While they were filming the documentary-style video I posted earlier, they ended up capturing a ton of raw footage. Today Emma posted a full version of Aretha’s Baby I Love You from that footage so I thought I would share.
I like how the horns for this song are just minimalist, well-placed hits and some choice long tones with interesting harmonies. The key when playing playing stuff like this is putting the note exactly where it’s supposed to be because even a single quarter note played on the beat can have as much attitude as a whole Tower of Power tune if you do it right. Once you are placing the notes exactly where they need to be in time then you need to listen to your trumpet player (or know him really well from years of playing together) and cut off exactly when he does. The release is just as important as the attack. The same is true if you’re doing a fall. Many sax players like to fall chromatically all the way to the bottom of the horn but I always try to be out with or maybe just slightly before the trumpet because it’s their section.
I also get to play about 8 bars of “get hot quick” sax in the middle. As much fun as it can be to have an open, extended solo to really explore all aspects of a song, there’s something visceral and intriguing about having to make a bold statement in just a few bars. Something that fits the style and will hopefully give people something to remember as a counterpoint to all the wonderful singing going on and the funky rhythm section. I’m not saying I think I always pull this off perfectly but it’s always a great and rewarding challenge to try.
I know I said this before but if you’re in the Baltimore area (or Nashville, NYC, or LA these days) and you get a chance to see Emma sing definitely go to hear some cool songs and some great singing.