Don Felder and Joe Walsh – Hotel California

And now for something totally different! By request, here is the guitar duel from the Eagle’s Hotel California. This is probably their biggest hit, if not one of the biggest hits of all time from any band!

This is the first time I’ve attempted a guitar transcription here. It’s super-tough to match the phrasing and technique. Saxophone and guitar are both very expressive instruments, but in very different ways, which makes for a challenge.

The range also makes it tough. The Joe Walsh solo spans almost three octaves. I’d like another shot at that high Ab that I missed ūüôā

I did my best to notate the articulation. I’m not a guitar player, but it sounds to me like not every note is picked, some are played by sliding the left hand from one fret to another. The more I could match the articulation, the closer I got to the feel of the guitar part.

In this song, Don Felder plays first. He takes an eight-bar solo and then Joe Walsh takes eight bars. Then they trade two bars each, and then they duet the rest of the way out.

I understand that Don Felder recorded an instrumental demo to pitch to the band, which included both solos and the duet. Don Henley made them stick to those solos for the final recording, although the key changed.

I spent so much time shedding the solo parts that I totally neglected the arpeggios at the end. I figured I’d just read them, but the key threw me in a few spots – oops!

Hotel California

 

  • Artists: Don Felder and Joe Walsh
  • Album:¬†The Eagles: Hotel California (1976)
  • Track:¬†Hotel California
  • Instruments:¬†Guitar duet (originally), transcribed for Alto Sax duet

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

P. S. First post with my Conn 6M post-overhaul!

Review – Grace Kelly at Jazz Alley

As I mentioned before, Grace Kelly came through Seattle for two night at the Jazz Alley, which is the club that all of the big touring acts come through. I caught the show, and it was great!

I wasn’t too sure what to expect. Grace plays straight-ahead stuff, but also very contemporary stuff as well.¬†

First impressions – she’s an amazing singer! I didn’t really run across many videos of her singing on YouTube, so I didn’t realize how talented she is. And she probably sang 40% of the show. The rest of the time she played Alto, except for maybe two songs on Soprano.

She’s also a very talented writer and arranger. Her original music is very good – you can tell she has dedicated a lot of time and effort to her craft. From her stories about the songs, it’s also clear that she’s always writing. Ideas come to her at odd times, but she’s tuned in to those sources of inspiration, and she doesn’t let them slip away like too many of us do.

Her arrangements are very fresh too. She was playing with a quartet: Sax/voice, Piano/keys, electric bass, and acoustic/electric drums. The electronic components gave the quartet a very versatile sound, allowing them to go in many unexpected directions.

She also connects very well with her audience – sharing stories between songs, and dancing freely around the stage. She’s a very honest and genuine performer who seems to love what she does.

One nice touch was that she brought up one of her young students, an eight grader who studies with her over Skype. What a resource to have at that age! At that age I had just joined my first ‘stage band’ and was taking lessons from a clarinet player because our school didn’t have a dedicated sax teacher. I didn’t know anything about jazz or improvised music.

She had her student write a blues song, perform as a duet, solo with the band, and trade solos with her. She had him take nice long solos in front of a big crowd – quite a workout for kid his age, but he did great and the crowd loved it. I appreciated that she didn’t condescend to him or let him off easy with one chorus. She really made him work! As someone who came up as a child prodigy, you can see the effect her mentors had on her when she was younger. It’s great to see her giving back to the next generation.

David Bowie – Sorrow

Quick transcription this week – by request, here is David Bowie’s Alto solo from ‘Sorrow’. Nice and short, only eight bars. He establishes a simple theme in the first two bars, repeats it in the second, varies it up a fourth on the key change, and then re-states to end the solo.

David Bowie was an amazing vocalist, performer, and writer. He’s not known as an influential saxophonist, but I commend him for playing the parts himself to fulfill his musical vision.

This is actually a cover of a song originally recorded by The McCoys in 1965, and again by the Merseys in 1966. Neither have this instrumental part. The McCoys version uses harmonica instead. Bowie covered this in 1973 on the album Pin Ups, which is all cover music. I found a live recording on YouTube from the Serious Moonlight tour in 1984 where there is a much longer saxophone solo played no by Bowie but by Steve Elson (I think)

David Bowie - Sorrow

 

  • Artists: David Bowie
  • Album:¬† David Bowie – Pin Ups
  • Track:¬†Sorrow
  • Instrument:¬†Alto Sax

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Grace Kelly and Leo P – NYC Popup #31

Another Grace/Leo duet. It’s a short one this week. Leo plays the bass part. Grace accompanies him in the beginning, then drops out until her solo. It’s only four bars, and for some reason my fingers kept getting tangled up in the first phrase. She comes back in with the accompaniment, and they finish it off with an altissimo ‘freak out’ before the big last note.

Big thanks to Derek Brown of the BeatBoXSAX channel. He posted a great video tutorial on the ‘overtone gliss’ technique, which is what Leo uses a lot, including the end of this video.

I’ve got to work on it a lot more, but it helped me get the basic concept and tongue position worked out, which had me a bit stumped before.

I’m off to New York for a few days, maybe I’ll get lucky and catch Leo in the subway (although I think he’s too big for that now)! I should get back to Seattle just in time to catch Grace at the Jazz Alley. I’ve never seen her live, so I’m not sure what to expect. I’m guessing it will be a bit more reserved than this video is! I don’t know how the two of them play what they do while dancing in the streets of New York and jumping up and down. I have a hard enough time playing standing still! More power to them…

Grace Kelly + Leo P - Popup #31 (Grace)
Grace Kelly + Leo P - Popup #31 (Leo)

 

  • Artists: Grace Kelly and Leo P
  • Source video:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K294MP3xxsY
  • Instruments:¬†Alto and Baritone Sax

Enjoy!

@SDartSax