50 Jazz Blues Licks is an exclusive series of video
We’ve already seen a few examples of Blue Mitchell on a swing groove; now we’ll check out his playing over a straight-eighths feel. The lick here is inspired by Mitchell’s work on an out-of-print 1968 LP by pianist Harold Mabern, Rakin’ and Scrapin’. Mabern, who is still very much alive, working and recording, made his biggest splash in the 1960s, working with everyone from Sonny Rollins and Freddie Hubbard to Miles Davis and Wes Montgomery, but he has continued working away ever since, still inspired by his two heroes, Ahmad Jamal and fellow Memphian Phineas Newborn, Jr. Interestingly, Mabern describes himself as “ a blues pianist that understands the philosophy of jazz,” and takes particular pride in his capacities as an accompanist and his deep knowledge of tunes and composers in the jazz idiom. “Rakin’ and Scrapin’” is vintage hard bop through and through, relaxed but driving, with an incessant accompaniment pushing the straight-eighth feel forward, and the Mitchell-inspired lick here laces its way through the V and IV to resolve with a stuttering blues lick over the I.
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