does anybody have a transcription of this tune?  (im listening to the dirty dozen version with doctor john) heres a good example of a blues with a "happy feel"  (somebody was talking about that)  i want to figure out the piano part, but im kind of busy and it would take me a while to transcribe...any information on new orleans piano in general would be great.. thanks
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i also recommend that you get dr. john's 3 books on learning new orleans piano (they are only $13 each at amazon, and include instructional cds. search for "dr. john" under books.)  

now these are 'great' in the sense of giving you lots of examples of blues/boogie/gospel playing with a new orleans flair.  they are not organized well, and the books contain only parts of some of the tunes on the cds, and dr. john is not a great teacher in terms of explaining things.

why do i like them then?  like i said above, it gives you lots of different examples of blues styles, and in particular lots of different left hand technique.  some things you will need to figure out from the recording, but there are plenty of cool written examples, including big chief.  definitely worth the $40, or the price of a lesson.  especially if you have little experience with "non-jazz" blues, these books and cds will give you a quick lesson.
agree with marksdg -- the books and audio tapes are the way to go.  the videos are pretty good too.

but it's really not too hard to play, "big chief," once you figure out the basic idea of the staggered octave on the bb (in key of eb).  check ronnie barron's hammond version on mac's "gumbo" record if you want a little different version of the lick.
hey i did see those books, and was wondering if they were any good....thanks for the info,  

jaledin, whats the staggered octave?
oh, i don't know if that's an accurate way to describe the lick.  it's the beginning part of the lick (the tune is in eb), which uses an old turnaround figure (three or four grace or crushed notes approaching a bb, then hitting the bb an octave above, then alternating those two bb's three or four times).  the rest of the lick just uses standard new orleans-style moves to eventually resolve back to the eb7 chord.  kind of hard to describe.  

also see the hal leonard book, "piano styles of the new orleans legends" (or similar) for a transcription of fess performing his own tune -- i don't know how accurate that one is, and it differs quite a bit from the way i personally have played the tune, but it should get you most of the way there.  the book is only so-so -- i'd get the dr. john tapes instead of blowing the money on the book.
the dr john instructional books and cds are awesome. if you like this type of music, buy them immediately.
hello ominous! sorry to join this discussion so late, but you may be interested to know i was able to master big chief by learning the rh eb part by itself and practising it over and over. then i tried it with an ordinary broken octave boogie lh , just using notes of the triad: eb - g - bb - g, eight to the bar (straight 8s). once i could do this i found that the syncopated lh that fess or dr john play came a lot easier.  
it also helps if you break it up, just play the eb riff (a two-bar pattern) - over and over. then move on to doing the ab riff, then the bb one. finally try putting them together.  
do you know mess around?  it's an eb boogie with the lh i've described and has been recorded by dr john, fess and ray charles, etc. i would recommend learning this before tackling big chief... hope that helps...
this album doesn't have big chief in it, but it sure has lot's of new orleans piano in a solo setting - dr john plays mac rebbanack - ( available through emusic ), and it's fairly easy to pick up licks, left hand grooves, etc using transcribe. loads of stuff to learn!

great album.  i transcribed "the honey dripper" from that one a while back -- a fellow was nice enough to engrave my transcription using sibelius.  if i ever get around to making corrections to the file and adding the subtle variations in the lh, i'd be happy to post it here.

like all of mac's boogies (i've transcribed at least some of all of his recorded versions), they can be the basis for great, show stopping improvisations if you play blues music.  all of his boogies are also incredible for the sheer amount of music he wrings out of what is essentially one or two licks augmented by the occasional odd fragment of unusual melody, twisted together with the right amount of stop-time and other rhythmic things.

"memories of professor longhair" makes good use of the basic harmonic idea of the "big chief" lick.  i wish back when i was shedding a lot of this stuff i had the patience to actually write out a complete transcription -- it would be interesting to see on paper, even though the recording is more than enough to satisfy anybody.
Bearman - Did you get around to finishing that transcription of Honey Dripper? I've got Memories of Professor Longhair around somewhere if you care to swap...
If bearman replies after a message from 2006, I think that will be some kind of record :)
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Big Chief and Mess Around

I posted a clip of me playing Big Chief/Mess Around on YouTube, in duet with guitarist Jon 'T-Bone' Taylor. It's not perfect, but then every pianist I've heard play Big Chief plays it differently!

Very nice!
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