Benny Jones is the snare drummer and bandleader of the storied Treme Brass Band. Born and raised in New Orleans, Jones has been around brass band music his entire life. His feel and concept for traditional jazz and second line rhythm has influenced a legion of drummers including Herlin Riley and Stanton Moore, among others.
Jones’ snare work on Treme’s recording of ‘When My Dreamboat Comes Home’ illustrates the phrasing and concepts that have become the standard for snare drummers playing this music. The following analysis is derived from two 32-bar sections, the first being the vocal melody on the in head and the second being the opening trumpet chorus that follows. Studying two choruses will allow for comparison and the development of any trends or patterns in Jones’ playing. Continue reading →
I just bought this record and when I heard this track, I immediately thought of transcribing some of this stuff for SoKillingMan. Vu picks a few of the most standard standards and plays them as the first few tracks of his record Leaps of Faith (2011). What’s great about it is that Cuong Vu does his Cuong Vu thing over these tunes. These old, overdone, dried-out standards sound like they could be just another original on his new album. Listen closely though, and the form, melody, and harmony become obvious in the tunes we know. Continue reading →
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.
This track is off the album Sartori for a Hungry Ghost by local jazz/reggae group Parker Paisley (Park Evans, Guitar; Adam Wozniak, Bass; Brandon Wozniak, Tenor Sax; Pete Hennig, Drums), released April 2012 and recorded by Greg Schutte at Bathtub Shrine Studios in NE Minneapolis. You should definitely check out the rest of this tune, and the whole album, and know that all four of Parker Paisley’s members (not to mention engineer/drummer, Greg Schutte) are hard-hitting Minneapolis locals who play with many other amazing Mpls bands such as: the Atlantis Quartet (Brandon and Pete), the New Primitives (Park), Dark Dark Dark (Adam), the Fantastic Merlins (Pete), Dave King’s Trucking Company (Brandon), and Firebell (Park). I actually know Adam from back in highschool when we used to hang out and jam in our friend Tony’s basement, so it’s really cool to be reconnecting with him and doing what I can to promote his music.
Gerry takes a “riff” like approach through out most of the solo and swings pretty damn hard. The start of the second bridge is probably my favorite part; the way he stretches out the time during those first two measures contrasts so nicely with the rest of the bouncy swing feel. Not many people can make the bari sing like Gerry can, definitely check him out if you haven’t before!
The Art of the Trio, Vol. 2: Live at the Village Vanguard
This transcription of the Brad Mehldau Trio’s reworking of the Monk
classic, “Monk’s Dream”, features the highly idiosyncratic,
interactive and linear time-keeping/soloing concept of Spanish
drummer, Jorge Rossy. Pay close attention to such devices as rhythmic
density/sparsity, unorthodox phrasing, eighth-note quantization (swung
vs. straight), repetition, dynamic contour, use of polyrhythms, and
orchestration. The transcription begins after Mehldau’s solo where
Mehldau and Rossy begin trading 8s for three choruses before the head
out. The extended improvisation after the head out is not included.
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!
If there is one thing no one can deny about Chet Baker, it is that he was a master of melody (and that he was a massive drug addict). These early 1954 live recordings show too that Chet was well-versed in the bebop language and had been listening to and even playing with Charlie Parker. It’s this early playing that I think is Chet’s most potent as an improvisor. Continue reading →
John Scofield sounds like no other guitarist I’ve ever heard, and the guy’s got some badass chops. This solo is a testament to his seemingly endless creativity and flare for holding a listener’s attention, so we’re talking about the whole deal right here. The entirety of this album is 200% listenable from start to finish so I recommend checking it out–it’s a collaboration between Scofield and “wide open” improvisers Medeski Martin and Wood.
*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.