Midi Themed

Musical Midi: Naima That Tune

Words:  34 (8×14)

Average Length:  4.94

Difficulty:  If you know a bit about jazz, it’s like soloing on All Blues.  If not, it’s like soloing on the tune spelled out by the circled letters.

A further hint to the album in question. This is a famous spot in Northern Ireland

I played in a jazz trio for years, and even though I mostly listen to rock these days, I still put on a jazz classic every so often.  Last week I listened to the album that’s the subject of this puzzle for the first time in ages.  I’d forgotten how amazing and revolutionary it is.

I’d also forgotten how difficult the title track on the album is to play, let alone blow a coherent solo over.  I managed that feat once in my life:  one year in college, the great Mary Lou Williams was an artist-in-residence.  After our jazz band rehearsals, she’d hang around and play piano while some of us would take a crack at improving our improvisation.  (I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize at the time what a precious and rare opportunity this was.)

One night, she had us play and solo over the song in question.  I don’t remember how she did it, but she managed to get me out of my head (where I was frantically trying to anticipate the chord changes) and into the flow of the music.  It hasn’t happened again.

puz | pdf | solution

Midi Themed

Who Rocks the Alex Trebek Stage?

Words:  45 (12×11 grid)

Average Length:  4.80

Difficulty:  Like a $600 question in the Shakespeare category

Serene, just like the subject of this puzzle

While the Professors’ Tournament gives her a two-week break, I thought I’d drop a tribute puzzle focusing on 21 Across, who is brilliant, accomplished, serene, and truly inspirational.  May her reign continue!

puz | pdf | solution