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Graduate Pre-Recital Paper

Geoffrey Dean

Graduate Jazz Studies

Mark Boling, Donald Brown, Dr. Jacqueline Avila
March 27, 2014

Geoffrey Dean
Graduate Recital Program
Thursday, March 27,2014
Haslam Recital Hall

Graduate Jazz Recital Repertoire

I Didnt Know What Time It Was

Richard Rodgers (1902-1977)

Lorenz Hart (1895-1943)

Giant Steps

John Coltrane

F.T.B. (Gonna Be Alright)

Robert Glasper

N.Q.E. (Naguib Qormah Effendi)

Austin Peralta

But Not For Me




George Gershwin (1898-1937)

Ira Gershwin (1896-1983)

Looking Up

Michel Petrucciani (1962-1999)

Beethovens Piano Sonata No.8, Pathetique

Orleans Inspiration

Geoffrey Dean, Piano

Will Yager, Bass
Hunter Deacon, Drums
Joe Jordan, Trumpet
Will Doran, Piano, Synth

Hiromi Uehara


Henry Butler


Over the last two years of graduate school I have contemplated the repertoire that I would
perform on my graduate recital. I decided to do an unofficial recital in Spring 2013 to try out
some repertoire I was interested in developing. However, I saved the compositions I favored
most for the official graduate recital. The two biggest factors in choosing the final repertoire
were the contributions of Donald Brown to my harmonic and repertoire knowledge, as well as
my love and continued study of solo piano.
I was primarily working playing solo piano in Washington D.C. before beginning my
graduate studies. It has always been a challenge for me to develop a solo piano style in a funk or
blues setting so this skill set has been an ongoing pursuit. The solo pieces (I Didnt Know What
Time It Was, Orleans Inspiration) were chosen with this in mind. In what I consider an
extension of solo piano, the other piano feature is a two piano interpretation of George
Gershwins But Not For Me. The walking bass style I have been working on for years can be
applied in a two piano setting and I feel that two piano jazz is something most people do not
often have an opportunity to see. In addition the first performer to introduce me to jazz was the
late great pianist and educator Dr. Billy Taylor. Dr. Taylors trio was the first live performance I
recall hearing. One his many accomplishments involved him playing two piano duets on the
different television and radio series he hosted. The choice to perform this song in this context is
in dedication to Dr. Taylor.
The remaining songs involve a full rhythm section and contain a balance of melodies and
rhythmic styles that have appealed to me. In addition there are some chosen as vehicles to
implement the many harmonic options that Donald Brown has bestowed upon me since
beginning my studies at the University of Tennessee.
Giant Steps is a modern standard that helped propel the harmonic norms of jazz into a
new direction after its 1960 release.

F.T.B. is an example of the R&B influence popular in Robert Glaspers jazz and uses
electric piano to create a different sonic texture. Robert Glasper has become one of the most
popular artists today and I felt it would be good to represent his more mellow approach to jazz
with this composition.
N.Q.E. is a tribute to the piano prodigy Austin Peralta whose untimely death in late 2012
was brought to my attention by Donald Brown. I have since done a number of studies on Peralta
and his modern, McCoy Tyner influenced playing. I have been working with Donald on playing
modal in the style of Tyner so Peraltas playing has been very relevant to me. This tune offers a
modal harmonic foundation with a funk beat for a modern touch.
Looking Up by Michel Petruccianni is the only Latin composition on the recital.
Petrucciani has always been an inspiration to me because despite his physical disabilities he
created some of the most melodic, accessible compositions Ive heard from a modern jazz
pianist, exemplified by this composition.
Hiromi Ueharas Piano Sonata No.8, Pathetique is the only ballad on the repertoire. I first
heard this composition when I saw Hiromi live in 2012 shortly after its release on the album
Voice (2011). It resonated with me because it begins with a classical interpretation before
evolving into a soulful ballad which changes time feels throughout. Having been raised a
classical pianist this is a perfect synthesis of my roots and the current styles of music I now
improvise on.
In this paper I will further detail But Not For Me, Giant Steps, and I Didnt Know
What Time It Was and context in which they will be presented.
But Not For Me is a popular standard written for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy. The
music was composed by George Gershwin and the lyrics by Ira Gershwin. George Gershwin
(1898-1937) was a prodigious talent at the piano as a player and a composer. After beginning his
piano studies in early childhood he had dropped out of school at age twelve and began working
professionally as a musician at age fifteen. Initially he worked as a song plugger, someone who

