Motivic and Voice-Leading Coherence in the Improvisations of Saxophonist Chris Cheek

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Saxophonist Chris Cheek has been a reference for his work as a sideman with some of the most established jazz artists in the international jazz scene of the last twenty-five years. Despite his importance, there is lack of detail in the available publications about Cheek. The short length and journalistic character of the publications only produce surface descriptions of Cheek's style. There is a need to further describe the melodic elements present in Chris Cheek's style in order to have a better understanding of the implications and importance of these elements across the history of jazz saxophone and jazz pedagogy. ... continued below

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Fraile Lainez, Alejandro December 2017.

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  • Fraile Lainez, Alejandro

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Saxophonist Chris Cheek has been a reference for his work as a sideman with some of the most established jazz artists in the international jazz scene of the last twenty-five years. Despite his importance, there is lack of detail in the available publications about Cheek. The short length and journalistic character of the publications only produce surface descriptions of Cheek's style. There is a need to further describe the melodic elements present in Chris Cheek's style in order to have a better understanding of the implications and importance of these elements across the history of jazz saxophone and jazz pedagogy. In the past, several scholarly works have described the improvisational styles of jazz musicians using a multitude of analytical tools. The design of those studies often fails to provide a comprehensive view of the improviser's style because of the limited scope of the analyzed sources or the specific focus of the analysis. This analytical study presents a comprehensive view of Chris Cheek's style through the motivic and voice-leading analyses of six improvisations by the saxophonist. This design allows the study to discern between motivic development processes, melodic structures, formulaic material, and harmonic structures that belong to the saxophonist's idiom. By presenting the elements in Cheek's style, this study is able to show the importance of motivic and voice-leading coherence in jazz pedagogy as well as the importance of Cheek's style as a reference for lyricism.

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  • December 2017

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  • Jan. 27, 2018, 7:36 a.m.

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Fraile Lainez, Alejandro. Motivic and Voice-Leading Coherence in the Improvisations of Saxophonist Chris Cheek, dissertation, December 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1062820/: accessed August 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .