Steve Khan: The Making of "Parting Shot"
Already, friends and acquaintances have speculated as to just who "she" might be. Well, I can tell you that the inspiration for this ballad is not based upon one female figure that has graced my life, but it is a composite recollection. As one arrives at this latter stage of life, there is always time, sometimes too much of it, to reflect on everyone who has passed through one's experiences, and for many of these glorious women there will always exist a great sentimentality attached to those very special shared moments. For me, it matters not whether the parting of ways might not have been ideal, because the warmth of my feelings for them will always remain.
 Blues Connotation (Ornette Coleman)(4:52)
As I previously stated, during my college years at U.C.L.A. between '65-'69, I was buying LPs faster than you can imagine, and trying to digest and assimilate everything that I had heard. Amongst those early purchases was Ornette Coleman's This is Our Music (Atlantic), which was recorded on July 19th, 1960. "Blues Connotation," which opens that recording just hit me right away, and has always stayed with me. Perhaps just because of the word, "blues"? At that point in time, I was just happy that I could play the head along with the musicians on the album.
When we started Eyewitness, with Anthony Jackson, Manolo Badrena and Steve Jordan in 1981, this was one of the few non-original pieces of music that we chose to play. It wasn't long before Anthony, Steve, and Manolo had transformed the piece into something uniquely personal. We never had the chance to record it. So, with an "Eyewitness Reunion" of sorts, I felt that this was the perfect moment to try and finally record our interpretation. But, what you now hear is very different from the way that we interpreted the tune in 1982.
My original concept for the Intro to the piece was that Dennis would lead us into the first figures by playing a long, extended "solo" dialogue with Bobby and Manolo, and perhaps even Marc. But, once again, Bobby spoke up and, what could have been two-three minutes of percussive improvisation became 16-barsand that was that! I have thought about just why this happenedand how I could possibly have ended-up with three tunes under five minutesand what make the most sense to me now is that so much of the musical lives of Marc and Bobby have been involved with the best Salsa recorded and played during the past two decades, and virtually all of those wonderful songs, all rooted in and made for dancing, are compact and usually around 4:30. So, keeping things concise is just a part of their musical point-of-view. Of course, I am the complete opposite, and I like it when things wander and there are dips in the flow and intensity of the music.
Another new element occurs after the solo section. I wanted to have an ensemble
Over the years, I have approached playing this tune in a wide variety of ways, but always in a way that keeps "the blues" as the main frame of reference. Because an adherence to the clave was essential for this group of musicians, I tried to come-up with a different way to approach the basic outposts of blues changes. The original idea was that I would make my way through the I7-IV7-V7-I7 chord movements, but in a very deliberate and elongated manner. However, when at the recording session, Anthony sabotaged the sightlines so necessary to doing this in our usual manner that the elasticity factor that I always seek was rendered hopeless. And so, just as it happened on a few other pieces, I simply had Marc Quiñones cue the sections with his timbal set-ups after I had cued him. The idea was that all five harmonic areas would be extended and free, but, the end result was that the Eb7(IV) area, and the returns to Bb7(I7) both became 16-bar sections. This was not my vision at all. What you hear now is that the first Bb7 section and the F7(alt) pedal are the areas that are free and open, and without restrictions as to the amount of bars.