would sight read music in stores for customers interested in purchasing the music. He then
graduated to making rolls for player pianos, eventually accumulating 140 rolls over a 10 year
period.1 Over the next ten years his talent at the piano and skills as a composer would lead him
to being one of the most significant composers in America.
Gershwin would go on to write many compositions that would become part of the
American songbook and standard jazz repertoire. He may be known best for his composition
Rhapsody in Blue (1924). Gershwin is also credited with writing one of the few highly acclaimed
American operas Porgy and Bess (1935). Gershwin combined elements of the jazz he heard in
his native New York within his large scale orchestral work to give it its signature sound. Upon its
1924 release Rhapsody In Blue was instantly well received and has become one of the most wellknown American works in history.2 Gershwin worked with his brother Ira in the creation of many
popular musicals starting in the early 1920s. By the time But Not For Me was created George
Gershwin had already established mainstream success in both the popular and classical genres.
The writing style is fitting to that of the Tin Pan alley compositions of the period. It is
demonstrative of the popular style of the early 1930s and was regarded as a success after being
introduced in the original production by Ginger Rogers. Gershwin would continue to compose
until his untimely death in 1937 of a brain tumor.
The lyrics to the composition were written by Ira Gershwin, Georges older brother. Ira
was the first born child into the Gershwin family and Georges collaborator from the beginning
of the 1920s. They collaborated on their first musical Lady Be Good in 1924 and would go on to
create over a dozen musicals together. Three of Gershwins songs were nominated for Academy

1 Howard Pollack, George Gershwin:His Life And Work (Los Angeles:University of

California Press, 2006), 66-70.
2 Ibid. 304

Awards although none were awarded. His last major work was Judy Garlands A Star Is Born
(1954). The melancholy lyrics for But Not For Me were written by Ira Gershwin as:

Old Man Sunshine, listen, you,

Ends in a marriage knot,

Never tell me dreams come true,

And there's no knot for me.3

Just try it, and I'll start a riot,

Beatrice Fairfax don't you dare,
Ever tell me she will care,
I'm certain, It's the final curtain..

They're writing songs of love, but not for

A lucky star's above, but not for me,
With love to lead the way,
I found more clouds of grey,
Than any Russian play could guarantee.
I was a fool to fall, and get that way,
Hi ho! Alas! And also Lack a day!
Although I can't dismiss,
The memory of her kiss,
I guess she's not for me.
It all began so well, but what an end,
This is the time a fella needs a friend,
When every happy plot,

3 Deena Rosenberg, Fascinating

Rhythm: The Collaboration of George
and Ira Gershwin (New York: Penguin,
1991), 176-179.

It has since been covered by some of the most famous names in pop, jazz, and theatre
including a film performance by Judy Garland. Other performers include, Frank Sinatra, Sam
Cooke, Miles Davis, Elton John, Sammy Davis Jr and Ella Fitzgerald just to name a few. It was
first brought to my attention as the title track for the Ahmad Jamal album At The Pershing: But
Not For Me (1958) which remains one of jazzs most popular albums. In addition John
Coltranes interpretation of the standard finds him reharmonizing the chord changes in the
fashion of his composition Giant Steps which I am also playing in this recital.
I will be stylistically approaching this song with an instrumental bebop approach for two
pianos. This is a complicated approach in that it requires pianistic consideration that is unique to
this format alone. Both pianists will improvise so their roles will shift throughout the duration of
the song.
I plan to have both pianists alternate on the melody while one plays a bass part and the
other fills in the harmony with chords. It is important to designate and be aware of each pianists
role since doubling of any register of the piano would create an oversaturation in certain ranges,
particularly in the bass. Each pianist is required to improvise a walking bass line while
accompanying chords in the right hand as the other pianist solos over the form. I would like to
write and perform a shout chorus in unison with the secondary pianist at the end of the solos to
create maximum energy and volume at the climax of the performance.
The form of But Not For Me is an ABAB 32 bar form in the key of E-flat.4 I will
discard the rubato verse associated with the music theatre production which is not included in the
32 bar refrain form. Harmonically this is the least complicated song on the recital. I chose this
because I wanted to show on a fairly basic harmonic form how two pianists are able to play very
differently. Will Doran has assimilated more modern harmonic approaches in some respects than

