This is a great tenor battle between Joshua Redman and James Carter on the classic Monk tune “Straight, No Chaser.” This first transcription is only Joshua’s first four choruses. I’m planning on completing most (if not all) of the rest of this video over a series of 4-5 parts since it is quite lengthy.
Redman and Carter clearly have different approaches to the instrument and I find it very interesting to see how one kind of leads the other. In an aesthetic sense, I definitely prefer Redman’s style over Carter’s, but the two are so different and both players are clearly talented that I think it’s useless to talk about who “won” the battle. Though, if you read the youtube comments you’ll see there are fierce defenders in both camps. I think both players offer plenty to learn from. More to come in following posts. Happy shedding!
This a really amazing solo that will probably keep you busy for a long time if, like me, you decide to study it in depth. It is 17 choruses long and you can find it in David Hazeltine’s CD Autumn in Manhattan. This C7 blues solo is played at a very fast tempo. My recommendation is that you start playing it at about half the original speed and then gradually increase it as you begin to technically master the solo.
Blue Mitchell’s Solo on “Bluesville” from the album Step Lightly (1963). Players on album: Blue Mitchell (trumpet), Joe Henderson (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Gene Taylor (bass), Roy Brooks (drum set). Transcribed by Lukas Skrove, Spring 2012. Solo begins 0’38’’
With transcribing the jazz language I’ve always been fascinated with the process of figuring out what the great players of the 50’s and the 60’s played. With such ease and flow their language of be-bop, and blues just feeds the ears of our generation with so much substance that I feel we sometimes miss out on. I’m a young musician trying to study this music and hopefully begin to understand it a little bit more with everyday that goes by. At school I try to transcribe as many solos as I can. This semester my trumpet teacher Adam Rossmiller came across this solo of Blue Mitchell’s and told me to check it out and transcribe it. So I did!
*I can’t seem to find my original Finale file for this transcription. I’m in the process of creating a new one so that I can provide Eb, Concert pitch and bass clef versions of the solo; hopefully in the next few days.
This Bennie Wallace solo from the album Bennie Wallace Plays Monk is quite a unique approach to the blues form. Quite honestly I don’t even know where to begin analyzing this solo in terms of harmonic language; this solo is far different from anything other I’ve looked at. Bennie is clearly influenced by Monk in his use of harmony, interval jumps and even phrasing. In a few spots he is definitely basing his lines (or at least parts of his phrases) around certain intervals – typically starting low on the horn and jumping up by 6ths, 7ths, 8ths or 9ths. A lot of the solo is “out” with respect to the chord changes which has a great tension building effect. Bennie eases the tension a few times by hinting at a resolution to the 3rd of the I7 chord (see mm 83, 107-108, 217).
Starting around mm 145 the bass drops out making it a drum/sax duet. This section builds to a frenzy with more frequent octave leaps (mm 151, 158, 163, 165, 173 etc…) and more 16th note lines and flurries of notes up until the bass comes back in at mm 205. Bennie counterbalances the frantic nature of the duet section by holding out a nice long G for three beats in mm 205 which brings the tension back down and leads to the end of Bennie’s solo.
I really wish I could provide the full solo for you to listen to because it is insanely awesome. Please check out Bennie’s website and pick up this track on Amazon or iTunes. Definitely worth it to get some different ideas on the blues.
Today’s awesome guest post, which looks at four different Miles Davis solos over the same tune, comes from trumpeter John Raymond. John has a new album coming out so be sure to check it out on his website!
A little bit ago I did a transcription research project on Miles Davis doing the tune “Walkin” four different times over the course of the first part of his career. The recordings I transcribed were:
These recordings give such a vivid display of Miles’ growth throughout the first few decades of his career. They also serve as a vivid display of Miles’ constant search for spontaneous and uninhibited improvisation, as well as his prowess, maturity and evolution in the three primary spheres of improvising: melody, harmony and rhythm.
“Born Under a Bad Sign”, written by Albert King and performed by: Cream (Eric Clapton; Guitar, Jack Bruce; Bass Guitar, Ginger Baker; Drums). From the Album ‘Royal Albert Hall: London, May 2-3-5-6 2005,’ released 2005 by Reprise Records.
I had always grown up listening to Eric Clapton, but I first came to know his music through the more mellow later stuff like MTV’s “Unplugged” from the early 90s. I also listened to compilation albums that treated the beginning of his career as having started in the 70’s with “Derek and the Dominos,” but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really even knew about what even came before that: Cream. Clapton’s sheer virtuosity and extended soloing with his late 60’s British blues-rock supergroup forced many critics of rock music to stop dismissing it as noise, and start taking the medium seriously. All 3 members of the band were dedicated musicians who saw no draw in hopping around the stage, coordinating outfits, or smashing equipment to create a spectacle. Their pure devotion to the music made for stunning results on the 4 albums they released, each one seeming to push an already high bar progressively higher. After only 2 years together, Cream played their final live concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in November of 1968 to a packed house in mourning.
Sea Changes is an original composition from pianist Tommy Flanagan and serves as the title track from Flanagan’s 1997 trio date featuring bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash. The tune itself is a simple 12-bar form that evolves from a bouncy island groove on the in head to a straight-ahead swing feel for a majority of the soloing. Prior to the out-head, Nash trades two choruses with Flanagan, both of which are transcribed here.
This album is pretty special to me because it was one of the first jazz albums I ever really got into. Harold Land and Clifford Brown are probably the first two jazz musicians that I really studied and tried to emulate and have had quite an influence on me. This selection in particular has stuck with me a) because it’s just really fun to listen to Clifford and Harold trading all the way down to 1/2 measures and b) it demonstrates a high level of communication between these musicians.
This is a short and sweet little Chris Potter solo at about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I chose to transcribe this recording for several reasons:
I like the melody a lot and wanted to learn it
As a saxophonist, this is a challenging yet accessible solo with some great language
It just sounded like it would be a lot of fun to play!
This solo was recorded early in Chris’ career and while it is still clearly a ‘Chris Potter solo’ it is vastly different from the complexity in which you would find on his later works such as Lift, Follow the Red Line, or Underground. Chris also recorded “Boogie Stop Shuffle” almost 10 years later on his album Lift and I think it will be very interesting to compare the differences between the two.
I think this solo is a really great example of using themes, motives and variations to develop a well thought out solo…one that ‘tells a story’ as it were.