Candy Dulfer – Xotica

I’m so glad that I found this album, and this track in particular. It’s my favorite by far. It’s a very beautiful ballad. The track opens with a bass pattern that repeats throughout the track. Candy comes in with some beautiful improvisation. Although there are drums and keys in the background, it feels more to me like a duet between the bass and alto. The bass and alto do play the melody line together at the end of the track, but it’s fairly short. I could listen to this for hours – I wish they had stretched it out more!

I’m hard pressed to categorize this as anything other than jazz. In a way it reminds of me of old ‘fusion’ tracks from bands like Steps Ahead or the Yellowjackets. Candy’s tone is so beautiful on this track – bright but soulful. And she doesn’t overplay anything, it’s very tastefully done throughout and builds gently to a beautiful conclusion.

Ballads are always the most challenging to transcribe. The time feels so loose and the subdivisions are so precise. I had to pull out all of my tricks to accurately capture what was happening rhythmically. And then I went back to simplify things a bit to make it actually readable.

Even so, it’s a challenge to play – not because of the technique but because of the rhythms. This is one of those cases where it would be much easier to memorize the track than it would be to read it, but both are valuable skills to have.

Note – the track I have skips a half a beat six bars from the end. I don’t know why, it sounds like a bad edit. I tried to fill in the blanks as best I could and then play around the edit.

Candy Dulfer - Xotica

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Maceo Parker – Get on the Boat

This is the only saxophone solo on the 3121 album. It’s a medium tempo latin-funk feel. Maceo plays an eight bar solo in the middle of the track, and then a longer sixteen bar solo towards the end. I added the time indexes to each solo and split them across two pages for ease of reading.

These are very typical Maceo solos, although he uses altissimo more here than he usually does. It’s also a little unusual to see him jumping up and down so quickly, but he pulls it off nicely. This is something that has gotten a lot easier for me on the Conn 6M compared to my Mark VI. The altissimo notes just pop out, even some of the tougher notes over the break like G.

Maceo Parker - Get On The Boat

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Candy Dulfer – Xogenous

Continuing with the Xpectation album…There are a bunch of cool Candy Dulfer solos on this album. My biggest complaint is that they are too short!

The credits list her as playing ‘electric saxophone’ on a few tracks (not this one), which I interpret to mean EWI/WX. The funny thing is, have an EWI (and a WX11 before that), and was deeply into it for many years. I have WAY too much gear for it, along with all of the special patches, etc. that go along with it. I even spent time writing software for it, which led to my first job at Microsoft, but that’s a story for a different day…

But I’ve kind of gotten over the EWI. I rarely play it, and apart from some of Michael Brecker’s early work with it, listening to someone play it on a recording doesn’t do anything for me. That’s even more true on a Prince record because I don’t really know who is playing what. There are a ton of synth parts everywhere, so I can’t even tell that Candy’s playing it.

I’m too in love with the organic sound of the acoustic saxophone and its deep association with the player who created it. So I largely skipped over the ‘electronic saxophone’ tracks on this album and focused on the acoustic solos.

This tune is a latin-jazz feel, reminiscent of what you might hear on a Return to Forever album (albeit with more modern production values). The solo is only 16 bars, but I like it a lot. It’s easy to play and showcases Candy’s beautiful tone to great effect. I especially like the rhythmic play in bars 9-11.

Candy Dulfer - Xogenous

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Candy Dulfer – Xemplify

This album took some digging to find, but I’m glad I did. It further demonstrates how diverse Prince’s catalog (and talent) was.

I have to say that this album is a little uneven, but it has moments of sheer brilliance as well. I could only describe it as ‘jazz’. Some of the tracks feel reminiscent of the later Miles Davis electric funk/jazz explorations. What a collaboration that would have been if Miles and Prince had gotten together.

This track is a pretty straight ahead medium-tempo hard swing feel. I really like Candy’s approach to the solo. She has some very nice lines including some incredibly clean double-time and altissimo runs that step the difficulty up a notch.

I really liked the melody so I included the short passage after the solo as well.

Candy Dulfer - Xemplify

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Najee – Rainbow Children

This is another Najee soprano solo from the “One Night Alone – Live” box set that I almost didn’t transcribe. But I listened to it a few more times and it grew on me.

This track opens the box set, and is a full-on free-jazz electric odyssey for the first full minute. It settles in to a funky jazz groove (kind of like ‘Superfly’ with a swing feel) and Najee kicks it off with a soprano solo.

There’s some crazy hard stuff to play in this solo. It’s only a minute long, but it’s dense. In bar eleven he starts a 7-1-4 hemiola that you just have to feel. I had a hard time reading the triplet figures starting in bar eighteen. After notating it, I pretty much stopped looking at the page and just listened to it a bunch until I had internalized the patterns as well as I could.

