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LESSONS INDEX

Daily Village
Steve Khan original as played on his recording
ARROW - 1979

 
by Steve Khan

Fai click qui per leggere la versione in italiano

On each of the three albums I did for Columbia, I tried to have one tune which featured my acoustic guitar style, in those days played on a David Russell Young 6-string steel-string, set against the backdrop of Don Grolnick's Fender Rhodes style. On "TIGHTROPE"('77) this was heard on the tune, "Star Chamber," and "Daily Valley" was the acoustic guitar feature on "THE BLUE MAN"('78). Here I'm presenting "Daily Village," which served this purpose on '79's "ARROWS." The influence of this tune is actually Martin Denny's 'jungle' classic, "Quiet Village," which I used to hear a great deal on the radio in Los Angeles when I was a kid during the '50s. I guess more than anything, what attracted me to that rather strange little instrumental was the mood suggested by the harmonies which seemed to float over a bass tumbao or vamp. I suppose, without actually knowing it, I was beginning to fall in love with Latin music. By direct comparison, "Daily Village" is not particularly complex from a harmonic perspective.
The mood is clearly set by Grolnick's Rhodes and Will Lee's interpretation of the bass line(complete with Larry Graham-isms here and there) on an Ebm7(sus) chord during [I], and this continues throughout [A]. When I was reviewing this mini-score to present here, while reading along and listening to the recording, I realized that I should have written it in cut-time, because we are feeling the pulse 'in two.' In other words, you would be tapping your foot on the half-notes on beats '1' and '3.' So, I corrected the score to reflect this.

At [A2], where we finally have our first harmonic release, and the chord changes to A7(13b5), as with both [A] sections, the dense voicings reflect a sense of harmony which now reminds me of the Clare Fischer influence which became much more profound in later years. One small arranging device I used to employ selectively was having Don Grolnick improvise some string pads on the very old ARP String Ensemble, not a very sophisticated instrument by today's standards but, in his hands, it still sounded wonderful. I think, in general, the secret to making 'synth string pads' work is that, when you are mixing, you keep them tucked away so that their appearance is 'felt' more than actually heard. The louder they are in a mix, the more they reveal their true source.

F
inally, at letter [B], after a 5-bar build-up, we have our true contrast section which features Michael Brecker playing the Clare Fischer-esque melody on soprano sax. I recall that I practically had to beg him to play the soprano sax on this. Because of the inherent intonation problems, he never liked to play it, and even went so far as to("accidentally, on purpose") leave a couple of his sopranos in New York City taxis, losing them for good!!! Such stories aside, I had always loved his approach to this instrument, especially on two obscure and very electric LPs by the great pianist, Hal Galper: "THE GUERILLA BAND"('71) and "WILD BIRD"('72). To this date, I've never seen these recordings released in the CD format, not even in Japan. But, I digress, [B] finds us in a C7(b9b5) area, Gb7/C which is a sonority that can easily have a 'snake charmer' quality to it and I suppose that this is in keeping with the rest of the piece.

T
he extended solo section from [C] through [C3] reflects the two main harmonic areas of the tune: Ebm7(sus) and A7(13b5). Over the Ebm7, I am simply applying an Eb Dorian(Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db) approach. However, as there are E-naturals in the melody at bars 9 and 13 of [A], at times I also allude to Eb Phrygian, which I just translate to Db Dorian(Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb) because they contain the same notes. For the A7(13b5) sonority, I use the E melodic minor scale(E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D#), though some might choose to call this the A Lydian b7 scale(A, B, C#, D#, E, F# G). Again, they are the same! In addition to this, I like to apply the B dominant 7th pentatonic(B, C#, D#, F#, A), which captures the sound of this chordal sonority, but it can also be like 'playing the blues' a whole-step above the root. It gives things an 'earthy' feel, while still creating the interesting sounds of the extended harmonies. This application is discussed in great detail in my forthcoming book, "PENTATONIC KHANCEPTS."
As always, Don Grolnick's style of accompaniment is a thing of beauty. He knows just how one would want to be supported. There was really no one like him for being sophisticated, sensitive, soulful and very, very funky!!! As the solo comes to a close with a long hold on an Emaj7(9#4) chord, we D.S. back to [B], and again hear Michael's soprano loosely interpreting the melody with a touch of 'sass' thrown in for the benefit of all. One of my favorite moments is at about 4:03 on the CD. Here Don responds to something Michael plays with a Richard Tee type of R&B mannerism, played with simple minor triads in staccato quarter notes going down chromatically from Ebm-Dm-Dbm. Remember this is fundamentally against a C7 sound so, in addition to being very funky, it's actually pretty funny, almost sarcastic sounding too! [D] is simply a reprise of the [A] melody. Then we arrive at [E], for the improvised Fade section, which, like [A2], is the now the very familiar A7(13b5) sound. As the fade builds, we spontaneously arrived at a double-time groove. This groove was so memorable, at least to some people, that one guy I knew, each time I saw him, used to remind about that one section, that one moment, as being his favorite moment on any recording! Hard to believe! After about bar 9 of the fade, as the soloist, I make any number of double-time inferences and somehow from this, just at the tail-end, once I've switched to chords, Will, Don and Steve follow suit and off we go.

Though I've mentioned this elsewhere at the site, the DISCOGRAPHY perhaps, I was lucky to have been given a 2nd chance to produce myself because the sales of "THE BLUE MAN" were about 1/2 of what "TIGHTROPE" had achieved, and in this business, that's hardly viewed as 'progress' by an A&R executive. I remain very grateful to both Bruce Lundvall and Jim Fishel for staying with me through these three recordings. Anyway, that said, I was told that I had to have a co-producer, and was lucky enough to get my dear friend, the brilliant engineer, Elliot Scheiner to work with me. Many of you would be familiar with Elliot's Grammy Award winning work from his recordings with Steely Dan and the Eagles.
Now as for the title of this tune, and a couple of others, people have often asked me, "What does this 'Daily' stuff mean in your song titles?" Well, the truth is, it really doesn't mean anything specific, and certainly nothing too deep! Sometime between '77-'78, I went to an exhibit in New York City of some of the watercolors painted by Jean-Michel Folon, whose art has graced some 13 LP/CD covers of mine. I have often searched for song titles derived from the titles of his paintings, which usually have already been translated into English from his native French. Anyway, at this exhibition, I saw a painting which was titled "Daily Bulls," and it looked like two columns of Sphinx heads and bodies. I just couldn't make the connection between the title and what I saw. However, I wrote down this title, as it was interesting, in a little notebook and it later became the title for one of the Latin-influenced tunes on "THE BLUE MAN." I also simply 'attached' the word 'Daily' in front of another tune title, and that became "Daily Valley." Neither title really 'means' anything, and certainly nothing 'deep!' So here, as this piece was influenced by "Quiet Village," it simply became "Daily Village." And there you have it, simple as that!

With the posting of this tune, we have now presented one piece from each my first recordings as a leader. In the coming months, more and more compositions will be featured, and we are hoping that you are all enjoying having access to these lead sheets and mini-scores. It's been wonderful to see the response, and then read the feedback from all over the world.

Thanks so much to you all!!!

Daily Village
page 1 - page 2 - page 3 - page 4

Audio File (MP3 1.2 MB)





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