I have written before about Shaye Cohn's 2013 composition Pyramid Strut. It is a little masterpiece, very much on a par with the music Jelly Roll Morton was writing in the early 1920s. Pyramid Strut deserves to become another popular classic in the traditional jazz canon.
The second reason why Pyramid Strut is still unknown to most audiences is that even Tuba Skinny (to judge from YouTube videos) seem to have stopped playing the tune since they put it on their 2014 CD. Why is this? It could be that Shaye is too modest to give prominence to her own work in the band's play-lists. Or it could be that (with occasional changes of personnel) it is difficult to ensure that all musicians in the pool of Tuba Skinny players know the tune well enough. This tune is - after all - one of the most complex the band plays.
Pyramid Strut is a tune I composed a couple of years ago. I don't believe it's on Youtube. There is no written arrangement for the tune but you're welcome to transcribe it; just please include a credit to me and the band. Thanks, -Shaye
Meanwhile, here's a reminder of what it offers.
Straight into the third theme we then go; and we find ourselves now in the key of Ab. What we have here is a 16-bar theme and this too is played twice. But what a tricky theme! In each set of 16 bars, bars 1 and 2, bars 3 and 4, bars 9 and 10 and bars 11 and 12 are taken as Breaks! That gives you four breaks in 16 bars - twice; so eight breaks in all. On the CD, the eight breaks are taken respectively by cornet, clarinet, trombone, tuba, cornet, cornet, cornet and cornet.
This is followed by an attractive 8-bar Bridge passage, which is extraordinary because it teasingly plays around (if my ear serves me correctly) on the F minor arpeggio. But the Bridge ends by running down through the Eb7 chord which of course leads us back beautifully into Ab. This will remain the key of the fourth (and final) theme.
This fourth theme consists of 16 bars on a simple chord sequence. It is played three times. The clarinet leads us through it the first time, playing a tricky melody almost entirely of semi-quavers. Next, the banjo and tuba take the lead (a nice touch) in the second 16-bar chorus. Finally the whole band joins in for a climactic ensemble improvising over the 16 bars.
You can hear this recording (and better still buy it if you have not yet done so) by clicking here.