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Dolphin Dance, Herbie Hancock

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Herbie Hancock, what can I say? The greatest, though it's not a competition, the great visionary, the high priest, the genius...

Though I am very critical of some of his work, his piano playing is always top notch, refined, sophisticated, harmonically rich, profound. I had better shut up now, but, you get my drift.

The song Dolphin Dance has been with me for so many years. A great tune with a lot of changes and modulations, but, nevertheless, quite straightforward.

I wanted to "update" it with a style that is a little bit more "modern", reflecting the styles of drummers like Brian Blade, and give it a bass groove, Dave Holland style.

Harmonically, the tune is pretty straightforward, though there have been huge battles over the "bridge" part with the two sus chords (Gsus and Fsus). Every time you hear Herbie play it, he plays it differently. For him these chords are dominant chords and he imposes all kinds of harmony to them: diminished, flat out mixolydian, Lydian dominant (yes, on a sus4 chord!, that's Herbie Hancock, man!).

The end of the tune has been debated a lot, with the use of the AbMaj7#5 and all. To me, and I'm no great musician, so don't take my word for it, it all sounds Diminished. After the Bbm7 chord it's all G13b9, I think. A setup for the first chord of the next chorus, the Cm7.

Here you can find the file (mgu file) for the tune. Remember, the file wants to play a Jazzstylezz style. If you don't have styles from Jazzstylezz, you can use another style that you like.

The style is in Modal Pack 1


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