Get your 2018 primed by learning our new Lick Of The Month. This time, it's...THE LICK! :-0

Mon, 01/01/2018 - 3:20pm
Written by GeorgeWhitty

To kick off 2018, let's do a new "Lick Of The Month".  And for this month, we're gonna look at...The ACTUAL LICK!  The one from this viral YouTube made by somebody with WAY, WAY, WAY too much time on his hands:


Freddie Hubbard plays it at about 0:17, and he’s probably where I got it;  I’ve always been so thrilled by his playing and transcribed a bunch of his solos years back when I was learning to play.  Perfect stuff to work on in a monophonic synthesizer solo!  We also see Herbie Hancock playing it, John Coltrane playing it (several times), Michael Brecker playing it, and then, at about 1:02, me playing it at, I think, the Mount Fuji festival with the Brecker Brothers (I remember the shirt, it was hot as hell that day), in full mullet-and-mustache mode (what can I say, it was 1992…).  SO, what is it?  And why does everybody play it?  And should you play it?  Well:


1.  It’s just a little collection of notes that somebody made up, I guess.  Here they are, in C minor (or maybe Bb major, or it'd work on an get the drift...:



2.  Why does everybody play it?  Maybe it’s one of those things that’s like “Let’s Go Out To The Lobby” in the old days of movie-watching:


where it’s a little bit of a break from driving the bus on a solo, a little bit of auto-pilot that lets the synapses refresh for some hopefully more creative soloing to come?  


3.  A lot of jazz vocabulary is actually made up of little snippets like this;  if you listen to jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and so forth, you can sometimes even hear them cracking each other up by taking a little bit of stuff like this and turning it in and around.  One of the funniest things I ever saw on a stage was George Shearing taking the little melody from "You can take Salem out of the country, can't take the country out of Salem", the jingle for those cigarettes, and sticking it into a dozen different tunes in different ways...


3.  Yes, you should probably add it to your vocabulary;  if it’s good enough for Freddie and Herbie and Mike and Trane, it’s good enough for us!