I still haven’t decided which is my favourite track on Roy Hargrove’s ‘Earfood’ – either “Strasbourg St. Denis” or “I’m Not So Sure”. Or was it “Starmaker”? I started writing out Roy’s solo in “I’m Not So Sure” some time ago already, and then shelved it. I’ve finally got around to finishing it and digitizing it in MuseScore.
What struck me immediately as I was writing out this solo was the sparsity of notes and delicacy of the phrases at the beginning, followed by sudden outbursts of expressive lines (like bars 21 and 31/34). What I’ve noticed from my own playing is that I often play far too much in trying to find my way through the changes, so this is definitely a lesson to take home.
Writing out phrases such as bars 5, 21-22, 36 and 44 actually doesn’t do the solo justice, and they shouldn’t be taken too literally (as with most solos, I’d say). These lines have their roots in soul and gospel – the kinds of phrases that make you want to jump out of your seat and shout “AMEN!”.
This post was very generously provided by Marc Adler, a fantastic flutist and pedagogue out of PA. The above track is off the album Autumn Smiles played by Marc Adler, flute; Jim Ridl, piano; Darryl Hall, bass; Butch Reed, drums; and John Swana, trumpet. Marc sent along a “brief” analysis of the tune (below) which may not look brief on first glance, but compared to the subtlety of the recording it’s just the tip of the iceberg. And since we’re already getting the inside scoop on the music theory behind this tune–the skeleton of the music–I took the opportunity to ask Marc about the soft/squishy side of the music. Continue reading →
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 →
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!
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.
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!
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!