June 19, 2003
I'm a huge Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny fan (I have to list Lyle first since I'm a pianist). Recently, on the Pat Metheny mailing list, someone recommended an album by Paul McCandless on which Lyle played. The album is called Premonition on the Windham Hill Jazz label and is currently out of print. I picked up a copy through Half.com and it arrived today.

One song on the album, called “Rainland”, has an interesting rhythmic device in the composition. The song is primarily in 6/8, but McCandless inserts 4/4 bars every now and then and it creates a very cool effect. I've ripped a small sample [ogg] that demonstrates it. If you haven't looked ahead to the notation, listen to the sample first without it.

I almost wish I hadn't notated it, sort of like explaining how a magic trick works. This snippet doesn't really do the effect justice, and the notation unfortunately screams out a distinct change that to the ear is just a slight variation when it's sprinkled in the midst of a long build up of 6/8 bars. It came across rather subtly to me; I never considered it a time sig change on first listen, I thought perhaps it was merely a syncopation in the bass line.

update: Alert reader Bob Baker passed word on that Rainland is included in The New Real Book Vol. 3. I'm a couple of volumes behind, I need to get caught up.

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