Big Swifty (1972 - Paramount Studios)

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For other versions of this song, see: Big Swifty.



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Notes About This Song

  • The piece follows a basic head-solo-head structure, in which the head is highly structured and rhythmically complex, and the solo parts are played over a loose vamp that would change from performance to performance.

"This piece (which comprises all of Side One of the HOT RATS Waka/Jawaka album) presents a theme in rapidly alternating time signatures, a few solos, and an out-chorus done up in a sort of Prom Night orchestration which suspends the opening rhythmic structure over a straight 4/4 accompaniment.

The restatement of the theme is actually derived from a guitar solo on the album which Sal Marquez took down on paper. After about an hour of wheeling the tape back and forth, Sal managed to transcribe this rhythmically deranged chorus (I don't have the ability to do this kind of musical dictation, but, since Marquez had a full-bore education at North Texas University, he had it covered). After he'd written it out, we proceeded to over-dub three trumpets on it, and, presto! An organized conclusion for "Big Swifty."

The arrangement played here presents that line in a harmonized setting, as well as a number of orchestrational refinements of the opening material (such as the addition of woodwinds and percussion to segments which, on the recording, were played by guitars and trumpets). 'It's not "just like the record," but you'll get the idea."

CC Clues In This Song