4 Ibid.

myself who performs in a more blues based style. This basic standard opposed to a more modern
composition allows a more obvious diversity in playing styles.
The tempo will be performed Medium-Up, somewhere around 170-190 beats per minute.
The performance will contain a swing eighth feel throughout its entirety. I chose to do this
because of all the songs on the recital Giant Steps is the only other piece performed with a
swing feel.
Volume is an important element in this performance because the general volume of the
tune which should ebb and flow is not the only issue. In the two piano context the different hands
take on different roles pertaining to volume and if the bass walking from one player is too loud
then the other players soloing may be eaten up by the bass volume of the other. The result is that
both pianists must not only be adjusting their volume personally for effect, but also in reaction to
the other pianists volume in a highly sensitive way. The two piano presentation of But Not For
Me should prove to be a unique example of dual instrument collaboration.
I Didnt Know What Time It Was is a popular standard composed by Richard Rodgers
with Lyrics by Lorenz Hart. It premiered in the 1939 musical Too Many Girls originally
performed by Richard Kollmar and Marcy Westcott.5 It has since been performed by many
popular artists and has been adopted as a feature in the American Songbook and as a jazz
standard. Some popular interpreters include Count Basie, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, The
Supremes, Billie Holiday, Brad Mehldau, Chick Corea, and Donald Brown. Donald Browns
arrangement will be the foundation for this performance.
Richard Rogers was a New York City native from a German Jewish family who became
one of the most important American composers of the 20th century before his death in 1979.
Rodgers is often associated with lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein for producing
some of the most memorable songs in the 20th century repertoire. Rodgers and Hart are
5 Gary Marmorstein, A Ship Without A Sail: The Life Of Lorenz Hart.(New York: Simon
Schuster, 2012) 356-358.

responsible for such compositions as My Romance, My Funny Valentine, Falling in Love

with Love, and Blue Moon which would have a recurring popularity on doo-wop charts
decades after its composition. Rodgers and Hammerstein are credited with such compositions as
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin, My Favorite Things, The Sound of Music and the musicals
South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I.6
Lorenz Hart was born in Harlem to Jewish parents in 1895. He is responsible for writing
lyrics to some of the most popular songs in the American songbook. He is often associated with
Richard Rodgers who he met at Columbia University. Together they wrote 26 musicals together.
Hart suffered from depression and this disposition is reflected in his some of his lyrics such as
My Funny Valentine for example. He is popularly known for songs such as The Lady is a
Tramp, Thou Swell, I Could Write A Book, Isnt It Romantic, and many others. He
suffered from alcoholism and died of pneumonia in 1943 months after breaking partnership with
Rodgers. At the time of his death he had written over 800 songs over the course of twenty-five
years7 Harts lyrics for I Didnt Know What Time It Was are as follows:
Once I was young --

I thought I had a trick or two

Yesterday, perhaps --

Up my imaginary sleeve.

Danced with Jim and Paul

And kissed some other chaps.

And now I know I was naive.

Once I was young,

I didn't know what time it was

But never was naive.

Then I met you.

6 Geoffrey Block, Richard Rodgers (Harrisonburg, Yale University, 2003) 1-6

7 Gary Marmorstein, A Ship Without A Sail: The Life Of Lorenz Hart.(New York: Simon
& Schuster, 2012) 1,19

Oh, what a lovely time it was,

How sublime it was too!

I'm wise,
And I know what time it is now.

I didn't know what day it was

You held my hand.

Grand to be alive, to be young,

Warm like the month of May it was,

To be mad, to be yours alone!

And I'll say it was grand.

Grand to see your face, feel your


Grand to be alive, to be young,

Hear your voice say I'm all your own.

To be mad, to be yours alone!

Grand to see your face, feel your

I didn't know what year it was


Life was no prize.

Hear your voice say I'm all your own.

I wanted love and here it was

shining out of your eyes.

