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Jimmy Raney’s Solo on ‘Double Image’

Jazzed Magazine • Focus SessionSeptember 2012 • September 21, 2012

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By Scott Mercer

“Double Image,” which was recorded in 1954 and released on the Jimmy Raney A album features the very familiar changes from the standard, “There Will Never Be Another You.” From the opening passage played over the break, Raney clearly demonstrates his stunning technical and musical mastery. The solo has a nice balance of inside and outside sounds that gracefully weave their way through the changes, and the inclusion of varied phrasing and effective use of rests provides a great deal of interest and really propels the solo. Diatonic material manifests itself in the form of scalar and arpeggiated passages, and the use of superimposed triads and other well-placed chromaticism create a nice sense of tension and release. Raney had a knack for mixing simple motivic development with complex and almost dangerous lines into one well-crafted solo.

The solo break opens with an AbM7 arpeggio and immediately moves into a whole-tone pattern suitable for a II augmented dominant (V7+/V) that Raney moves down by a half step which establishes the sound of the V+ chord. The first time I heard this brief statement, I was hooked. Simplicity defines the material that is heard in the first four bars of the form, with its short ideas and space concluding with the tasteful B natural to identify the G7 chord. Raney elects to not address the Cm7 in the fifth bar of the form, instead superimposing a B minor scale passage in bar six that serves as a nice chromatic link to the B♭mM7 arpeggio in bar seven. Over the E♭7 in measure eight, Raney uses chromaticism in an enclosure figure resolving to the 3rd of the chord followed by the ♭9 and bebop ♭7-7 figure targeting the chord root. Bars nine through 12 feature arpeggiated and scalar passages with chromatic passing tones. The B natural #7 used over the Cm chord in bar 12 anticipates a series of chromatically ascending major triad arpeggios (G, Ab, and A), which creates tension that builds throughout the phrase and concludes on the 9 of the I chord. In Bars 19 and 20, Raney introduces a simple idea that launches a longer phrase in mm. 23-24, which adheres to the tonal center of Ab major. When the A♭ (IV) chord arrives in m. 25 the Raney very quickly switches tonality from A♭ major to A♭ minor in anticipation of the minor iv chord in the following bar. Finally, Raney’s good use of space and interesting phrasing of diatonic material brings us to the end on the first chorus.

The I chord in m. 33 gets a Lydian treatment through the use of arpeggiated F major and G minor triads, and Raney again uses a raised 4 in the form of an F# over the C minor chord in bars 37-38 and A natural over the E♭7 in m. 40. Bars 39-40 provides a clear example of the use of chromatic passing and neighbor tones. Over the IV-♭VII-I progression in mm. 41-44, the arpeggios A♭ major, A♭ minor, and Gm7 do a nice job of outlining guide tones, and the line C–C♭-B♭ creates a cleverly imbedded melodic step progression of chord tones. Bars 45-48 give us a very brief glimpse of the Lydian concept with the B natural over the F7, and the chromatic passing tone that leads to the third of the B♭7 chord is another common use of the language. For three measures beginning in m. 49, Raney creates a very nice 3 against 4 feel using a simple motive which also outlines a melodic step progression from E♭ up to the A♭ in bar 51. The chromatic passing tone Fb at the end of bar 52 leads to a beautiful idea the repeats the respective 3rds of the chords for three measures using the simplest of rhythms. The six note figure used over the E♭7 chord in m. 56 includes a ♭13, #9 and ♭9 and the E♭ quarter notes in m. 57 are a nice nod to the one note motive that began the 5 measure phrase. In m. 58, Raney again finds the C♭ that so clearly defines the sound of the harmony, and in the following measure, he revisits the chromatic passing tone up to the 3rd of the I chord. Measure 61 has a simple, diatonic passage that seems to imply that the solo is winding down. After a final descending passage in m. 64, which includes chromatic passing tones and a ♭9 over the B♭7, Raney comes to rest on the 5 of the I chord.

While the note choices in this example are excellent, some of the larger scale ideas are also of great interest. It is most important to recognize that the solo is still greater that the sum of its parts. It is music! When the great artists play something like this, it is instinctive. Studying the work for analytical purposes is a valuable learning tool, but when you pick up the instrument, just make music.



Scott Mercer is an associate professor of Music in his 23rd year at Vincennes University, where he teaches Music Theory/Skills, Music Technology, and Audio Recording. Mercer holds a Master of Music in Jazz Studies from Indiana University and a B.S. in Music: Concentration in Merchandising from Indiana State University.

Since 1984, Mercer has performed as a guitarist professionally and semi-professionally in the Midwest. He has performed as a guitarist with jazz greats J.J. Johnson and Frank Vignola, and comedian, Rich Little. Currently, he performs jazz and popular styles with the Two Tone Express and the Steve Greenwell trio, both based in the southern Indiana area. 

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