Going Uptown with Dr. Billy Taylor

I’m not really that much of a Dr. Billy Taylor fan, but I recently got hired to do a transcription of his version of Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train,” and I have to say I’m very impressed! Check it out on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcBL4hw4PXM.  It wasn’t apparent to me from just listening to it, but the majority of the left hand part during the melody is in tenths, sometime reaching from an Eflat to a G or a D to an F#.  He makes it sound really effortless – his hands must be huge! In order for me to play this on piano I needed to use both hands just for the left hand part.  Also, it has a very nice balance of diatonic, parallel, and chromatic voice leading.  I especially like it when Taylor goes down into the extreme low register of the piano.  The only down side (although it made it easier for me to transcribe!) is that all the A sections are identical, but I guess that makes sense since this is a very thought out approach to interpreting this song.  I guess they don’t call him “Dr.” for nothing!  I just started working on the solo section too.  Nice clean melodic bebop.  It’s nice to hear a fresh reworking of this tune!


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