loved the syncopated percussion, and also the way you ended this. Both are outside of the normal BB parameters.... Then I read you played the LP... ah-hah!!

I liked it.
Posted by: Sundance

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 06/02/13 12:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Mac
Nice job of funkin' on a blooz change there.


+ 1 grin
Posted by: rockstar_not

Re: Blues for Pat, the cat with the black hat - 06/04/13 07:01 PM

Here's another band, lesser known, but one of my favorite jazzy/funky bands that is an odd 3-piece:

Guitar player
B3 player that also plays bass on keys.


I swear I've seen him play pedal bass, but in this video it's clearly his left hand on a synth - see roughly 7:26-on where the camera is on the keyboard player.

These are some very funky cats and the bass is held down by the B3 player - on all of their albums and live stuff as well.

Here's another where the left hand is clearly laying down the funk.