The trickiest part of this solo is the rhythm. It’s very syncopated. The bank half of the track is a long blow: Two full choruses of the form followed by twenty four bars of a single chord ‘breakdown’, then three more choruses of the form to finish out the track.
One interesting thing that I noticed is that there are a bunch of places where Maceo plays two notes with one using an alternate fingering. This by itself is not unusual – lots of people use this technique (including Maceo). The thing that’s interesting to me about this is that in this solo, it sounds like he’s using the alternate fingering on the first note of the grouping, and not the second note, which is what he (and other players) would more commonly do. Maybe he was just in a certain mood when he recorded this.
For convenience, the PDF is for the entire track, but the video below is for the second solo in the track, starting at the top of page 3.
I saw a request for this solo on one of the SOTW forums, so I gave it a listen. I don’t know why I had never transcribed it before – it’s such a fun song!
This was a bit of a rush job for me. It’s a long song, with two very distinct sections, so I’m posting them one at a time as I complete them. With any luck I’ll have part 2 done next week. On a good day, I get about an hour to practice after work is done and the kids are in bed. So I transcribed about two choruses a night on Monday-Tuesday, practiced and recorded it Wednesday, and edited the video and blog post for publication tonight. Whew!
In retrospect I would have liked to have practiced the solo for another hour before posting, but I believe the transcription is pretty accurate, even if my playing isn’t 😉
More Kenny Garrett! I love his playing on this album, even though the solos are so short. I’ll have to double-check the chords on this one. I pulled them from a lead sheet, but Kenny seems to be consistently playing major 3rds against the C minor. Even a major 7th and sharp 4. I wish I had a better ear for chords!
Tenor Sax! I’ve done a ton of killer Tenor transcriptions, but the problem is, 99% are filled with altissimo passages that I can’t pull off. Tenor is the horn that I have the fewest number of hours on (by a huge margin), and my altissimo chops just aren’t there. But this solo doesn’t have any (which is actually surprising for Alexey since he has monster high chops).
Alexey is a local Seattle guy, but he’s a world-class sax player. I’ve played alongside him in Doctorfunk for over ten years and it’s a real treat hearing him solo night after night. This solo is a typical example of his playing – very technical, but clean and fluid. Great harmonic ideas – nothing too outside, but nice use of chord extensions and intervals to provide color.
Since this CD is hard to find, I’m providing a YouTube link as well.
Paul Desmond – So smooth, so dry. So many metaphors have been used to compare his sound to various foods or alcoholic beverages. He is so unique and special, and this is one of his best known solos.
His playing is deceptively simple on this tune, which defies the level of complexity introduced by the 5/4 time signature. It lays so well you would think it’s in 4/4.
Funny story – As I was editing the solo for upload it dawned on me that the solos are just over the vamp. I’ve played this song so many times over the years and every rhythm section I’ve played it with plays the form over the solos – bridge and all!
I love me some Kenny Garrett! He’s probably my favorite jazz Alto player on the scene today. It’s like Maceo Parker and John Coltrane had a musical baby.
Kenny has a beautiful, bright, clear sound with a very percussive attack, much like Maceo, but he generally plays music that is much more harmonically and technically complex (which you’d expect given their respective genres).
This is an especially interesting track because it shows Kenny playing over a one-chord funk/fusion groove. I love how he plays with the major seventh in the 4th and 5th bars. He really doesn’t stray too far from the blues scale, but when he does, the alterations really pop.
I think that I’ve got most of Kenny’s solos from this period with Miles transcribed, so I’ll be working them into the mix over the next couple months.
Wayne Shorter was in Seattle last week for the Earshot Jazz Festival, and I missed it! I was so bummed, and he was on my mind, so I went through my archives and dug up this gem of a performance.
It’s a duet from a live performance with Bobby McFerrin and I love it. They play off of each other beautifully, taking turns walking bass lines for each other while the other player solos. That’s right – you not only get to hear Wayne Shorter blow a great solo, you get to hear him walk a bass line. How often does that happen?
The solo uses the full range of the horn to great effect. How often do you go from low Bb to high F# (and every note in between) in one solo?
The solo is definitely tough to play. I only dust off my soprano once a year, and it shows. The recording itself is off by about 25 cents, so I had to shove my mouthpiece way in, making my normal intonation struggles on soprano even worse. Overall I rate myself about a D on this one, but it was a good challenge for me.
Here’s a video of the performance, recorded for the VHS release (which I had!) The description indicates that Bobby didn’t know that this duet was going to happen, which is ridiculous. Of course it was planned, arranged, rehearsed, and executed beautifully. The video cuts out a section, so be sure to check out the full track.