Reed Gratz ~ Professor, Pianist, Composer

Reed Gratz ~ pianist/keyboardist/composer/professor

Reed's Blog

Tadd Dameron Turnaround

Posted on August 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Tadd Dameron Turnaround

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM

 Guitarist and teacher Pebber Brown asked for some comments about the Tadd Dameron "turnaround" found in the Bebop standard, Lady Bird.  Here goes:

 C Maj7 -  Eb Maj7 – Ab Maj7 – DbMaj 7

 is the turnaround (the last bar of thetune – turning around to the first bar for solos) one sees in most versions of Tadd Dameron’s Lady Bird (Real Book, 5th edition, maybe better known as the“regular” Real Book). 

Tadd used the chord root relationships that composers have been using since equal-temperament, particularly since J.S. Bach – that is,secondary V chords.  Tadd made the chords major 7thsrather than V7 but the roots work the same way – down by perfect 5th. 

The turnaround is a good opportunity to improvise vertically, that is, play in C, then think in Eb major or Lydian,then Ab major or Lydian, then Db major or Lydian.  In each case the raised fourth (if you’re thinking in Lydian) adds some nice spice because it is ‘replaced’ in the next chord when it moves down by ½ step to thenew root. (ex. #4 = A in the Eb chord, moves down by ½ step to become the root of the Abchord).

 From the early 20th century American song writers were using the major 7 chord extensively (then adding 9th, 11th,and 13th as the decades went by), but still thinking in the root relationships that Bach (and others) had established.  In 19th century music one analyzea progression like this (probably using just the triad or adding the dominant 7to the chord) as:

 I  – V7/bVI(remember, the bVI is the normal root for the Augmented 6th chord!) – V7/bII(remember, the bII is the normal root for Neapolitan chord) – Neapolitan – then to the I chord in the first bar.

C Maj7 -  Eb Maj7 – Ab Maj7 – DbMaj 7

 The version recorded by Miles Davis goes: C Maj7 -  Eb7 – Ab Maj7 – G7(#5)

                                                                (Bbmin7 on repeat for C Maj7)

                                       is the version recorded by Miles Davis.  See the New Real Book I for that.  It’s pretty much the samebut uses thatV7/bVI (the Eb7) instead of Eb Maj 7. One can think major orLydian b7 over that chord.  It ends with G7(#5) – a tri-tone substitution for the Db Maj 7 chord. Everything behaves the same way and resolves tothe C at the top of the tune.

I’ve mentioned the vertical approachthere, playing over each chord, but one can also blow over them in a horizontal fashion – that is, just stay in C and play, letting the nice chord changes color that with chromatic tone.  In other word, let the harmony do the work while you play in the “home” key.

Keep in mind the beboppers were still,for the most part, using all of the harmonic language that Bach, Chopin, Debussy and others before them had put together, but now were adding extensions to the chords and improvising more chromatically over those chords. 



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