Hard-Bop Soloing on a Classic Standard - Marcus Printup's "Have You Met Miss Jones"
by Marcus Printup, as heard on Nocturnal Traces (1998, Blue Note Records) - Visit Marcus Printup's official site
Marcus Printup's take on Richard Rodgers's "Have You Met Miss Jones" is something of a classic work, featuring an iconic interpretation of the melody as well as a soulful and eclectic solo, all in the space of three choruses of playing. In particular in this solo, take note of the last four bars of every chorus, including on the way out of the head. Each of these phrases constitutes a fantastically characteristic hard-bop navigation of the standard vi-ii-V-I turnaround. You'll notice that Printup is consistent in his phrasing of all his longer lines, each one consisting of about four bars in total. This tune in particular is notable for its bridge, which features an unusual set of ii-V-I turnarounds in keys related by major thirds (a concept later explored deeply by John Coltrane, but featured here in a composition about 30 years pre-"Giant Steps").
Often in the B section of "Miss Jones," soloists might be tempted to overplay the section in an attempt to hit all the changes. In this solo, we get to see two dramatically different approaches, both equally effective. In the first chorus of solo (at B17), Printup begins the bridge with a flowing line that connects the first four bars and all three keys present in the bridge, ending his phrase with a gradually lengthening rhythm, after which he touches on the Gb in the last four bars of the bridge with a simple ii-V lick. In the second chorus's bridge (at C17), Printup uses a more subtle technique, playing a series of simple licks in each of the three keys as they appear, including a lydian-based lick over the D major changes. Of the two methods, the latter is easily the most accessible for less experienced improvisers--as an exercise, you can start by playing one short ii-V through each key on the bridge. Do the same with another three licks, running them through the bridge one at a time, then use two of those four licks over the bridge, repeating each lick once. Next, use three of the four, repeating only one lick in the bridge, and finally use all four. To form a line as in Printup's first chorus, you only need to create a slightly longer ii-V lick that can connect to the next two bars.