This is the first jazz song that many bluegrassers learn to jam on. It's in the key of G, has 5 chords, and an easy melody. Sometimes I wonder, am I playing too bluegrass for jazz? Is it too jazz for bluegrass? Whatever. I will proudly take my bluegrass roots into the world of swing. It's not that I don't try for a pure swing sound, it's just at the end of the day, you have to play what comes into your head and your hands.
My neighbor moved here from Italy in 1945, just after the war. She speaks English perfectly--in a beautiful Italian accent. That's all the permission I need to play this swinging version of Gershwin's most famous bluegrass tune.
Here's a familiar fiddle-tune with a new twist: I've played "Blackbery Blossom" in one form or another since I was 13 years old. I got the idea to try it in 7/8 time after talking with a student about odd time signatures.
The secret to counting in 7 is to group the notes. This song is grouped 4 + 3. Each measure is counted like this:
1 an 2 an 1 2 3, 1 an 2 an 1 2 3
or two big beats and three quick beats:
1 2 1 2 3, 1 2 1 2 3
In this version, the A section is in 7/8, and the B section is in 4/4. The second time through, one A section is in 4/4, and the next is in 7/8. Have a listen!