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Feb 20, 2020 - 1:15:20 PM
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2597 posts since 1/24/2004

Here are a few recordings I made in an effort to place clawhammer banjo in to an old, pre-bop type jazz context. I'm playing two of my favorite tunes from the 20s, "I'll See You In My Dreams" and "Avalon".

Both feature me playing banjo and clarinet, with 'Avalon' also having a touch of me on ukulele, and 'Dreams' having a touch of me on guitar.

This is an idea that somehow only occurred to me in the last few weeks. I'm still messing around trying to see what works best in this context for clawhammer. I particularly like some of the chord motion stuff I get going in 'Dreams', and aspire to get more of that worked in to other tunes.

I also am working on the inverse... clarinet in old fiddle tunes. It's coming along a little slower, as I'm relatively new to the clarinet. We'll see where that goes.

Thanks for the listens, and let me know what you think or if you have ideas for refinements, or other great old songs to try.


Feb 20, 2020 - 1:48:43 PM

316 posts since 1/20/2006

Very nice, Mark. Lovely. --Cjazz

Feb 20, 2020 - 2:21:23 PM
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R Buck


2743 posts since 9/5/2006

Here's some interesting clawhammer jazz right here.

Feb 20, 2020 - 3:01:28 PM
Players Union Member

Lew H


2415 posts since 3/10/2008

These are very nice. I've tried doing some old standards in clawhammer, but haven't got them to sound so well as you have with the multiple instruments. The ones I do include: Misty, Whatever Lola Wants, Bye Bye Blues, Heartaches, Stardust, Autumn Leaves, and The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise.  Oh!  I also do Ellington's Caravan, which makes a great clawhammer tune.

Edited by - Lew H on 02/20/2020 15:04:32

Feb 21, 2020 - 8:17:05 AM

2597 posts since 1/24/2004

Thanks for the kind words, John and Lew!

Bob, yeah, Mr. Miles is on another level. It would be one thing if he just played jazz so capably on clawhammer, or just played classical music so capably on clawhammer, or heck just played old time so capably... his playing is always lovely no matter the genre.

I started trying to figure out 'Sweet Georgia Brown' and 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love' last night. The former is a doozy, it really fits the feel of clawhammer, but really pushes me on the chord voicings.

I also started trying to figure out Flop Eared Mule on the clarinet, but I think the effort was more likely to result in a divorce than a good recording.


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