This solo is a masterpiece by Wes. There’s everything you’re used to hearing in his improvisations: Double stops, quartal structures, tritones, pentatonic ideas, dorian phrases, fast and wide arpeggios and his famous octaves all along his last choruses. That’s probably because it was recorded in 1965 (only three years before his death, in June 15th 1968 – 45 years ago) with the wonderful Wynton Kelly Trio. It’s really a solo to remember by all guitar students and improvisational musicians.
The transcription features Herlin Riley’s playing on “Evidence” from Wynton Marsalis Septet’s 1999 multi-disc release Live at the Village Vanguard. Monk’s writing, exemplified in “Evidence” is rhythmically unique, often jagged and deceptive, a quality which gives drummers many possibilities. Herlin’s choices are tasteful, organic and exploit the rhythmic opportunities Monk provides. Herlin plays with triplet vs. sixteenth and straight vs. swing ideas, and moves in and out of downbeat and offbeat oriented phrasing. All of which reflect the similar off-kilter effect the tune’s melody has. Also, notice the two busiest portions of the solo, (m.49-56 and m.73-76). The first example phrases triplets, with the latter phrasing sixteenths, demonstrating smart soloistic flow and development. With its phrasing, and creative rhythmic ideas, this transcription stands out as a fun and excellent example of musical drumming.
This is actually an alternate take of the Jobim standard Corcovado done by Julian “Cannonball” Adderley from the album Cannonball’s Bossa Nova. It has got to be one of my favorite albums of all time, and Cannonball shows why. He has a very effortless way of playing, especially when attacking a difficult passage. Please do listen to the recording to hear this. While I may have notated all the notes, Cannonball does a great deal of “ghosting” notes throughout the section, gliding from phrase to phrase. Challenge yourself not only to perform the notes with accuracy, but also the the style in which Cannonball presents them.
Kind of Blue is one of the most iconic jazz albums recorded to date. This track and this solo are probably the most well-known recordings on that album. Miles is one of my favorite horn players because everything he plays sits so perfectly in the pocket. On this recording especially you can hear him playing primarily on the back side of the beat. It sounds so effortless! This is also a great study in melodic development since most of these ideas are just triads!
I’ve always loved this solo and when I had to pick a tune to memorize and perform in my improvisation class back in 2006, I jumped on the opportunity to learn this one. Dexter has this uber hip, uber cool way of playing that is so attractive to me. In one line he can play something totally inside the groove and in the next he’s laying his lines so far back the band finishes the tunes before he does. Continue reading →
Matt Turner is a fabulous cellist and pianist based out of Appleton, WI where he teaches improvisation at Lawrence University (all three of us SKM contributors are LU alums). Matt plays with pianist Bill Carrothers, and has also played a fair amount with local Minneapoils group the Fantastic Merlins (visit his home page for the full discography–it’s extensive). From listening to this solo you might be able to tell that Matt’s musical background involves a certain level of mastery of jazz piano, as the harmonic implications of his melodic lines are very clear and intentional. This is very different territory from the totally modal Eugene Friesen solo I posted a while back, as there are some nasty changes to navigate, and huge lateral flexibility as there’s no rhythm section.
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 →
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.
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 →