mast top Japanese

Anthony Jackson - "Our Love's in Danger"

As featured on "Naughty" by Chaka Khan
Warner 7599-26747-2 (1980)

Chaka Khan - Naughty

Anthony Jackson's nuance-packed playing on this track once again requires another detail-heavy transcription...Hey don't shoot the messenger! ;-)

Staccato markings in particular have been extensively used, with tenuto markings occasionally employed to ensure clarity, especially in sections where, for instance, AJ is playing lines where he holds a note for its full duration after a burst of staccato notes, as in bar 22, or where he holds a note for its full length within a staccato section, such as in bar 58.

While it may seem overly pedantic to notate this level of detail, I believe doing so helps throw light on what it is exactly that makes AJ so damn good!

Harmonically, this track, (like "Clouds") contains some interesting chordal conglomerations. For example, in bar 7 Leon Pendarvis lays down an unmistakable A7sus4 (A, D, E, G) on the keys, which the backing vocals loudly echo with their cries of "our love, our love." This suspended chord resolves to a straight A7 in the next bar (strictly speaking the vocals resolve on the final 8th note of the previous bar), before settling on a Dmin chord - an industry-standard V7-I progression. However, here, and on numerous other occasions when this chord appears, the guitar riff is playing a glaring C natural.ater the strings and the vocal parts also readily add a C natural over the same chord. Functionally, the chord is an A7sus. However, these C naturals interfere with the chord to such a level that it seems, to me anyway, that to notate is a straight A7sus chord is a dereliction of duty. As such, I've called it Amin7 (add11), even though this doesn't seem to capture the dominant sus flavor/function of the chord. I guess it also could be called a C6/9/A, which seems even further from its function. Ah...the joy of harmony is tempered only by its inherent paradoxes. ;-)

Actually, AJ'fs playing over these nebulous chords features a lot of C naturals, indicating that he sees it functioning as a minor chord, rather than being suspended, so maybe Amin7 (add11) isn't too far off the mark after all.

The bass-heavy middle section also features a similar kind of chordal clumping. In bar 57, the keyboards lay down an A major chord, as Chaka stresses a C natural. Meanwhile AJ's riff contains a D natural (the 11th) as well as C natural. However, the chord is unmistakably functioning as a straight V7 dominant chord????ス\so on this occasion that how I've written it.

Please direct any complaints about my lack of consistency to Ms. C. Kahn, c/o Warner Bros Records, United States.

AJ's knowledge of jazz harmony is evident in bar 34 when he plays - you'll have to listen hard, as it's quite low in the mix - a descending whole tone scale (not normally heard in a pop context) over the Eb13 dominant chord (which can also be seen as E7#5).

Stylistically, AJ takes the standard "disco octaves" of the era and imbues them with a new rhythmic vigor and drive, partly thanks to his use of the open D string to add sixteenth-note impetus to the eighth-note octave figures. (AJ appears to have played this track using standard tuning.) This rhythmic use of open strings was another favorite trick of AJ's hero James Jamerson, who often used the technique, even if playing in keys completely unrelated to the pitch of the open string.

Transcription © Stevie Glasgow 2008