Milt Jackson, Groovin’ High

Photo by William P. Gottlieb

Download the transcription: Concert, Bb, Eb, Bass Clef

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ahh, BeBop. Will I ever be able to play you?

I transcribed this solo a few years ago when I was really trying to work on my bebop language in my solos. It’s been an interesting up and down road since then trying to perfect, or even just function in this very specific jazz art. Milt’s solo on Groovin’ High, one of the most iconic bebop tunes in bebop’s golden age, is a perfect example of the techniques a bebop player uses to sound like…well…to sound like Bird (Charlie Parker to you beginners out there).

Milt Jackson is one of the only really well-known jazz vibes players. There are others I have listened to, namely Joe Locke and Steve Nelson, but they’re both modern players who don’t really have that pure bebop thing happening. They’re both incredible players, and I am sure can play like that, but they’ve got other shit happening. The point in transcribing Milt was to dig in to someone who lived that language his whole life.

This however, is the first time I have revisited the solo, really practiced it (and checked for note errors, there were plenty), and did the analysis. I found some techniques similar to the Tom Harrell solo I transcribed for this site a few weeks ago. Pianistic arpeggios, Chromatic Approach Tones, Guide Tones on big beats (1 & 3), etc.

Continue for full analysis. Continue reading