I didn't know what year it was

Life was no prize.

I'm wise,

I wanted love and here it was

and I know what time it is now

shining out of your eyes.

The arrangement of I Didnt Know What Time It Was that I will model my
performance after comes from Donald Browns interpretation on his album Piano Short Stories.
Released in 1996, Piano Short Stories is an album of solo piano performances. I chose this song
because it is one of the funkiest solo piano arrangements I have ever heard. It is the first song I
ever heard from Donald Brown. My teacher at the Berklee College Of Music Jetro Da Silva
brought me into a room one day and told me he wanted me to listen to his favorite pianist. I had

never heard the name Donald Brown before but after the first 15 seconds of that song I wasnt
going to forget it. A few months later I was applying for Masters programs in jazz and when I
found out Donald Brown was also a highly regarded teacher at the University Tennessee I found
myself considering few other options.
I will be playing through the form of Donalds arrangement in my performance. This
consists of a chordal introduction in the middle register of the piano rotating through an E minor
and B minor voicings before bringing in a left hand bass line to accompany it. After eight bars of
introduction the form of the tune begins with a chord melody in the right hand and a funk
bassline in the left. The bridge changes feels from funk to walking bass before switching back to
funk for the C section. The riff from the introduction is played once more before soloing through
the form of the song. The introduction is continued and concludes the song without playing the
head through again.
The standard form of the tune is AABA with a four measure extension on the final A. It
shifts between E minor and its relative G major. The tune is often performed as a ballad or
medium tempo swing however performing it in this solo style presents certain challenges. Right
hand soloing over the form becomes more difficult when dealing with a complicated funk bass
line. On the recording Donald strips away the bass line and implies it in the bass while plugging
in chords to spell out the harmony. I have to practice this style of what I have dubbed funk
stride in order to solo naturally over the groove I set up. This tune should set up the energy for
the concert.
Giant Steps is the title track from the 1960 release by John Coltrane. It is one of Coltranes
most famous compositions and incorporates one of his signature harmonic devices known as the
Coltrane Matrix. Coltrane was constantly searching for new harmonic options and Giant Steps is
an example of that. It is a standard amongst advanced players that is generally played up tempo. I
chose to include it because it is expected for more advanced players to be able to play on the tune

but I have had very little exposure to it. I also wanted to make sure and have a straight ahead jazz
tune featuring the rhythm section. Swing is the foundation of all jazz and while it is still one of
my favorite styles to play over it is underrepresented in the concert for the sake of diversity.
John William Coltrane was born in Hamlet, NC on September 23, 1926 and was raised in
High Point, NC. He is reflected on as one of the most influential saxophonists and composers to
horn and non horn players alike. Coltranes early work began in the late 1940s with the Dizzy
Gillespie Orchestra.8 After gaining experience with Gillespie, Coltrane received an invitation to
play with Miles Davis in place of Sonny Rollins in the early 1950s.
Coltranes time with Davis would help gain him a high level of professional experience.
During this time (1955-1959) Davis band would shift its repertoire from the standard bop
harmonies of the previous decade into more modal compositions. Coltrane was prominently
featured through the recordings of this period before being fired by Davis due to Johns struggle
with drug addiction. For a short period Coltrane then went to play with pianist Thelonious Monk,
briefly performing and recording with the pianist. Coltrane would reunite with Davis to record
in 1959. 9
Around this period Coltrane fell into a deep regiment of practice where he developed
what is known as the Coltrane Matrix. The Coltrane Matrix opened up new ways to move around
a composition in contrast to the ii-V-I harmony that dominated American popular music before it.
Although these intervals were contained in small portions of earlier compositions such as Have
You Met Miss Jones it was exploited to its full potential and integrated by Coltrane during this
period. As previously mentioned he even was able to institute and reharmonize the matrix into
standards such as But Not For Me. Coltrane would begin to shed his drug addiction in a
8 Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story Of A Sound (New York: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.,
2007) 9
9 Ibid. 42

