This is a really, really cool tune, and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to transcribe a solo that also has video, which we can include in full on the site. So cool of Joe to let us share this with all of you, and congratulations to him on the release of his new album (click the image to navigate to his online store).
I’ve always been more of a straight ahead/bebop kind of player and since my main gig is with a pop band I’ve been looking towards some more pop oriented influences to help myself feel more comfortable soloing in that style. The real lesson in this transcription is in the inflections, articulation and use of grace notes; I think that is really what makes this style come alive so to speak. I tried my best to notate some of the more distinct articulations and grace notes, but you really are going to have to spend a lot of time just listening and following along with the transcription to pick up on these things.
Ambrose. My newest obsession on the trumpet. It took me months before I could remember his name “uhh…it’s this long name and starts with A, but he’s ridiculous!” but I’m sure I’ll never forget it. Ambrose is the perfect mix of math and emotion. Right when you think he’s lost you in a solo, he reels you back in with a sweet, warm melody, or just a straight up funky blues lick. Ambrose’s sound is mesmerizing. It’s always the first thing you hear, the sound of the instrument. Before all the licks, and all the “finger flapping” as Ambrose so humbly (he’s clearly full of it) calls it, you hear the sound. Just the pure sound of the instrument. Your sound is the #1 most important thing in your playing. It might sound weird, but I truly believe that. How can you tell when it’s Miles? It’s that sound. Dizzy? Louis? Clifford? Same thing. It’s their individual sounds, sometimes brittle, other times hypnotic, that make you go “No doubt about it, that’s Lee Morgan.” Continue reading →
This is one of my favorite tunes on the album for its cleverness, lopsided time signature, and killer solos! Rob Burger absolutely tears it up and Carla Kihlstedt swoops in and picks right up where he leaves off, both of them navigating 5/4 time like it’s their respective jobs. Which it is. So there you go. This tune has a very simple chord progression and A/B form which balances out the quirky time signature–and the tuba does a very clever hemiola bassline in the B sections (mm. 17-18, 21-22, 49-54) that’s just charming as hell, and really caught me off guard ten times I listened to it. The combination of simplicity, innovative quirks and killer playing epitomizes the impression I get from this whole album, so if you like this track I STRONGLY suggest buying the whole album.
Today’s awesome guest post, which looks at four different Miles Davis solos over the same tune, comes from trumpeter John Raymond. John has a new album coming out so be sure to check it out on his website!
A little bit ago I did a transcription research project on Miles Davis doing the tune “Walkin” four different times over the course of the first part of his career. The recordings I transcribed were:
These recordings give such a vivid display of Miles’ growth throughout the first few decades of his career. They also serve as a vivid display of Miles’ constant search for spontaneous and uninhibited improvisation, as well as his prowess, maturity and evolution in the three primary spheres of improvising: melody, harmony and rhythm.
Today’s transcription comes from a video that Bob Reynolds posted to Youtube demonstrating playing in 7/4 time on the tune “Out of Nowhere.” I chose this solo to transcribe, because quite frankly I’m pretty terrible at playing in odd-meter and I wanted to have a good example to practice along with; an etude of sorts. This solo comes pretty close to that while still retaining a genuine/musical feel that I think etudes tend to lack (especially jazz etudes). Besides, there are some really killer phrases that go across the entire range of the horn that I really wanted to learn.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I love me some Dave Douglas. Dave has been a huge influence on me both as a writer and a trumpet player, and this particular solo has been one that has haunted me for many years. Dave is a lyrical master, and this solo is a perfect example of his prowess. Almost the whole solo is played over a simple I (vi), ii IV V progression, but its basically just Bb major the whole time. His two horn writing is really some special as it is on display on this track.
“Born Under a Bad Sign”, written by Albert King and performed by: Cream (Eric Clapton; Guitar, Jack Bruce; Bass Guitar, Ginger Baker; Drums). From the Album ‘Royal Albert Hall: London, May 2-3-5-6 2005,’ released 2005 by Reprise Records.
I had always grown up listening to Eric Clapton, but I first came to know his music through the more mellow later stuff like MTV’s “Unplugged” from the early 90s. I also listened to compilation albums that treated the beginning of his career as having started in the 70’s with “Derek and the Dominos,” but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I really even knew about what even came before that: Cream. Clapton’s sheer virtuosity and extended soloing with his late 60’s British blues-rock supergroup forced many critics of rock music to stop dismissing it as noise, and start taking the medium seriously. All 3 members of the band were dedicated musicians who saw no draw in hopping around the stage, coordinating outfits, or smashing equipment to create a spectacle. Their pure devotion to the music made for stunning results on the 4 albums they released, each one seeming to push an already high bar progressively higher. After only 2 years together, Cream played their final live concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall in November of 1968 to a packed house in mourning.
I’m FINALLY posting a cello solo, and since I’m an improvising cellist, it’s about time. There are actually quite a few fabulous cello-playing improvisers out there, and Eugene Friesen is a leader in the field. This whole album, Carnival of Souls, is full of cello techniques and tone colors that you’ve probably never heard, some of them pulled from the acoustic bass, or even guitar lexicons. As a trio member, Friesen excels at holding down the rhythmic accompaniment with arpeggiations and intricate basslines, as well as soaring, lyrical melodies when Howard Levy takes over the accompanimental role.
Today’s transcription features Joel Frahm’s solo on the Coltrane tune ‘Grand Central.’ This track is from Matt Wilson’s 1999 album ‘Smile.’ I decided to transcribe this solo for several reasons:
Joel’s time and feel are impecable at this incredibly fast tempo (about 300bpm!). What better way to practice speed and feel than by playing along with a great example of fast playing.
The changes are moderately challenging; this is a tune I could certainly use some work on. Specifically I wanted to learn the first bridge the Joel plays as Db is not a key I’m very comfortable in. Seeing how he deals with the fast ii V’s as well as the Db7b5 chord are quite instructive as well.