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!
[Special thanks to Kevin Sun for today’s guest post. For more of Kevin’s transcriptions and articles, be sure to check out his website at www.thekevinsun.com/]
From Kenny Garrett’s Black Hope (1992), Computer “G” is a 12-bar blues in F that has a simple melody based on ascending and descending stacks of perfect 4ths.
Joe starts his solo with a simple motif at B that he displaces rhythmically over the first few bars. He uses syncopation and repetition to develop this idea—basically 5-#4–5–1—in a way that’s swinging but not predictably so.
At C, Joe begins to break away from his opening motif by playing longer lines and arpeggios—check out the clearly outlined tritone sub in the 4th bar of C. Joe gestures towards his opening motif in mm. 31-2 and throws in a trademark trill in mm. 33-4 (can you think of any other tenor players who use trills as reliably and as tastefully as Joe?).
This is another track off the album Sartori for a Hungry Ghost by local (Twin Cities) 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. I love listening to this entire album so definitely check it out–and if you like this solo then you’ll want to see/hear Adam Wozniak’s bass solo on the tune Third Persona, which I posted a month and a half ago. One of the really cool things about Park’s solos on this album is that they’re all different–in style and tone.
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!
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.
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.
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!