Playlist pairs- 7/4 time

A new album from Juana Molina starts off with a fine, moody, and angular composition in 7/4. Juana is an Argentine multi-instrumentalist with a long career as a musician, comedian and TV star; her latest solo album Wed 21. is a wonderfully offbeat discursion into electronic folk music.  More info from her label.

This music is quite distinctive and it’s hard to find a good matching track; so to pair it I’ve fallen back on my favourite 7/4 composition, Joe Zawinul’s 74 miles away, performed by the Cannonball Adderley sextet.



17 thoughts on “Playlist pairs- 7/4 time

  1. Thanks from me to. Time signatures is something I’m trying to get my head round. i have a notoriously poor sense of rhythm so anything that focuses on this aspect is great for me.

    • There is of course the added advantage with the Molina track that she counts the beat off in Spanish in the middle of the song, if you count with her you’ll be hitting the seven beats to the bar. She counts off every other bar, so if you “fill in” the gap with your own 1-7 count you’ll be keeping the beat, ie when she counts “siete” you then continue with “uno” and try to end on “siete” before she starts again with “uno”.

  2. I don’t think it’s cheating to play Cannonball first. That’s what I did – twice ! This youtube cuts off at 9.22 but there’s another that plays the entire piece, 14.19. When Cannonball came on I went to Wiki to see who the tenor player was, it wasn’t a tenor. I’ve never heard Cannonball sound like that nor have I ever heard Nat with a tone like that, I wonder if it was the way they were recorded? Excellent sound quality that really captures the live performance, love Cannonball.
    Nor would the JM cut play, is it me? No response from the ‘start’ triangle so I went directly to Vimeo and it played OK there.
    I liked it, a totally unknown name but an interesting piece with lots of intriguing details lurking in the mix.
    Back to Cannonball, over the years I’ve created lists of ‘greatest’ for all the instrumentalists, Cannonball is always there on the alto list along with Bird, Stitt, Hodges, Benny Carter, Desmond et al.
    Here’s the complete ’74 miles’ version:

    • Thanks for posting that full length version gf, I’ve updated that one to the post. Cannonball did have a very deep sound on alto at times, he used to play games with Coltrane in Miles’ band during solo swap-overs- both would play so identically that you couldn’t pick the switch. Particularly the “trading fours” sequence on Dr. Jekyll from Milestones is a good example of this. I think producer David Axelrod had a lot to do with the sound, on Cannonball’s request Capitol put Axelrod onto his records and there is a notable difference I think, the sound is a lot harder edged.

  3. I’m glad gf posted the full version of the Cannonball Adderley: I wanted to know how it ended! Loved it! Some fantasic grooves, witty, lyrical, skilled playing and a really effective round-up. Excellent.
    I liked the Juana Molina but I doubt it would stand many replays (in my curmugeonly world). Again, lovely grooves and changes but, to me, it falls into the 7/4 trap (as ‘odd’ time signature tracks often do) of being limited harmonically because you’re stuck in the counting.
    There’s a 7/4 Julian Joseph track that is quite brilliant but it’s not on YT. Tyrannosaurus Rex, I think.

    • 74 Miles Away was Zawinul’s not-so-transparent attempt to attract Miles’ attention, it worked as Cannonball’s band was appearing next to the trumpeter’s on club dates in 67-68, and Miles was particularly taken by live performances of this track, hiring Zawinul for In a silent way and Bitches brew. The Julian Joseph track is great, thanks. One other “famous” 7/4 performance I’m very fond of is Don Ellis’ big band version of Eddie Harris’ Freedom Jazz Dance.

    • Other way around, I think- If I could do.. sounds like a homage to Ellis. It certainly sounds very similar, a very nice track, well paced. The Ellis FJD was recorded in ’66 around the same time as Miles Smiles; Eddie’s original was first performed in ’65, well worth checking out if only to see what Miles did to it. Like the Davis quintet version Harris’ original isn’t in 7/4 though.
      The GD track is good thanks, really enjoyed that. Although rather than Dolores it reminds me a bit of Al di Meola era Return to Forever, possibly the tone of the lead guitar, the lightness/fleetness of the drumming and the agility of the bass guitar. Some of the modes/solo around the 4.20-50 mark are reminiscent of John Mclaughlin’s playing on Jack Johnson era Davis studio releases. In fact there’s also some nice John Mcgl. work on a “supergroup” Freedom Jazz Dance with Miroslav Vitous/Hancock/Henderson/De Johnette. I have a vague feeling I may have mentioned this before, possibly on my Spill Davis FJD post from a couple of years back.

      • You’re probably right about the sequence, nilp, but I don’t really hear the Caravan riff (from 1970) in either the Miles or Harris 4/4 versions. Glad (obv) you heard so much in the GD track.

  4. I think the Caravan riff can be linked to the ascending piano line off Eddie’s original, through the Ellis version, though the latter certainly seems to have been the main inspiration for Caravan rather than either of the earlier two versions.
    Miles left that R&B style riff off entirely, which allowed him to focus on the theme. Where parts of Harris’ theme shift back and forth on the riff, Miles keeps all the segments “on the one”.

  5. Thanks for another intriguing pair of tunes, Nilpferd. I liked the first–I like the rhythms, which were compelling and complicated, and the tune which was cool-sweet. Her voice is a little breathy for my taste, The video was mesmerizing! Creepy and sort of beautiful. I kept finding myself looking for shapes in the fabric and features in the face in the same way I was trying to recognize words in a language I barely understand.

    Listening to the Cannonball Adderly now, and I can’t talk about it as well as Chris or Goneforiegn, but I really love it. Grounded, serious, playful, soaring, cyclical but surprising.


    • Yes, I think the breathiness does get to me a bit too on this one, it seems a little slight in places. This is probably the most “single worthy” track, it was the one which struck me first, but since listening to the album more often I’ve come to value it as a whole- it covers a lot of ground but also works coherently, if that makes sense… Molina is very articulate and her musical knowledge must be vast.

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