Brief Analysis and Transcription of Kenny Kirkland’s piano solo on Sting’s “Bring On The Night”, with video samples
Ask any jazz pianist about funk piano solo improvisation, and one of the first thing that comes to mind would be Kenny Kirkland‘s piano solo on Sting’s “Bring On The Night”
Here’s a video clip of a youtube guy emulating Kenny’s solo note for note.
I transcribed a few bars of the solo, starting from about 0m48s of the video. Here it is in PDF.
The harmony for the solo part is a recurring four bars, as shown in the first four bars of the transcription.
| C13 | D7 | Em7 | Em7 |
One technique used quite often by Kenny or any funk pianist is a Superimposition of a major 7th or major 9th chord a tone below.
Here are two examples of Kenny superimposing a Dmaj9 over the Em7 chord.
The harmony for the two bars shown above is the Em7. But observe the notes applied in the solo, they are ALL from the Dmaj9 chord superimposed, thus adding some flavor into the solo giving it a brighter sound.
This technique is also applicable over a dominant 7th chord.
ie. the Dmaj9 chord can be superimposed over an Em7 or E7 chord.
Case of Ambiguity
It’s hard to tell whether an Em7 or E7 is intended for the third and fourth bars, since the player has the liberty to use the G note instead of G# over the E7.
- The G note could be the #9 of the E7 chord, altering it into an E7#9
- The G note comes from the E minor pentatonic scale applied over an E7 chord
Either way, I consider this a case of ambiguity, where both chords are possible.
Here’s another video of Sting’s “Bring On The Night” with Kenny Kirkland himself doing another killer piano solo.
Enjoy and Have Fun ……
For more on Funk Piano Solo Improvisation Techniques and Superimposition, read these posts: