David Sanborn – Same Girl

Continuing through the Close-Up album, this is track #5 Same Girl. This is a short track – a beautiful ballad with no improvisation. It’s very straightforward to play, just a little tricky to follow since the time is loose.

For some reason, every time I hear this song I’m reminded of the theme song from the old 70’s Incredible Hulk show with Bill Bixby. As far as I can tell, there’s no relation between the two, but here’s a link so you can have a listen for yourself and be the judge.

This is the last of the ‘legacy’ transcriptions I did of this album in high school, so the rest of the transcriptions will be all new!

I’ll get to them as soon as I can. It’s been hard finding the time to transcribe and post regularly over the past month or so, but having this blog helps keep me motivated to practice even when I’m busy.

David Sanborn - Same Girl




David Sanborn – Goodbye

Continuing through the Close-Up album, this is track #4 Goodbye.

This fits nicely with the rest of the album – a down tempo track with another soaring melody line. The thing I like the most about this track is how Sanborn’s vibrato is perfectly in time and is so pronounced on the held notes during the ‘A’ section. It’s something that you don’t hear done very much, and it was very tough for me to match exactly.

The ‘B’ section is equally powerful – use lots of air! I wasn’t ready and I couldn’t make it through the first note. This section is a real workout!

Like the other tracks on the album, there’s a brief solo section, then a return to the melody and some more soloing on the ride out. Lots of altissimo, including a high D. I feel like it’s getting a little better, but I still need to work out some short fingerings that will make the high B-A-G-A run.

This is a continuation in my series of resurrected high school transcriptions. I found some glaring errors so I spent about 15 mintues fixing things up, but there are still big gaps (especially at the end). Hey, at least it’s free, right?!

David Sanborn - Goodbye




David Sanborn – J.T.

Continuing through the Close-Up album, this is track #2: JT.

This is probably one of the hardest tracks on the album for me to play. There’s a ton of tricky altissimo passages that are right in the break between F-A (the hardest range for me to navigate fluidly).

This month has been a busy one for me, making it hard for me to hit my self-defined goal of posting one transcription per week. I did these Sanborn transcriptions back in High School (with pencil and paper!) Given my limited time, I quickly keyed them in to Finale, played through once or twice to fix the most egregious errors and then rolled tape.

The quality of the transcriptions that I did back then doesn’t meet my current bar for quality. I neglected to put in chord changes, I didn’t transcribe all the way to the end of the fade (I think I stopped when I got to the end of the page!), and there are occasionally multiple parts being played simultaneously that I didn’t capture. Not to mention little inaccuracies with notes and rhythms that I didn’t catch until playing them a few times.

I might need to do a ‘Take 2’ pass of these when I get more time. I could only find my written transcriptions for the first half of the album, so the second half will have to all be done from scratch. Hopefully you will notice an improvement in quality as I go!

David Sanborn - JT




David Sanborn – Lesley Ann

Continuing through the Close-Up album, this is track #3 Lesley Ann. A really beautiful track with a soaring melody. There’s not a lot of soloing to this one, just melody, but it’s one of my favorite tracks from the album.

A brief editorial note – You may catch a small overdub in the video. As much as I try to get everything in one take, I don’t always have the time for that. Sometimes I’ll record longer or more difficult pieces in sections and choose the best takes for each section. In this case, there were no breaks in the track, and I blew one altissimo passage late in the track. So I grabbed the audio from another take to patch it up. But there are a few bars where the audio and video don’t line up well 🙂

David Sanborn - Lesley Ann




David Sanborn – Slam

A few weeks ago, I was reading a discussion on Facebook where someone asked what the best David Sanborn album was. They weren’t looking for the best solo, the best track, or an album that contained a few great tracks and a few filler ones. They wanted to know what people thought the best overall end-to-end album was. And the overwhelming majority said ‘Close Up’. I couldn’t agree more!

The production values sound a little dated now, but the playing is amazing. Whenever Marcus Miller is involved, you know it’s going to be good.

When I was in high school, I transcribed most of this album, and it’s how I learned altissimo on the alto. Since reading that discussion thread, I’ve gone back through my archives and dug up those old transcriptions. They needed a little work to get up to snuff (and so do my altissimo chops!)

Slam is the first cut of the album. The melody is simple yet powerful. You need a lot of air to deliver it with conviction the way Sanborn does. This track has some really crazy high parts that I’m not quite solid on, but I did my best.

Hopefully by the time I get around to posting all the tracks from this album, I’ll have a much better handle on the upper register of my alto with this new mouthpiece!

David Sanborn - Slam




Kenny Garrett – Amandla

Well, I didn’t finish off this album in 2015 like I had hoped, but maybe with a little luck I’ll finish it in January of 2016!

Believe it or not, this is probably one of the hardest solo transcriptions I’ve ever done. Much of the track has a ‘half-time’ feel that floats. There’s nothing to grab on to, but the time is there – rock solid. It’s a brilliant arrangement!

This is one of those situations where you don’t really appreciate the track until you transcribe it and really have to dig in to what’s going on. The changes on this song are so beautiful, and the feel that is created by the rhythm section is so amazing.

I did my best to capture what I felt was going on time-wise, but I’m sure others might have a different interpretation. If so, I’d love to hear it! For a change, my performance of the solo was based more on feel than on reading the rhythms strictly (and I still didn’t get close enough for my taste).

But check this track out – Kenny’s playing is amazing, with some beautiful lines and rhythms. The PDF starts with his main solo, and continues through the end of the track. After the piano solo, he fills in around the melody as Miles plays, and then trades with Miles as the tune rides out. can you imagine trading with Miles Davis??

Kenny Garrett - Amandla




P.S. My first post with the new Alto mouthpiece!

Kenny Garrett – Big Time

Another great Kenny Garrett solo from Amandla. Actually, there are two solos in this track, so be sure to keep watching the video after the first fade. The solos are split across two pages in the PDF.

I think there’s only one or two more Kenny Garrett solos on this album, I’ll shoot to get the rest done before the end of the year.

Kenny Garrett - Big Time




Kenny Garrett – Jo-Jo

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!

Kenny Garrett - Jo-Jo




Kenny Garrett – Jilli

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.

Kenny Garrett - Jilli