Sweet Georgia Brown-A Timeless Classic

Sweet Georgia Brown-A Timeless Classic

A tune every jazz musician must learn to play is Sweet Georgia Brown.  This tune has a great set of chord changes, and a memorable melody made famous as the theme song adopted by the Harlem Globetrotters…….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Globetrotters

I have transcribed several different solos on this tune, among them classic solos by Paul Desmond, Buddy DeFranco, and of course the timeless Benny Goodman solo.  I have played the Benny Goodman version so many times by ear for years that it has become a central part of my deep musical consciousness. 

I eventually became so immersed in this solo that I decided to expand upon it and write a clarinet quartet around it, harmonizing the solo and adding some other elements into the arrangement.  Miles Davis’ line Dig is on the same chord sequence, so that was a logical addition.  Once I had written the arrangement I hired myself a few times over as the Ocean Beach Clarinet Quartet, as I live a mere 6 or so blocks from Ocean Beach in San Francisco, recorded it and added some brief solo lines and trills.  The result can be found here at Soundcloud……https://soundcloud.com/user-84203206/sweet-georgia-brownclarinet-quartet.  The mix was done by Ray Jones who has some serious experience as an engineer and I was fortunate to have Ray show me some tricks with Logic, he did a great job with this mix.  Thanks Ray, let’s get together again soon!!

I am including the other transcriptions of Sweet Georgia Brown that I have done here for those of you that might be interested in these.  There is much to be learned from these transcriptions.  It is fascinating to see how differently these master musicians handle and approach this set of classic chord changes.

Paul Desmond…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Desmond

Sweet Georgia Brown:PD


Buddy DeFranco…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_DeFranco

Sweet Georgia Brown:BDF


And the classic Benny Goodman…

Sweet GA:BG


I will be doing a much more in depth blog post about Benny Goodman at some point in the near future, but in the meantime if you are not so familiar with Benny, read up on him here at Wikipedia……https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Goodman.  I have not been overly influenced by Benny Goodman although I have listened to a fair amount of his music, and acknowledge his greatness as a clarinetist and innovator in the jazz realm.  I have been amazed particularly by the recordings with Charlie Christian and consider those to be a huge contribution to the jazz canon, so for the most part, Benny is more than just all right with me!!

I also have a list of twenty jazz clarinetists that I plan to profile on my blog here at www.marksowlakis.com over the course of the next few years, as well as more posts about saxophonists.  One in particular that I’m working on right now is a very in depth post about tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, whom I had the honor to get to know a little over the last few years of his life.  I met Warne in 1983 and he died in 1987, but his artistry as a saxophonist and his profound wisdom will stick with me throughout my lifetime.  So please stay tuned for that….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warne_Marsh

Please enjoy these Sweet Georgia Brown transcriptions and feel free to email to me through my website if you are interested in obtaining a copy of the arrangement, including the score and parts, for the Sweet Georgia Brown Clarinet Quartet……

1 Comment
  • Nick W.
    Posted at 17:29h, 11 September Reply

    These transcriptions are a blessing on Earth; Great article. Personally I like Acker Bilk’s Sweet Georgia Brown.

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