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Harmonica Lessons: "Mr. PC"

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[MUSIC]
This tune, Mr.
PC, is a really famous
blues by John Coltrane,
and it's heard on the Giant Steps album,
which is one of the most important albums
ever recorded in the history of jazz.
And I recommend that all of you buy it.
Unlike the present day,
PC did not stand for personal computer,
because there weren't any and
it didn't stand for political correctness.
It stood for the initials of the bass
player Paul Chambers, Mr. PC.
So he was a fantastic bass
player who died young.
He had the substance abuse problems but
he was on a lot of
Miles Davis' recordings.
This is a minor key blues
in C minor [SOUND] and
the melody goes like this
[MUSIC]
in C, and then in F minor
[MUSIC],
back to C minor.
And then a bluesy
[MUSIC].
So the turnaround, instead of the five
chord [SOUND], it goes to the flat sixth.
This is something very common in jazz.
So we're in C minor, the one chord is
C minor, the four chord is F minor,
back to the one chord of C minor, then to
the flat sixth A flat, and the blues lick.
That fits perfectly
[MUSIC].
And then the G
[MUSIC].
A very simple tune, except on
the harmonica, it's not so simple [LAUGH].
To get it sounding good, I have chosen
to play it on a B flat harmonica.
Because [SOUND] a lot of
the soloing in jazz and
minor keys works very well in Dorian mode,
[MUSIC]
which is the minor mode most practical.
The third position is the Dorian mode,
it's the most practical way to play this.
And also the B flat harp is
not a squeaky high harmonica.
When you're playing jazz you don't really
want to use a high harmonica if you
can help it.
You want to try to sound like a saxophone
player, to get down in that low range.
So here's the melody.
[MUSIC].
See, what's hard about
it is he double tongues.
[MUSIC]
For us on our little axe here,
it's hard to double tongue.
[MUSIC]
Without sounding kind of awkward.
On saxophone it's much easier.
[MUSIC]
Especially when we're hitting bent notes.
[MUSIC]
So, you could play it up the octave,
where you don't have to bend notes.
[MUSIC]
And then go down.
[MUSIC]
But even that.
[MUSIC]
As much as you try to finesse it,
it's not gonna sound to good.
So this is one of those cases where
I would simplify the articulation of
the melody and play.
[MUSIC]
See what I mean, not all the dodle
dodle dodle dodle dodle dodle and then.
[MUSIC]
And the second time.
[MUSIC]
Sometimes
he played
[MUSIC].
He did the melody a little bit
differently at different times.
You would find this a lot
with jazz musicians.
They all play their own
tunes slightly differently.
It's like, what's the right melody?
Well, it's whatever ones they played at
different times, that's the right melody.
The up tempo swinging jazz tune,
one, two, one, two, three, four.
And that is my cell phone which I will
turn off, its in the same key, but major.
[MUSIC]
So the chord changes are C minor,
F minor, C minor, A flat, G seven to C.
But there are two fives within this
[MUSIC].
A lot of jazz musicians will go to
the next chord with a two five of
that next chord.
So this is where blues
transitions into jazz.
This is John Coltrane had
an encyclopedic knowledge of scales, and
different ways to apply them
to a blues progression.
So sometimes he played Dorian mode.
[SOUND] Some times he'd play
whats called the melodic minor.
[MUSIC]
That's a minor scale with a major seventh.
[MUSIC]
If you listen to his recording you'll hear
a lot of that kind of stuff on there.
So I'm just going to try to play some
things that I hope that some of you
can pick up on.
You can play this melody
as an intermediate player.
I'll try to solo as an intermediate
player in the beginning.
And then progress to a slightly
more advanced approach.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]