Guest Post by Marc Adler: Autumn Smiles

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Download the PDF: Concert

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

Guest Post by Italo Sales: Wes Montgomery, Four on Six

Download the transcription: C

Listen! Four on Six

Watch Italo’s Transcription Video!

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.

Guest Post by Derek Dreier: Herlin Riley, Evidence

Download the Transcription: Drums

Listen to the Solo

Watch a video of the solo being performed by Derek! –

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.

Guest post by Adam Spiers: John Coltrane, Blue Train

Blue Train - Blue Train
Dowlnoad PDF: Bass Clef

This submission is of an iconic solo played by John Coltrane and if you’re any kind of jazz fanatic it’ll be very familiar, but seriously–watch the video. Adam Spiers plays along with the solo, note for note, on the cello. As a cellist I find it difficult to describe just how insane this is, but to put it in perspective it’s kind of like climbing the stairs of the Empire State building in flip flops; it’s not impossible…but yeah. Wow. I’m very humbled to be posting this incredibly thoughtful and meticulous transcription along with such an amazing video, but unfortunately for you horn players out there the transcription is in C and an 8ve down. But you should still follow along and check out this amazing video and transcription. Probably twice.

With Adam’s permission I’ve pasted in the body text of his blog post on this transcription, which can be visited at its original location here: Cello Lessons from a Dead Genius. Continue reading

Guest Post by Dario LaPoma: Brad Mehldau, August Ending

Download the Transcription: Piano Score + Bass

Audio Link: August Ending

“August Ending” Brad Mehldau

For nearly two decades, composer-improvisor Brad Mehldau has left a prophetic mark on the music of our generation. One supporting reason is that his music strikes an emotional, spontaneous core while maintaining a structural quality evident through analysis. House on Hill was released by the Brad Mehldau trio (Rossy on drums) in 2006, and the opening track, “August Ending,” illustrates Mehldau’s search for “successful integration of composed and improvised material.”1 Feel free to decide for yourself, but I’m pretty convinced he’s on the right track.

The composition is bound together by a string of 8th notes (A-Bb), which while fitting colorfully into the harmony serve several foundational purposes throughout the tune. Continue reading

Guest Post from Jason Fabus: Kenny Garrett, There Will Never Be Another You

Download the Transcription: CBbEb

Audio Clip

This is a transcription of Kenny Garrett’s (the REAL Kenny G!!!) solo on “There will never be another you” from Woody Shaw’s album, Solid (2009).  Garrett does a great rendition of this often heard standard.  Listen to his style and the way he shapes notes and phrases.  There are a great deal of scoops, accents, and slurred passages that will be thrown at you, which is always fun.  Also, listen to how Garrett uses rather simple, yet effective forms of chromaticism and “going out” to give this tune a nice remastering.

Guest Post from Jason Fabus: Cannonball Adderley, Corcovado Take 2

Download the Transcription: EbBbC

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.


Guest Post from Sumner Truax: Miles Davis, So What

(The solo starts around 1:33 in the video)

[Thanks to Sumner Truax for today's guest post!  Check out more of Sumner's transcriptions and phenomenal classical recordings over at]

Download the Transcription: BbEbC

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!

Guest Post from Kevin Sun: Joe Henderson, Computer G

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Download the Transcription: BbEbC

[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]

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?).

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Park Evans, Could you be Deceived?

Satori for a Hungry Ghost - Parker Paisley

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Download PDF: ConcertBass ClefBbEb

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.

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