Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Importance of Rhythm: An Analysis of Kenny Garrett's Solo on "Reedus' Dance"
by Johnson, Brandon, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2018, 36; 10784493
Abstract (Summary)

Modern jazz education often focuses exclusively on harmonic aspects, although a thorough knowledge of rhythm in jazz is also imperative to becoming a well-rounded player. Many beginning and intermediate jazz students are taught about which scales and arpeggios they should play over each chord progression, while the rhythmic aspect is often ignored. A strong foundation in rhythm allows the improvisers to rhythmically lock in with one another and perform their improvised melodic lines, comping patterns, or even walking bass lines with confidence. Throughout numerous interviews with famous jazz musicians, many have discussed why rhythm is a keystone element of the music. Louie Bellson, a jazz drummer who performed with players such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Ella Fitzgerald, stated that Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie “would always talk about knowing where [beat] one was. That’s very important, because if you don’t know where one is, you’ve lost everybody.”1 The emphasis of beat one, rhythmic contrast, and rhythmic motives can be found throughout alto saxophonist Kenny Garret’s solo on the tune “Reedus’ Dance” from Introducing Kenny Garret (1984). His use of rhythmic motives allows the audience to grab onto certain melodic phrases because of the repetition of the rhythms. In addition, Garrett places an emphasis on rhythmic contrast in his solo, allowing him to play melodic lines that do not always follow conventional rules. For example, this concept allows him to play unconventional chord tones throughout his solo, such as a major seventh on a dominant seventh chord. Finally, Garrett emphasizes where beat one is by playing notes on the first beat of each chord change. In this project report, I will argue that Garrett’s approach to rhythm is a significant component of his signature style. footnote: Rick Mattingly, The Drummer's Time: Conversations with the Great Drummers of Jazz (Cedar Grove: Modern Drummer Publications, 1998), 8.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Briggs, Ray
Commitee: Carnahan, John, Lindau, Elizabeth
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 57/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Music
Publication Number: 10784493
ISBN: 978-0-438-17933-2
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