Dr John – “Such A Night” Tutorial
In this lesson we will use the tune “Such A Night” to explore the playing style of Dr John. We will examine Dr John’s voicing techniques, bass lines, blues licks, turnarounds, and his signature endings.
2-Beat Feel & Anticipation
Dr John plays the tune “Such A Night” with a 2-beat feel and often anticipates the chord changes on the up-beat. This anticipation is similar to the style of James Booker that we covered in the earlier lessons of this course.
In addition to the chord anticipation, the end of each 2 bar phrase is embellished with a lead-in to the start of the next phrase. This is usually an embellishment in the left hand bass line.
The Form & Solo Section
Josh breaks down the form of the tune and some right hand voicings commonly used by Dr John. We then explore the improvised solo section which revolves around a vamp between F7 and Gb7 and extensive use of the F blues scale to create the improvised solo.
The improvised section is then followed by a cycle of 4ths which takes us back to F7 to start the final section A section of the tune.
Dr John Piano Licks
We explore a number of characteristic licks used by Dr John including the “Barber Pole Lick” which is aptly named after the spinning barber pole which appears to spin downwards indefinitely.
The Barber Pole Lick creates a cyclical ‘never-ending’ lick through clever manipulation of the inner voices in the turnaround phrase.
Dr John used this device extensively at the end of his performances.
The Barber Pole Lick File Type: pdf
Pay attention to the subtle left hand bass line embellishments which are used to add emphasis to the up-beat and propel the music forwards.
Study the blues licks demonstrated by Josh in the solo section and apply these over the 2 chord vamp of F7 to Gb7.
Learn "The Barber Pole Lick" in the key of F and then transpose to a few different keys. To use in the common 'blues keys' transpose to the keys of C and G.