Monday, August 29, 2011

John Coltrane's 'Sheets of Sound' Technique

Sheets of Sound, is a term coined for Jazz and sax legend John Coltrane (I guess by now you know he is one of my all time favorites.)

In simple terms, it's the improvisation technique used by the 'Trane in the late 50's, where his performances were becoming increasingly technical and experimental.

It mainly has to do with the high speed arpeggios and scale patterns played in high speeds (almost sounding like he is sliding through the notes) and "stacking" them over a series of chords of his choosing; this way improvising takes a more free approach than just playing different scales at chord changes. This technique became much more profound in his career later when he delved into free jazz.

A great example of this is with 'Trane's work with Thelonious Monk in 1957. Give a listen and you will understand (atleast the theory), starts at 0:54:

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