"Say That To Say This" - Trombone Shorty

"Say That To Say This'" (PDF) from the Trombone Shorty album, Say That To Say This.
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I could see the confusion wash over my student's face as the words left my mouth.  He pretended to scribble some notes down into his notebook, but I knew I had to further explain the lesson with, "You can play the minor pentatonic over a dominant chord because it's all the blues."  And I said that to say this: you have to bend the rules of music theory if you want to play with any real feeling.

Stick with me, since I do not really know the origin of the title, but this tune explores that shifting harmonic quality of the blues to convey a particular mood.  While the melodies make use of the E minor pentatonic scale to draw rhythmic motion and power from the b3 and b7, the solo relies on the E major pentatonic that features the use of the major 3, 9, and 13 for melodic qualities.  The overall dominant chord of E7 lives in the space between these scales and can be utilized for different purposes depending on how it is altered.

Just as the difference between an E and a G is a minor third that evokes a minor phrase, the interval between a C# and an E is also a minor third that has a major sounding quality.  And yet, if you bend the G slightly into a G# it presents an uplifting melodic quality to it that is still the blues.  Explore the dynamic shifts between major and minor phrases with this solo, especially the chord progression that suggests two bars of major and two bars of minor phrasing.

Now that summer is over, America's favorite autumnal tradition finally kicks off: marching band season!  So here is a YouTube video of Trombone Shorty performing with a marching band during a halftime show of some kind of sporting event.  If there is any doubt as to what a stadium-sized crowd responds to within the music, then let this video clear up that argument.

Recommended Reading:  Mo' Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ben Greenman.  Published by Grand Central Publishing.