Transcriptions: London Blues by Christiaan 'Niliov' van Hemert

Well, I think words alone are insufficient when it comes to describing the music of Brad Mehldau. To me this man is definitely one of the most important and innovative pianists today. The song, which is featured here is from his first album: "Introducing Brad Mehldau". "London Blues" is in fact just a blues in F, although on first hearing that might not seem the case. Let's look at the theme:

The theme clearly starts on a F7, followed by a descending pattern of chords to a B7. This is quite "normal": B7 of course is the tritome substitute for F7, so a Bb7 is expected. This chord is "skipped" though and "replaced" with a clever sequence of cluster voiced major7 chords. This sequence works because of three reasons. First: the chords are all a minor third apart, Bmaj7 - Dmaj7 - F#maj7 - Amaj7, so in fact the bass notes themselves form a chord! Second: they are all maj7 chords, thus providing a logical and somewhat "spacey" sound. And third: the sequence ends in a Amaj7, a substitute for Amin7, which would be normal on that spot. The D7b10 nicely introduces the Abmin/Db7 pedal, which is just a stretched substitute for G7 leading to C7. Of course this C7 is replaced by means of an old "trick": "sussing the dominants", so no C7 but a C7sus. Well, if you look at the tune this way it IS a blues, right?

©1998 Christiaan 'Niliov' van Hemert. JRC.  JAZZ RESOURCE CENTER