Like many of the compositions that were made famous by Walt Disney’s movies, Alice In Wonderland (written by Sammy Fainand Bob Hilliard) has attracted many jazz musicians over the years. Apparently a simple diatonic composition with a melody written to inspire the heart and soul of the youngest, Alice in Wonderland has been played in all possible ways, eventually becoming a “standard” known by all jazz musicians.
I actually discovered the song in my twenties, when my guitar teacher introduced me to John Abercrombie. The recording was featured in a CD that Abercrombie recorded in the company of Peter Erskine on the drums and Marc Johnson on double bass.
Needless to say, I was completely stunned by the fresh yet powerful sound that came out of that little composition and started to listen to it, over and over (I must have played that CD for about 6 months non-stop, just that CD!). I eventually transcribed the head that Abercrombie plays on the recording and some of the solo as well…what a challenge! How much did I learn from the experience…
Ever since, I have worked on this tune for years and I still like to play it as warm up before practicing. It offers so many opportunities to be creative expanding the original harmony. The video I posted on this page is just an attempt to transform the energy absorbed during my exposure to Abercrombie’s version and it’s just one of my many attempts to reach that level of creativity.
The experiment was incredibly exciting though, especially because I had some amazing musicians with me. With The strong support of Tommy Gray on the drums and Barry (Bazz) Rycraft on double bass and Lasha Sakvarelidze on alto saxophone I had a lot of fun play around the tune and try things out. As always, I played the guitar with the same passion and curiosity of when I first started. It’s actually a lot more fun now, simply because I feel I’m beginning to make progress.