The run in bar 32 sounds like a blur, but when you slow it down, it’s amazing how cleanly he executes it!

Najee - Rainbow Children

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Najee – The Other Side of the Pillow

I’m almost done with this Prince box set! I put off this transcription because I wasn’t a big fan of it, but as usual, once I started working on it, it really started to grow on me.

This is another solo from Najee, this time on soprano sax, so I get to dust those chops off again! This is a straight-ahead jazz feel, kind of a 16-bar blues.

There are some cool runs in this one. I especially like the 11-12th bars of the first chorus. At first I thought he was doing some kind of altered substitution, but it turns out it’s a straight-forward 1-2-3-5-6-b7 run, but it starts on the 2, which puts the extensions on the strong beats and gives it a very cool sound.

Najee - The Other Side of the Pillow

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Candy Dulfer – Everlasting Now

Here are the two Candy Dulfer solos from ‘Everlasting Now’. I posted the Maceo solo last time.

These are both pretty tough to play. The tempo is pretty fast, and she’s pulling out all of the stops with false fingerings, altissimo, and a freak-out to end each solo.

I don’t go too deeply into figuring out which alternate A fingering she’s using for which note. You can probably figure it out, but I don’t think the return on investment is worth it. I just go by feel for what I would play to achieve the similar effect.

The same goes for the ‘freak out’ effects at the end. On the first solo I generally get the idea that she holds the high A, then when she switches to G she basically starts trilling with the fingers of her right hand while moving between G-F-E. The embouchure helps turn the whole thing into a slide. The end of the second solo is basically a slide up to high B and then a lip/finger fall from there.

Good luck with this one – I could definitely use some more time in the practice room on them!

Candy Dulfer - Everlasting Now

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Maceo Parker – Everlasting Now

Prince. Maceo. One Night Alone – Live (continued)…

Everlasting now gives the whole band a chance to open up and solo, if only for eight bars at time. The track starts out with a funky “p-funk” feel to it, but then transitions into a quasi-latin jazz groove for the solos.

Candy Dulfer takes the first sax solo (I’ll probably post that one next), with guitar, piano, and bone solos as well. Maceo is in the middle and only gets eight bars, even though some of the soloists (like Candy) come back for another round later.

This track reminds me of Branford Marsalis quote from the movie/documentary “Bring on the Night”. I can’t find the exact quote, but he’s comparing playing in a jazz setting to playing with Sting. In jazz you have the luxury of building a solo over several choruses. But in pop music, you have to burn from the first bar.

That couldn’t be more true here! It’s a pretty up tempo track, so it really flies by, clocking in at about fifteen seconds total.

You’ll notice in the third bar how there’s a Bb that feels kind of out of context. Listening closely to the track slowed down, I’m pretty sure Maceo plays it, but it sounds cracked, like it was an overtone. I’m guessing that it was not intentional – like he started to go in one direction and then changed his mind.

I always struggle with how to transcribe and practice stuff like that. What I’ve settled on is to notate things as accurately as I can (so the note is there), but I don’t go out of my way to learn the ‘mistake’ when I practice. In this case I practiced the line both ways. It’s kind of all or nothing though, either the note is fully there as part of the line (which I don’t think is what Maceo intended), or it’s a ghosted note, which is ultimately how I ended up playing it in the video.

Listening back to my recording of this take, I realize that I need to keep the air supporting through the whole line better. At the end of the solo it feels like half of the lines are ghosted. There’s something to this whole recording yourself practicing thing – people should do it more!

Maceo Parker - Everlasting Now

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

Candy Dulfer – Extraordinary

I’m still working my way through Prince’s “One Night Alone – Live” box set. Back to Candy this time.

This track is a great example of why I love this box set so much – it’s so diverse. The track starts off as a pop ballad, but transitions to a straight ahead jazz waltz. The whole solo is in 3/4 (which I need to do more of BTW), and has some nice lines in it. It’s very different from what you normally hear from Prince (or Candy for that matter).

Coincidentally, this happens to be my first post with my new Alto! I know it seems odd to christen a Conn with a Candy Dulfer transcription instead of a Cannonball one, but that’s life. I think it works really well! I probably won’t use it exclusively, the horn needs a lot of work, but I also need a lot of work on it. Today was the first chance I’ve really had to play it for more than a few minutes.

I love how responsive the altissimo is – I just need to teach my brain where to find the notes. My body wants to go where they are on my Mark VI, which doesn’t work on the Conn.

Candy Dulfer - Extraordinary

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax

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

 

Enjoy!

@SDartSax