Sunday, March 20, 2016

Konitz Coltrane Coincidence

In a recent performance with Tim Hagans and Dan Tepfer (following a conversation with Hagans), Lee Konitz played John Coltrane's "Resolution," kind of. 

Hagans mentions the record Live at the Half Note, which features Jimmy Garrison. Speaking of connections between Konitz and Coltrane: on the tune "You Stepped Out Of A Dream" from that very record, Konitz quite clearly plays the first five notes of "Giant Steps," just about a month before Coltrane first recorded it. We hear it over E-flat7 / A-flat in bars 6 and 7 of the chorus that starts at about 4:37.

Surely these coincidences happen all the time, but this one stands out to me enough to be worth remarking—same pitch transposition, same even rhythm (quarter notes here instead of Coltrane's faster-tempo half notes). And some great stepwise voice-leading, of course. Note how the B-flat minor triad in the first bar is transposed up a semitone (in contrast to the typical tritone substitution) in the following bar; the F-sharp continues ascending by half-step (in octave displacement) to the leading-tone G and finally to the local tonic A-flat, as D and B implicitly also rise chromatically to fill out the A-flat major triad. There is meanwhile a higher-level descending fourth progression over the course of those three bars: D-flat – C-flat – B-flat – A-flat. 

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