According to Wikipedia,
The Procrastinator is an album by jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan released on the Blue Note label, featuring performances by Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Hutcherson, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Billy Higgins. It was originally issued in 1978 as a double LP (catalogue BN-LA582-J2) featuring tracks recorded in three different sessions: July 1967, September 1969 and October 1969. In 1995, it was finally reissued on CD, which, however, included only the 1967 session.
And what a 1967 session it is! It makes sense to keep it as a single disc, 40 minutes of perfect music that should have been released at the time.
All these musicians recorded together frequently but never quite in this combination. As Jeff Williams first pointed out to me, it is particularly interesting to hear Ron, Herbie, and Higgins working as a unit.
I tweeted about this album early this morning when first spinning it. It's an album that I wanted to get to know better, and I kept it on repeat while doing household chores. Some nice twitter responses followed...
Done with the chores and inspired by the tweets, I transcribed the A-flat minor blues "Party Time."
The head alone was impossible to notate accurately. I think I almost broke Finale trying to figure out how to do an over-the-bar quintuplet from the pickup into bar 2.
In the end, this is a minimal amount of information about intensely detailed music. Bar 40 is particularly incorrect. If someone with better ears and more Finale chops wants to run with this and clean it up, find me and I'll send you the file.
But honestly, anything that swings this hard can't really be notated.
Anyway, I learned a lot. Among other things, I noticed that Wayne's low blast towards the end was probably a contrapuntal response to Ron going high for a few bars.
Some of the Procrastinator twitter comments:
Drew Williams: "How great does Wayne Shorter sound on that record? Ron Carter and Billy Higgins together? Amazing."
Dave Chisholm: "YES nobody talks about this album. i'm going to listen to it today. thanks for the reminder!"
Mark Styker: "Have it on LP twofer. One of Lee's most progressive. Herbie's Party Time comping/solo!! Rhythm section so relaxed. BH is God...Probably held b/c no funk tune ala Sidewinder/Cornbread/Gigolo. Incredible era. Masterpiece by midnight most nights"
Ted Gioia: "I was reviewing for my college paper when the LP first came out. I too was puzzled why they'd waited. One of Blue Note's best"
Kevin McNeilly: "I had a cassette of The Procrastinator that spent about a year with me off and on on the car stereo: driving music."
Ken Pickering: "Scooped that Lee Morgan date on 2fer in 70's. Great music. Grabbed Japanese pressing later on. Glad Wayne's still touring!"
Nathan Clevenger: "'Rio' is ripe for rediscovery."
Rick Simpson: "Wayne's solo entrance on the title track...yeah..."
Aidan Carroll: "yes! Higgins & Ron! Woo"
Will Friedwald: "After THE SIDEWINDER & THE RUMPROLLER, I was always expecting his next album to be LEE MORGAN: THE MOTHERF**KER!"
UPDATE: Dan Schmidt (dfan.org) did a version of Wayne's part that is undeniably better. Dan says:
It's really tough to notate this when the deviation from the beat is as important as the base rhythm it's playing with! Musical notation needs a good indication of "ahead of the beat" or "behind the beat." Little arrows above the noteheads might work well but a right arrow, say, could be read as either "push ahead" or "move this note to the right" (i.e. delay it).
My changes range from "I'm sure this is how Shorter thought of it" to "you could totally argue either way" to "I hear it this way but I bet I'm wrong." I'll let you decide which are which.
If there's a pattern I think it's that when we disagree I tend to notate things later than you (I think note n is on the beat, but you've put note n before the beat and don't arrive at the beat until note n+1). I am not sure what that means in terms of our ears but it's interesting that it's pretty consistent.
Probably I put a few things too early because of how much Wayne is laying back (if that makes sense)... The other thing that would have helped me is if I had sung the solo for a few days first. I went in pretty cold.