Welcome, jazz mandoleers,
This time around, we'll look at a minor "mysterioso" tune called 'Hoodoo". A recording of this song can be found on the "CoMando Sessions I" CD. The basic melody and flavor of the tune comes from a song I wrote in the early '80's called "Hoodoo Macoute", about a sinister necromancer down in the bayou, and the spooky quality of the chord progression stuck in my brain lo these many years.
The opening chord (Ab over a Bb in the bass) I voice like this: [low strings to high] 3rd fret (a barre)/ 6th fret / 3rd fret / 4th fret, then I move this position up by minor thirds for the subsequent chords of the intro. The E triad over an F# that occurs in the coda I voice:
4th (barre) / 4th / 7th / 4th.
These chords have a nice, ambiguous quality.
On the D-7b5 to G7 I play: 1st / open / third / 1st, resolving to:
1st / open / 2nd / 1st (really a G7b9).
This minor II - V - I lays so well on the mandolin, and can be played as a closed position sequence right up the neck.
I've always enjoyed soloing on these minor type progressions (Brasilian choro music often uses this sound). There are a couple of things to keep in mind when playing over these changes. Theoretically the scale is an ascending harmonic minor, but I prefer to let my ear guide my fingers rather than theoretical considerations. Basically I use a minor scale with a major 7th and a flatted 6th, with passing references to the flatted 5th for a bluesy touch. Also, a B diminished scale (or D or F or Ab, they're all the same scale) can be played against the D-7b5 / G7(b9) turnaround.
I hope you enjoy playing this tune, let the mojo mood take you away.