Personal Name

Rodney Elkins



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Publication Date

Fall 11-2-2014

Year of Release



Rodney Elkins, drum set

In collaboration with:

Jeff Wolfe, trumpet

Nick Vassar, guitar

Zach Arbogast, piano

Craig Burletic, bass

This recital is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies. Rodney Elkins is a current student of Mr. Steve Hall.

Program Notes

Yes or No Wayne Shorter (1933)

Wayne Shorter is one of the last great saxophonists still alive from the glory days of jazz. The New York Times has regarded Shorter as "probably jazz's greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser." With 10 Grammy awards, Shorter has undoubtedly had one of jazz's most fruitful careers. Shorter first came to wide prominence in the late 1950s as a member of, and eventually primary composer for, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he went on to join Miles Davis's Second Great Quintet, with Herbie Hancock and from there he co-founded the jazz fusion band Weather Report. He has recorded over 20 albums as a bandleader.

"Yes and No" is the fifth tune on Shorter's 1964 album JuJu, one of Shorter's most popular and influential albums to date. This record displays the strong influence that John Coltrane had on Shorter. "Yes and No" is of the fast swing style, and is comprised of a typical AABA form with the A sections being of a 14-bar length.

Butterfly Herbie Hancock (1940)

Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, keyboardist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet, he helped redefine the role of the rhythm section during the "post-bop" era of jazz. Born in Chicago, Hancock was considered a child prodigy, and studied classical music from the tender age of 7. In 1952, he would perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 26 with the Chicago Symphony. Catching the eye of Miles Davis with his Blue Note record Takin' Off (1962), Hancock would join one of the finest jazz ensembles ever assembled alongside other jazz greats.

"Butterfly" is the third song off of Hancock's 1974 album Thrust. At the end of his tenure with Miles Davis, Davis began pushing electric instruments on his band mates, and Hancock thoroughly began embracing the electric piano and synthesizers that would define most of his 1970's repertoire. "Butterfly" is a medium funk tune, with subtle textures and sophisticated harmonies. The solo section will be based off of one chord, F minor 7, which allows us as performers to find different ways to add to such a simple concept.

Someday My Prince Will Come Frank Churchill (1901-1942)

Frank E. Churchill was born in Maine, and studied medicine at the University of California before withdrawing to pursue a career as a theater pianist. In 1930 Churchill began working for the Walt Disney organization and eventually became the music director. Churchill would go on to score numerous memorable movies for Disney such as Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo. He was given the task to score the music to Bambi, but in 1942, Churchill tragically committed suicide on his ranch in California due to poor health and depression. Churchill was deeply troubled, and the note he left for his wife simply stated "My nerves are shot, please forgive me for this awful act. It seems to be the only cure." Edward Plumb, along with numerous other staff writers, composers and arrangers, finished the score to the movie.

"Someday My Prince Will Come" was written by Churchill and appeared in the cartoon Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs in 1937 as Disney's first feature length cartoon. Bill Evans first recorded the song in 1959, and it wasn't until Miles Davis recorded the song that "Someday My Prince Will Come" became a standard released on his 1961 record of the same name. Since then everyone from Dave Brubeck to bassist Ron Carter to drummer Cindy Blackman have recorded it.

Locomotion John Coltrane (1927-1967)

John Coltrane was only 40 years old when he died but he was already one of the most influential figures of 20th century jazz. Moving to Philadelphia in 1943, Coltrane served in the Navy during 1945-46, and returned to play with a variety of jazz groups, switching from alto sax to tenor in 1947. When he joined Miles Davis' quintet in 1955 he began attracting critical attention. In 1957 he recorded his controversial record Blue Train as a leader. He also conquered his addictions and experienced a spiritual awakening, which he celebrated in his 1964 landmark session, A Love Supreme. The album garnered two Grammy nominations--for jazz composition and performance. In 1958 Coltrane returned to Davis’ group, appearing on Milestones and Kind of Blue, which introduced Davis' modal concept and Coltrane's technique termed "sheets of sound" by writer/critic Ira Gitler.

''Locomotion" is a very fast "blues with a bridge," meaning that the traditional 12-bar blues form contains an additional "B" section not normally seen in blues. Recorded on his 1957 record Blue Train, this record is one of many influential records Coltrane produced over his short life.

