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Blues for Jim


by

composerclark

 Genre: Classical

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Description
Blues For Jim was begun after watching several YouTube video performances by Jim Croce, a wonderful songwriter who died in an airplane crash in 1973, about two months after his biggest single, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", hit #1 on the American charts. A few other big hits of his were "Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels)", "Time in a Bottle," and"I Got a Name."

I was sixteen when he died, and I used to play and sing lots of his songs, so his death hit me pretty hard. Fast forward thirty-seven years, and I happened to be watching some video performances of Croce and his musical partner Maury Muehleisen (who also died in the same plane crash) one day, amazed all over again at what great musicians they were, and lamenting their premature demise, and so I decided to try to express some of that in a tune.

What I wrote has no relationship to any of Croce's songs; I was just trying to express what I was feeling through my own musical language. And it doesn't use blues scales or chord progressions either... "Blues" in my title just refers to a mood.

I wrote this using Finale notation software, and this performance is just a recording of Finale playing that file.
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Song Stats
Hits: 3075
Comments: 42
Fans: 19
Plays: 90
Downloads: 76
Votes: 0
Uploaded: Sep 29, 2010 - 05:42:28 PM
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2010 - 08:15:35 PM Last Played: Mar 20, 2017 - 12:07:04 AM
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Comments
magnatone said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Blues For Jim
CLARK!!!! what a THRILL to have something new from you - it's been a long time, and this is AWESOME! your piano chops are to die for, this is so complex yet entirely accessible, warm, moving and COOL!!!! (warm AND cool - got that??) please don't be a stranger around here!
Check out my latest song called Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) and Variations
composerclark said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Karen! Always wonderful to get compliments from you! It's only been about 58 weeks since my last submission, which is not so long in terms of plate tectonic movement... Actually, it's a lot longer than I realized, but I have a bunch of things I probably will start uploading over the next few months that hopefully will make up for that. Life gets far too busy sometimes...

Your comment is much appreciated!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Moviz said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Quite a wait
and it was worth it, to hear the moods flickering through this piece like memories and thoughts that travel and recur through the mind when we're relaxing and doing nothing in particular. I love the melancholic feel you painted, regards M
Check out my latest song called Angels
composerclark said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks very much, Maurice, and it's good to hear from you; I hope all is well. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Ed Hannifin said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
I loved...
...the Croce/Muehleisen team... I loved how Maury would decorate the vocal on Jim's tunes...

Your tune, on the other hand, despite being inspired by them, reminds me a bit of some of Joni Mitchell's 'Blue'-era piano things, at least in spots... I like the thoughtful way that it ventures out on different limbs at different times.... Every chord and voicing a new potential mini-mood...

It is VERY good to hear something new from you, Clark....
composerclark said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Thanks
Yeah, basically those two guys did what I wanted to be doing when I grew up; I think the musician I probably wanted to be most like was Muehleisen, whose every guitar lick was always incredibly tasteful, and, as you say, his harmonies were so understated but essential to the overall sound.

The comment about Joni Mitchell's "Blue"-era music is interesting; I used to listen to that album a lot.

Thanks very much for having a listen and leaving a comment, Ed; I appreciate it!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
damiengh said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Captured
It takes such talent to be able to put one's moods, so stylistically into a composition and have it come off this well. Your subtle streams of atonality on top of bass notes and 2nds, that resonate long enough, to take us through the sadness of a young man's heart.
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composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks very much for your warm words of kindness! Your comment about atonality took me slightly by surprise, because I guess I think of this as a pretty tonal composition, so I had another listen, and, sure enough, there are occasional moments where I could hear what you mean; thanks for pointing that out to me!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
VicDiesel said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Great piece
You're combining pretty advanced harmonies here with a simple 4/4 pulse (even 4 measure phrases) and fairly tonal bass. The effect is absolutely fantastic. Sophisticated, yet immediately appealing. Simple, yet deep.

I love!
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composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks, Vic. As I said in my previous reply, I think of this as being pretty firmly on the tonal side of the tonality/atonality spectrum, but I guess the fact that I am comfortable with non-tonal music might sometimes come through in this piece... I am pleased that you enjoyed it!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
J.A.Stewart said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Lament and Celebration
I hear the somber lament turn midway to a celebration, as you recall the joy Jim Croce's music brought to you as a youth... and a sudden, sobering turn back to melancholy as the reality of his passing sets back in.

I, too, admired Jim Croce's work, Clark. I had the opportunity to perform a number of his songs in both an acoustic and a lounge band. My personal favorite was I Got a Name, which I loved to play and sing. His was a simple, down-to-earth songwriting and performance style that was both elemental, accessible and yet musically rich.

