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Yellow Dog Blues (W.C. Handy/arr. Yurika Kimura)

“Green’s unique bluesy style is evident in this fun, challenging xylophone solo. The marimba accompaniment is equally challenging (if not more so) and requires a player who is comfortable with large leaps in the bass line while playing busy syncopated patterns in the right hand.”-Percussive Notes

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Yurika Kimura Yurika performs both as concert marimbist and xylophonist.

W. C. Handy published The Yellow Dog Rag in 1914, a blues song with the subtitle “He’s Gone Where the Southern Cross’ the Yellow Dog” (referencing two railroad lines that crossed in Mississippi). The song was often given the alternative title Yellow Dog Blues. George Hamilton Green and his long-time associate, pianist Frank Banta, recorded the piece in 1926 for the Vocalion label (#15307).

This transcription arrangement bases the marimba part on Banta’s piano performance while keeping the xylophone part almost exactly as played on the recording. George Green had a unique concept for playing blues on the xylophone that was entirely special to him (and not used by Brown, Herman, Breuer, or anybody else). See his book Instruction Course for Xylophone, in particular Lesson 30, where he writes: “In order to get a real BLUE effect, strike the grace note and the legitimate note together. This will give a sort of SMEAR effect that is decidedly BLUE.” Practice this lesson until you get used to it. It will give you the correct feeling for xylophone blues.

Review from Percussive Notes, September 2014

Difficulty

Advanced

Performance Type

Arrangement/Transcription