spiritual search that would keep him focused on musical exploration. Many of his
accomplishments in the 1960s came from his quartet work with pianist McCoy Tyner, Bassist
Jimmy Garrison and Drummer Elvin Jones when recording albums such as Impressions, Ballads,
and A Love Supreme. Coltrane was known as a diligent hard worker, even known to practice
himself to sleep. Constantly working on new harmonic ideas although he even admitted on the
album cover of Giant Steps that Im worried that sometimes what Im doing just sounds like
academic exercises.10 This would be one of the few criticisms of Coltranes playing that would
recur during the Giant Steps period.
The recordings of Giant Steps which I will be basing my performance off are the
original recording from the Giant Steps album featuring Tommy Flanagan (piano), Paul
Chambers (bass), and Art Taylor (drums). However as a pianist I wanted to consider another
source since it is well known that Tommy Flanagan was caught off guard upon the recording
session for this composition and his soloing is not demonstrative of his talents. For this reason I
am also basing the performance off the Wallace Roney recording from the album The Standard
Bearer. This album features Wallace Roney (trumpet), Gary Thomas (Tenor Saxophone),
Mulgrew Miller (piano), Cindy Blackman (drums), and Charnett Moffett (bass). I chose this
version because it is being led by a trumpeter, which I will have playing on my recital. I feel that
this tune is more often associated with saxophone players so this would be a good change of
pace. Mulgrew Millers piano playing on the tune is top-notch and I will transcribe some of his
The form of Giant Steps was unconventional to standard harmonic layouts at the time
of its release. Michael Leibson writes:
Giant Steps partitions the octave into three major thirds, so that
it moves through the keys of B major, G major and Eb major. The
10 Ibid. 53

tonics of these keys form a descending cycle of major thirds, that,

when completed, form an equally-subdivided octave: B-G-Eb-B.
Coltrane draws this cycle out, over two phrases: the songs first
phrase progresses through B, G and Eb; the second phrase returns
to G, and then cycles down through Eb to B. 11

The composition revolves through the three key centers, B major, G major, and Eb major
and is played as up tempo swing around 230bpm. The standard opening bars read as :
||Bmaj7 D7| |Gmaj7 Bb7|| Ebmaj7||

Donalds descending whole step movement example on the first three bars would be as
||Bmaj7 A-7|| Gmaj7 F-7|| Ebmaj7||
The problem Ive always had regarding practicing Giant Steps is the proper approach. When I
was originally introduced to the song I was told to go through the changes using digital patterns in
combination. I was told this was how Coltrane practiced in preparation for the recording date. Since that
time I have found more and more teachers who have told me to do just the opposite. Ive been told not to
be confined by patterns and to simply play melodic. Through Donalds instruction I have been given a
number of applicable devices such as running an E-flat augmented scale or moving in whole steps
through the changes. I hope to apply these devices while developing some of my own. I am carefully
keeping track of these devices for future teaching since students always seem to have questions about this
The other issue is tempo. In the past year I have had a number of hand problems as a result of
hypertension and tendonitis. The hardest thing for me right now is playing up tempo as it creates physical
stress on the injured tendon. I plan to play this song as fast as I can comfortably without excess tension. I
will do this by practicing very slow, then improvise at a high a speed I can to get used to playing fast for a
period of time before slowing down again to remain comfortable.
11 Michael Leibson, Giant Steps, Central Park West, and Modulatory Cycles,
Thinking in Music, May 2009, Accessed February 23, 2014,

The recital will consist of a diverse repertoire spanning 75 years of composition. It will serve as a
vehicle for instituting the harmonic ideas Donald Brown has taught me as well as my own advances in a
group and solo piano context.


Block, Geoffrey. Richard Rodgers. Harrisonburg: Yale University, 2003.

Ewen, David. George Gershwin, His Journey to Greatness. New York: Ungar Publishing Co., 1986.

Kendall, Allen. George Gershwin, a Biography. New York: Universe Books. 1987.

Leibson, Michael Giant Steps, Central Park West, and Modulatory Cycles, Thinking in Music, May
2009, http://www.thinkingmusic.ca/analyses/coltrane.

Marmorstein, Gary. A Ship Without A Sail: The Life Of Lorenz Hart. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Pollack, Howard. George Gershwin:His Life And Work. Los Angeles: University of California Press,
Ben Ratliff, Coltrane: The Story Of A Sound. New York: Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.,

Rosenberg, Deena. Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin. New
York: Penguin, 1991.