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Tweaking the Daily Ukulele a.k.a, the Yellow Book
Jim Beloff has put together a great book, The Daily Ukulele, 365 Songs for Better Living. This book know as the "Yellow BOok" is great for ukulele jam sessions. Here are some of the changes that I've made to the Daily Uke book affectionately know as the Yellow Book. This book is one of the go to books for ukulele jams. However, there a few tweaks and changes that I point out at our jams. I'll use this song / lesson to document them for your own jams and ukulele groups.
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Examples of songs with this, a line cliche, harmonic sequence or variation are: More, Michelle, Embraceable You, Stairway to Heaven. I even wrote a song based on this called Midnight at the Jazz Cafe on my 2002 Jazz CD of the same name.
This sequence shows up a few times in the yellow book, and like most cases it is indicated and named according to the "shapes" the chord made and not to what it's actual harmonic function is. It seems an "editor" deemed it TMI for ukulele players to handle or didn't do a harmonic analysis of the song. Well, there is no need to dumb down musical information and assume players don't what to know what is really going on – we can handle it. And it turns out this is a very common harmonic sequence that is easier to remember in its correct form.
A Line Cliche, as it's name implies creates a musical line there "something" is going on. Typically found in minor sequences or progressions creating harmonic movement in an otherwise static chord or progression. Typically moving chromatically and can move ascending or descending.
Here is an examples using Cm over four measures: | Cm | Cm | Cm | Cm |. The chromatic line would be Cm with C to root as the bass note. The descending B, Bb, A. Typically as a bass note, i.e. lowest of the chord. If we have a bass player present at a jam they would handle this and we would also address the line somewhere in the chord voicings. Cm (C Eb G), Cm/B (C Eb G B, Cm with a major 7), Cm/Bb ( Cm7, C Eb G Bb) and finally Cm/A (Cm6, C Eb G A).
The problem happens is the chords are listed as Cm CmL7*, Cm7, Cm6. Chances are most players will not know some of the chords and/or you won't get the desired line the composer intended.
* This CmL7 is Cm with a large, major seventh (maj7). This is actually where the crazy naming starts with it typically indicated as some sort of augmented chord - clearly not an augmented chord when the harmony is still C minor. The song Bye Bye Blackbird, page 40 of the yellow book is written: Gm, Gb+ (augmented), Gm7 and C7. You get the right sound but is is actually easier to remember as Gm, Gm/F#, Gm/F, Gm/E. Just Gm and descend half steps (in fret) from G down to E. Plus you'll get the bass play to play the correct bass line.
Here is a couple of songs where I have made changes:
Bye By Blackbird (pg 40)
Line Cliche: Im ImL7 Im7 Im6
This is a very common minor sequence that I've never seen notated correctly outside of the jazz world.
Simple to remember as a single minor chord with a chromatically descending line.
A couple of other minor changes I make are right after the line cliche is at add a II V to the I F, for Gm7 C7 to F.
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A Road Map Through Song
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