"Addis a Rasta" - Vin Gordon

"Addis a Rasta" (PDF) from the Vin Gordon album, Gordon In de Garden, Vol. 1.
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I'm learning about this music as I'm transcribing it, so here we go!  "Addis a Rasta" is the opening track on the album, a jam in D minor with a driving beat.  Although this funky rock beat caught me by surprise, it taught me a lesson about his style of playing.  When the beat is rocksteady, the beauty can be found in the melodies.

In the Fred Wesley world, the funk comes from the rhythmic tensions; the spaces in between the beat; coming back in "on the one."  Fred is a human metronome and can always find the "one."  In the Vin Gordon world, the funk comes from the "lazy" melodic style.  Think of it this way: Vin likes to take the scenic path home.  You don't know when he'll get there, but he will eventually get there.  (Trombone Shorty's funk is the best of these two worlds, turned up to eleven.)

As long as your feet are always moving forward (the steady beat), you can trail off here and there to explore, while losing track of the time (the melody).  So take the time to enjoy the melodic scenery.  This is my understanding of Vin Gordon's reggae music.

This solo challenged me to let go of my rhythmic rigidness.  The triplet phrase in bars 9-10 is still a mystery to me.  I can sing the melody in time with the recording, but as where it actually falls against the beat is beyond me.  Good luck!

If you dig deep enough, you can find some decent live videos of Vin Gordon, as it appears he's doing some masterclass work in France, lately.  Here's a YouTube video of the product of a reggae class.  Also, look for videos of him playing with The Skatalites.

Recommended Reading:  Travels With My Trombone: A Caribbean Journey by Henry Shukman.  Published by Crown Publishers, Inc.  (This may be out of print)