Koko by Charlie Parker

Brief Contextual Overview with key point on each section

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  • Created by: ellie g
  • Created on: 19-05-12 17:57


Frst recorded piece of Bebop

We don't know what music sounded like before as all the shellac was being used in the war

contraversial recording as many think Bebop shouldn't be for general consumption

Bebop considered musicians music

it was recorded in 1945

based on Roy Noble's (a british composer) Cherokee

only used chord progressions of Cherokee as it was against his beliefs to use the melody, however he added, 7ths 9ths and 13ths to the chords

recorded in New York by Savoy Records

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Chorus 1 (AABA)

Chorus 2(AABA)

Drum Solo

Outro/ Coda

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Alto sax and trumpet play in octives, it was probably wirtten by Gillespie

Parker and Gillespie used to practice each others solos and through every key so that they could achieve their fast playing

Gillespie has a formulaicly improvised solo of continued quaver rhythms

Parker then also has a formulaicly improvised solo made of 3 phrases with syncopated drum rhythms for interest

Parker and Gillespie then play together in 3rds

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Instruments and their Instrumentalists

Alto Saxophone - Charlie Parker

Trumpet/ Piano - Dizzy Gillespie

Double Bass - Curly Russel

Drums - Max Roach

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Chorus 1 (Alto Sax improv)

A Section- this is made of 2 four bar phrases the first mirrors the second with a pitch change

A Section - repeats the 2 four bar phrases but the second phrase begins with a scoop and has different rhythms, it also fills in the notes

B Section into A section -more rhythmic. first motif begins with a key change which is then mirrored. Aysymetric phrasing begins at bar 47 causing the last 2 bars of the last phrase in the B-section to run into the next A section. It ends on a dominant F for emphasis, the drums play a syncopated rhythm in answer to this.

Charlie plays syncopated rhythms throughout, the drums and piano follow suit.

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Chorus 2

A Section - begins with a 2 bar phrase from high society (A well known and hard clarinet solo.) A high walking bass piano comps on the off beat.

A Section - Irregualr phrasing moving from 4 bars, 3 bars, 5 bars. Irregular piano chords. Aysymetric phrasing continues

B - section begins with ascending arpeggios using a lot of cross rhythms and descending scales of 3 notes inducing a circle of 5ths harmony. The drums become more active.

A - Section similar to A1 with high walking bass

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Drum Solo

drums tuned higher

drum plays syncoated rhythms, cross rhythms and keeps the pulse

gradually uses more and more of the kit for interesting timbres

unusual solo

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Outro / Coda

Alto sax and trumpet play in octives

trumpet plays downwards spiralling

alto sax plays mostly scalically 

alto sax and trumpet play in thirds

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