In that sense, this composition does have a relationship to Croce's work. A very nice musical reverie, Clark. ;)


--- Joe
Check out my latest song called Crankenhurst Challenge - Verse 1-7 (Inst. Break)
composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Comments like yours are the reason I value MacJams so much; people often open up about their thoughts and feelings about others' music in a way that you almost never get when your music is played live, so I thank you deeply for sharing your own reflections on the meaning Croce had in your life. I love "I got a name" too; I think it was the first release following his death, so it has a kind of poignancy that I associate with it, but it is also a really beautiful song irrespective of that. I have many good memories of jamming with one or two guitar-playing buddies to that and other Croce songs.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
kristyjo said 2433 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Good to hear from you
It's a mark of the quality of this piece, that it sounds so great directly from Finale.

Nice to see you around.
Check out my latest song called Sussex Carol
composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Krystyjo, always nice to hear from you! I'm happy with the way Finale plays music; it's surprisingly sophisticated. I find a key is to make a very detailed score, lots of articulations, dynamics, and pedal markings.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Bowman said 2432 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
This has a feel
of you sitting down at your piano and letting your fingers express what's in your heart. (Of course it doesn't happen that way just sounds it) Not really sentimental but clear headed, poignant and touching.

As always I look forward to hearing much more after your long hiatus Clark.
Cheers,
Charlie
Check out my latest song called 1917
composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Great to hear from you, Charlie! I am pleased that you like it. I wish I could sit down and improvise something like this on the spot, but alas, I cannot; this took months of tinkering until I was reasonably content it wouldn't embarrass me to have others hear it... Thanks again!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Joe Brady said 2432 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Also a big fan
Always pays to check in on you. Nicely done, appropriately melancholy and a touch of folky jazz. Jim Croce albums were the first albums that I purchased in 1972. I had 3 when he died. He is probably the reason I play guitar. Thanks for a wonderful piece to reflect upon those years.
Joe.
Check out my latest song called Long Way From Denver
composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks, Joe. When I posted this, I wondered how many people around here had even heard of Jim Croce, since he's been gone now for almost forty years, so it's nice to learn that he hasn't been forgotten by many people. I wonder if people born more recently have heard his music though?

Thanks for the kind words.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
spitlogic said 2432 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Excellent Work
I got lost in the music. Great work here sir.
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composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for having a listen and leaving a comment, sir!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
MidiOrleans said 2432 days ago (September 29th, 2010)
Pure
Most enjoyable sounds!
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composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Glad you liked it! Cheers.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
TobinMueller said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Fantasy of Blue
I remember when he played "Operator" on Johnny Carson in 1973 and I thought this guy is someone to watch. I love how you cite this, even to it has nothing to do with the notes or themes you play. One never knows what will spark an idea, or where that idea will go. So nice to have you back at MacJams. I like how this piece moves thru styles and ideas, like a fantasy of blue. Thanks for sharing this.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
composerclark said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks, Tobin, always nice to hear from you. One of the things that really struck me about Croce's life was that I don't think he became widely known until 1972, when he signed a record deal with ABC records at the age of 29. He'd been making music for a long time before that, which explains why he was so good when he was launched to "overnight success" stature, but he only got to enjoy it for a really brief period before he died. Thanks again.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
CIASM_ZENABI_ said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
blues for jim
nice piece of music very well played and with feeling. has a depth that drew me in. cool stuff. cheers
Check out my latest song called GLOWING IN THE DARK (2012 REMIX)
composerclark said 2430 days ago (October 2nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for the kind comment, much appreciated!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Ibstrat said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
This
is fantastic Clarke! I often lament the absence of artists like Croce/Muehlelsen,Joni,JT,Paul Simon,CSNY... there was some real music going on there. The acoustic artists that I hear now all seem to be strumming G,D,Em,C (or C,G,Am,F)I will have to listen to your piece many times- there are lots of interesting things going on there.The way that you treat consonance and dissonance is fantastic and really organic, not like a bunch of compositional techniques thrown together. Also there is deep feeling in this music.Bravo!
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composerclark said 2430 days ago (October 2nd, 2010)
Thanks
I figure that the thousand or so songs that use I V vi IV, repeated ad infinitum, are kind of like the harmonic progression equivalents of GarageBand, in terms of songwriting process; just pick an existing loop — in this case, a chord progression — and add lyrics, and in no time at all you've got yourself a song! It's very democratic. Nevertheless, I cringe whenever I hear yet another song using that progression, but that's probably just a hangup I have. I would like to propose a couple of substitutions to that progression: bII instead of V, bVI instead of vi: C Db Ab F...

