Herlin Riley’s solo on ‘Dancing With Desire’

Check out this transcription and observations of Herlin Riley’s solo on Dancing With Desire by our drummer, Tom Wright!

Record: ‘Cream of the Crescent’ (Criss Cross, 2005).

Personnel: Herlin Riley (Drums), Wycliffe Gordon (Trombone), Wynton Marsalis (Trumpet), Victor Goines (Tenor Sax, Soprano Sax and Clarinet), Eric Lewis (Piano), Reginald Veal (Bass).

Herlin Riley transcription by Tom Wright
Herlin Riley transcription by Tom Wright

Observations on the solo:

-Marks the form very clearly. For example, notice the similarity between the first two A sections of the solo, versus the contrasting sound of the first B section. What’s more there is a certain theme to each 4 bar section of the form.

-After two choruses of soloing, Herlin plays a very clear 4 bar break/’call’ to bring the band back in. The call is so texturally different from the previous bars and incorporates repetition and diminution of rhythm it is clearly an intended ‘call’ rather than an extension of the form.

 

Personal favourite moments:

-The contrast between rolls on the toms and hi-hat ‘barks’ in the first two A sections

-The first and second B sections have a very clear shape to them (a characteristic of Herlin’s I hear often in his playing).

-The elasticity of phrasing at bars 14 and 16. It’s so elastic my transcription can only guess at how Herlin’s conceiving it, and the beauty is somewhat lost on paper.

-The call is also wonderfully clear and ‘very Herlin’.

Blog by Tom Wright

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