Coleman accompaniments

Coleman accompaniments

I was at a session tonight and I realized how much I hear chordal accompaniments in my head when I play. The guitarist was playing well, but very far from what I heard in my mind when I play alone. I thought back to the Coleman recordings I’ve heard with the accompaniments from Mars and thought that perhap they worked for Michael because he DIDN"T hear chords behind the music when he played alone. Thougthts?

Re: Coleman accompaniments

This is going to sound strange. All I ever hear with traditional Irish tunes ( in my head ) is the melody. It’s always more difficult for me to pick up a new tune when someone is playing guitar accompaniment.
I love drones & fiddle double stops. I can’t get enough of a good uilleann piper.
But to learn a tune I really need to hear the tune. That’s just me though. Carry on.
What’s the accompaniment from Mars?

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"What’s the accompaniment from Mars?"

Some of the sets have horribly out-of-tune piano accompaniment. Not just a clunker here or there, but a completely different key altogether.

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So that’s why everybody hates piano.
I just listened to some samples on line & they must be mono recordings. You can’t separate out the channels. Thanks for the insight.

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I was told that if you booked him for a party Coleman played solo. With Gillespie on the radio it was just two fiddles. I don’t think he cared about backup, really. It was just something the record and (later on) radio people wanted so they got it. The only really out-of-this-world backer on his 78s was Kathleen What’s Her Name, perhaps she was just a friend or something.
Perhaps even he found the results unnerving, we don’t know. Certainly he had good intonation. Well, I think so. Nothing is so out-of-tune it puts me off, what’s an example of these hideously discordant sides meredith? Some of them are a bit monolithic, you might say.

On his last session (which I didn’t upload to the Internet Archive as the dub was given to me in a private trade) he totally loses the piano player in one tune - it’s a real train wreck for about 4 bars.

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Maybe you mean something like the Lady on the Island, where the piano is in tune but she played an A chord throughout, for a reel in D. That’s definitely from Mars.

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I really wish Coleman just played by himself on those recordings. Those piano players were sh*te…. Is that the first instance of piano accompanying Irish fiddle? If so my god what a rough start. If only they cared a bit for the melodies like Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill, or Felix Dolan. Though I find that many modern accompaniments tend to glorify the melody to extreme and take over, and the subtleties of the music get stomped on in the same way as some hired inexperienced piano player (from the 1920s-monolithic enough). It should be support, and they should listen to who they support! The music was originally a solo expression, and I’m sure there was no thought of some piano player ‘boom chucking’ or some guitarist strumming. So ye backers out there… listen ye hear!!!!! I was at a session manys a time the tune changed and nobody noticed until all the way though…. Listen ye dreamers! It’s the language you forgot!!!

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Scott Skinner famously stormed off stage in the USA when stuck with an unsuitable pianist

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Remember that thing in Oh Brother Where Art Thou? When George Cloony has this bewildered attitude to someone offering them money to sing into a little box? I’m sure there was a bit of that with Coleman. I’m not saying he didn’t know what he was doing, but I’m sure he had no comprehension of the importance we give now to posterity. I’m sure he new the piano was horrid, but just brushed it off, it didn’t matter.

And we can learn from that. Learn that the here and now is the important thing with this music. It’s just the moment. Posterity is for the arrogant.

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Hi Plunkett
You may be interested in a discussion I submitted on 23 September 2005 with information on Coleman’s accompanists - and the ensuing discussion !
All the best, Sharon

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The link to Sharon’s discussion is https://thesession.org/discussions/7821
I’m inclined to think that in those days Michael Coleman was lumbered with whatever painist the radio studio had available on the day. A rehearsal was probably a rarity, time was of the essence so it was a case of get in there, play and hope for the best.

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Oops! "pianist" - a Freudian slip there!

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Some people think Coleman makes a nice accompaniment for a ham sandwich, but I’ve always prefered the milder wholegrain mustards

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Let me be clear. The piano accompaniments stink.

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The piano players were selected by the record companies from the musicians union Local 802 in New York. He recorded 80 sides so this became routine. Up to that time traditional music was played without accompaniment. Coleman"s ear never developed towards harmony . He would just about be aware that there was someone in the room. His expression — bowing technique — and variations — influence fiddle players to this day.

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The piano players were selected by the record co from the musicians union Local 802 in New York. He recorded 80 sides so it became a routine. Up to that time traditional music was played unaccompanied and Coleman"s ear never developed towards harmony. He would just about be aware that there was someone else in the room. Accompaniment would not be important to him.

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The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consists in nothing more than the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star.

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) English-American essayist

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Heck with perfection, at least they could have banged on the piano in the same damn key the man was in. Cripes.