But I digress...

Thanks for having a listen, Mark, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I know what you mean about missing the artists you listed; they remain big on my list of favorite artists of any genre.

Just left a comment on one of your recent tunes, btw. Cheers!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
crissew said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Really cool piano
Great playing here. You really mixed up your dynamics nicely on this, lost of ebb and flow. Enjoyed it!
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composerclark said 2430 days ago (October 2nd, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks for the comment! just left one for your jimi song.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
ktb said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Blues for Jim
so wonderfully nuanced and although it started out in a more somber vein, it took me through several emotions before leaving me 'jazzed'. Good to see you post!

was this composition all mapped out or am I hearing some improvision. Stellar no matter what. You deftly came back to that central melody/progression throughout.
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composerclark said 2388 days ago (November 13th, 2010)
late thanks...
I'm very late responding, for which I apologize, but I wanted to say thanks and answer your question. Yes, it was all "mapped out," if by that you mean notated, which I did using Finale notation software. It wasn't mapped out at all in terms of pre-compositional planning; this piece, like most that I write, is the result of some basic opening idea that I noodle around with for a long time until I like where it goes from there, and the process is repeated many times until it feels like it's said all it needs to say. This one actually took a long time to write...
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
kevmikwa said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Wowzers
Excellent composition ... of course, I would expect nothing less from you (it's right there in your name). I was born a little too late to fully appreciate Jim during his living years. Still I really like his music (with "Operator" being a harmonize-along favorite of mine).

From a techie point of view, I am curious to know whether your piano is soft or hard (i.e. is it virtual or a collection of wood-and-strings). If it's the former, ya could have fooled me!

Seeing your nick reminded me of Jennifer's Tune (something we kicked around 4 years ago). I do have a nice jazz kit in my toolbox, even though I still don't have the right chops to really use it. Maybe I need to give that one another look sometime?
composerclark said 2388 days ago (November 13th, 2010)
Thanks
Another very late thanks from me, for which I apologize! It's a virtual piano, played directly through Finale software. And yes, I'd still be up for working with you again!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
guitapick said 2432 days ago (September 30th, 2010)
Croce...
...was a favorite of mine, too, Clark. Never knew his sideman died in the same crash. Tragic.

Very happy to hear your sounds, here. Really fine play off of the standard blues. Like Mark said: not forced. Flows really nicely.

Nice tribute, Clark.

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composerclark said 2388 days ago (November 13th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks; very glad you enjoyed it!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
lengold said 2427 days ago (October 5th, 2010)
Great to have you
back.
Gorgeous.
Cheers
Len

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composerclark said 2426 days ago (October 6th, 2010)
Thanks
Thanks Len! Just had a listen to your latest, and I am highly impressed!
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
drakonis said 2421 days ago (October 10th, 2010)
A great song-poet
I grew up on Jim, playing on the 8-track tape player in my cousin's Austin Healey Sprite when he got the chance to drive me around on my paper route, and of all his greats, "I got a name" really stuck with me. Anyway, this is very freshly unique and listenable... your chords sneak past my dissonance-filter and greatly please me anyway! :-) Nice additions of dynamics and rubato, this just seems to flow like a liquid piano. A great tribute to a great man, from a greatly talented composer... wonderfully done, Clark!
ttfn,
Drakonis
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composerclark said 2388 days ago (November 13th, 2010)
Thanks
I suspect we are of similar vintage, so like you, I grew up listening to Jim Croce; I'd like to think he made a lasting impression on people's lives through his music. Very glad you enjoyed it.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
Scott Carmichael said 2419 days ago (October 13th, 2010)
excellent work Professor
filled with angular pathos... amazing how you work this into a lament of sorts.... because the path you choose is not likely... someone said atonal... maybe not... but there is a disjointed vibe that keeps me off balance.... yet after the center bridge/departure... the return of the theme is warmer and welcoming... and seems to lift me... it's not quite sunny but not as gloomy as first perceived...

thanx for the journey....

I was a fledgling singer/player... i played lots of Croce & Cat Stevens...

Scott

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composerclark said 2388 days ago (November 13th, 2010)
Thanks
It's always a treat to hear from you, and I apologize for acknowledging your comment so late! Thanks, and I'm very pleased that you liked it.
Check out my latest song called A Little Song About Our Mom
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Name: Composition Blog
Location: St. John's Newfoundland Canada
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I've been teaching music composition and music theory at an east-coast university for 23 years, where I have also taught classical guitar and electronic music. I've been writing music for about 38 years, and still haven't figured out what I'm doing,... [see more]

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