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Eric -

Perhaps you or someone else could help elucidate a mysterious passage from 
Bob Dylan's "Chronicles: Part 1" where he writes about a revolutionary 
system taught to him by Lonnie Johnson, the great blues and jazz guitarist.

Dylan writes (p. 157) that his guitarmanship was electrified in the 1980s 
when he learned how to play "based on an odd- instead of even-number 
system" that he learned from jazzman Lonnie Johnson: a "highly controlled 
system of playing and relates to the notes of a scale, how they combine 
numerically, how they form melodies out of triplets..."

"Popular music is usually based on the number 2 [...] If you're using an 
odd numerical system, things that strengthen a performance begin to happen 
[...] In a diatonic scale there are eight notes, in a pentatonic scale 
there are five. If you're using the first scale, and you hit 2, 5 and 7 to 
the phrase and then repeat it, a melody forms. Or you can use the 2 three 
times. Or you can use 4 once and 7 twice [...] The possibilities are 
endless [...] I'm not a numerologist. I don't know why the number 3 is more 
metaphysically powerful than the number 2, but it is. Passion and 
enthusiasm, which sometimes can be enough to sway a crowd, aren't even 
necessary. You can manufacture faith out of nothing and there are an 
infinite number of patterns and lines that connect from key to key..."

Is this a baffling to you as it seems to me?

Russ Hamm


>The major change from the swing feel was from the triplet feel on the 
>quarter to the straight eighths. Feel is very, very, very, very, very 
>important which explains why the Bo Diddley rhythm, although it is notated 
>exactly like clave, feels so completely different from the "son montuno".
>
>If everything I wrote in this last paragraph doesn't make sense to anyone, 
>then all I can do is quote Fats Waller as he left the bandstand and was 
>asked what jazz was. He replied, "Lady, if you don't know by now, don't 
>mess with it".
>
>Eric Goldberg
>

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Russ Hamm
Ed Tech Specialist
National School District (http://nsd.us)
San Diego County, California
tel. (619) 336-7752
FAX (619) 336-7551