My thoughts on Joe Jackson’s Medley

(article written by Rachel Flowers)

154812_177333022285153_100000253705689_533553_8160497_nI remember one day after school, I asked my mom’s friend if I could listen to the studio version of Joe Jackson’s Night and Day II. I listened to the live versions of some of the songs from 25th Anniversary Live. I heard samples of the studio versions, but I wanted to hear the whole versions. After I played the whole album on headphones, I had my mom put it on my card on a device I use called a Victor Reader Stream. I listened to all the songs, and I learned all of them.

I still like the live versions of some of these songs better, because they are played with energy, and with real instruments.

The day after I got my new flute, I played a piano and flute interpretation of Keith Emerson’s piano concerto, and Just Because. One day, when mom was home from work, I sat down at the piano, and played her these songs in a medley like the album, but not the entire songs. The day after I made my piano and flute video of Keith Emerson’s piano concerto, I thought about recording Just Because, then I thought about recording a medley of most of the songs. I took ideas from both studio and live versions.

On the opening, Prelude, (originally played on keyboard strings and cello) I played the melody on the flute and piano, more like the live version. I played every song except Glamour and Pain, and Happyland, but parts of Happyland (the chorus) and Love Got Lost (the middle section before the last chorus) were featured in the prelude. I quoted a lot of ideas from the live version more than the studio version. I played excerpts of the songs, just like what saxophonist, and flute player Najee did with his version of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.

After the prelude, I played the upbeat percussion part to the second song (with an angry name and aggressive lyrics), but I enjoy the music to it. There’s just something about the percussion section in the live version, and the song is played more dramatically than the studio version. I took a piano quote from the live version, and played it on the flute, and I had fun with it. I wanted to continue with a flute solo, but it was difficult for me to play both instruments at the same time, so I played a little piano going in to Stranger Than You, to the middle eastern, opera-like Why.

I skipped Glamour and Pain, not because I don’t like it, but I couldn’t find a way for me to put the song in the medley. Although it does have one word in the second verse, I still like the girl who sings it live better than the studio version. But I did find a way to go into Dear Mom. I improvised a little during half of the verse on Love Got Lost, but played part of the chorus, going into Just Because.

On the studio version of Just Because, it starts with a fugue played by a string quartet and the live version starts right at the song. I started with the last few parts of the fugue, (piano style), than I went to the live version. This is the dramatic part of the song. I decided to play the melody almost like the piano player from a contemporary jazz trio called The Bad Plus. I played the first verses and chorus with jazz-like voicings. During the second verse, I sang and played flute at the same time, to try to play a musical version of the words, and I also played the string part, then switched melody with piano and flute.

On the original album, the next song is Happyland, but for my arrangement, I decided to go to the last song, Stay, my favorite song. I played the first part of the melody on the flute, then played the rest of it on piano. I also quoted a couple of Emerson piano runs, which is featured on parts of this medley. I remembered I smiled after I finished playing. This is my instrumental piano-flute take on these songs, and I had a lot of fun playing them.

Rachel Flowers
MySpace: RachelFlowersMusic
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