Magnolia Triangle James Black (1940)

Little known outside of New Orleans and having never recorded an album under his own name, drummer James Black was a Crescent City legend capable of performing everything from complex modernist jazz to gritty funk. An accomplished composer as well, Black soaked up the traditional "second-line" rhythms of his native New Orleans. By the early '60s, Black was already doing session work for the likes of Fats Domino. His main interest was jazz, however, and he played in a group with the young Ellis Marsalis on piano and Nat Perrilliat on sax. Nat Adderley (along with brother Cannonball) used all three on his 1962 session In the Bag, to which Black contributed two compositions. The following year, Marsalis cut an underrated album of modem jazz called Monkey Puzzle; this time out Black handled four of the seven compositions, including the intricate 5/4 piece "Magnolia Triangle," which ranks as perhaps his greatest work.

"Magnolia Triangle" is a classic New Orleans composition m 5/4 meter. The form leans more towards a blues, and the melody of the song flows out of pickup notes and sits more on the off beats. Stanton Moore, famed contemporary New Orleans drummer, used "Magnolia Triangle" on his second solo record Flyin The Koop in 2001. In April of this year, Moore released Conversations as a trio album, which included "Magnolia Triangle" again. His latest adaption will be the style in which we draw from.

Angela Bob James (1939)

Two-time Grammy award winning composer and keyboardist, Bob James is recognized as one of the founders of smooth jazz and his work is frequently sampled within the music industry. Born in Marshall, Missouri in 1939, James was drawn to the piano at a very young age. His first piano teacher at the Mercy Academy Catholic School discovered that James had "perfect pitch," which means he can hear and recall different pitches perfectly. James attended the University of Michigan working toward a Bachelor's and Master s of Music degrees until he transferred to the Berklee College of Music in his sophomore year. During the 1970s, James played a major role in establishing the smooth jazz genre, appearing with Stanley Turrentine and Milt Jackson on the 1972 album Cherry and with Turrentine on his following album Don't Mess with Mister T. 1973.

"Angela", the 1978 instrumental theme from the sitcom Taxi, is probably James' most well-known work to date.

Old Folks Willard Robison (1894·1968)

Together with lyricist Dedette Lee Hill, Willard Robison wrote "Old Folks" in 1938 and it has become a well-known standard amongst jazz professionals. Born in Missouri to a long lineage of preachers, Robison always carried his religious beliefs with him wherever he went. Breaking the mold of having a career in the church, Robison followed a path in music deeply rooted in rural small town America, and a fondness for African American spirituals. Arriving in New York City, he quickly began recording piano solos for Duo Art Company, a piano manufacturer, and hosting his own radio show "The Deep River Hour."

Robison's compositional output has been largely forgotten due to the fact that only two of his compositions, "A Cottage For Sale" and "Old Folks'', ever made its way onto the music charts. "Old Folks" garners a folk-like quality with a bluesy, laid-back melody and harmonic structure. Mostly regarded as a jazz ballad, something which the composer never intended, this tune has been covered by a wide range of artists including Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Pat Metheny, and Etta James. For this program, I will reference Kenny Dorham's version on his 1959 recording of Quiet Kenny.

Blue Monk Thelonious Monk (1917-1982)

Regarded as one of the most eccentric of all jazz musicians and composers, Thelonious Monk left a definite impression in the world of jazz with his obscure playing style and reinterpretations of jazz standards during the bebop era. At a young age, Monk always had a gift for music, and could play virtually anything he heard. Traveling with gospel groups throughout the early jazz era, Monk developed his unique style that would place him at the forefront of the bebop era, along with Dizzy Gillespie and others, developing a more intellectual approach to jazz.

Blue Monk was written in 1958 and Monk would tell you that it was his favorite song to play. Thirty different versions of this song have been recorded either on albums or live performances ranging from solo versions, to small ensemble, to big band arrangements. Citing Jelly Roll Morton as an influence, Monk plays off of his idol in this composition with its lyrical leaps, chromatic embellishments, and quasi-ragtime syncopations, all of which are very suggestive of Morton's style. Written in the 12-bar blues form, Monk puts a spin on the traditional progression (I-IV-V7), by adding an extra IV chord in measure 2, and following the IV chord in measure 5 with a diminished seventh chord a half step higher. The melody is constructed with four note chromatic lines, and is one that is quite memorable and sing-able. For this concert, I have arranged Blue Monk in the style of New Orleans second line, using mostly the snare drum, with hard swinging rhythms.


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Marshall University Music Department Presents a Senior Recital, Rodney Elkins, drum set