- Chris Potter – Cherokee in 10 Keys
- Cannonball Adderley – Del Sasser
- Don Myrick – After the Love Has Gone
- Don Myrick – One More Night
- Bill Bergman – You Belong to the City
- Maceo Parker – Do You Love Me?
It’s been too long since I’ve posted any Maceo, so let’s get back to it! This is a great track – the thing that I like about it is how much of a ‘latin’ feel the melody would have if you just changed up the rhythm section a bit.
The solo is not very technical, but it is trickier to play than it sounds. There are a lot of really intricate rhythms, so I recommend listening to it a lot before playing it and maybe even learning to sing it first.
The PDF has the roadmap for the whole track, including the solo trading at the end. The video fades out the long vocal stretches so you don’t have to watch me dance :pMaceo Parker - Do You Love Me
We lost another great recently. This time Glenn Frey. He is most famous for his work with the Eagles, but he also had a successful solo career in the 80’s while the Eagles were broken up. If you haven’t watched the Eagles documentary, stop what you’re doing and watch it. It’s three hours long, but the opening scene where the band warms up their vocals on “Seven Bridges Road” is amazing. I’ll always remember Glenn Frey talking about how he learned the craft of songwriting. He lived above Jackson Browne, and heard him get up every morning and work through every detail of “Doctor My Eyes” on the piano until it was perfect. Over and over. Glenn Frey summed up “the secret” as elbow grease, and it’s the truth.
I grew up listening mainly to jazz music, so I wasn’t a big Eagles fan until much later in life. But you couldn’t escape the sound of Miami Vice in the 1980’s, and this song featured prominently on it’s soundtrack. So this is a song that I heard a great many times on television and radio growing up. It’s a classic pop sax anthem, and another guilty pleasure to transcribe and play!
The sax player is Bill Bergman, one of those killer players who you’ve heard everywhere, but you may not know their name or work. I didn’t realize that he’s a fellow Strokeland recording artist, both as a member of Jack Mack and the Heart Attacks, but also as a solo artist. I found a great video of Bill telling the story behind this recording.
There’s not a lot of soloing in this track. The signature lick is the three-note opening line: a half-step down followed by a major third. The melody is built around that motif. But there are some nice pop licks thrown in for good measure. There are simple chord changes throughout, but I lazily just called it all C#-7 in the PDF. This one is all about the sound – sing it out!
There are a bunch of sax solos in the genre that I’ll continue to work up over the coming months.Bill Bergman - You Belong to the City
More Don Myrick! Why not? This track is perhaps his most well known work among the general populace. After all, this reached #1 on the pop charts, and had a music video that Don appeared in.
There was a lot of saxophone in pop music in the 80s, which made it a great time to be a player. Even though I was heads-down on jazz 95% of the time, it was a nice feeling seeing your instrument enjoy a prominent place in pop culture and the music industry in general.
So I have a soft spot for these sorts of solos, even though they aren’t in my wheelhouse of jazz/funk. They’re not super meaty, but they are a fun, guilty pleasure to play. Expect more to come!
This song is a ballad, which always makes the transcription tougher. I obsess over the rhythm trying to notate it as accurately as possible. The solo has a very rubato feel overall, so it’s best to listen and try to feel it as much as possible. Above all else, solos like this are a great way to work on your sound. Listen to how Don sells every note. Beautiful!Don Myrick - One More Night
From time to time, I get asked to do studio projects for people. Over the years, I’ve done a few collaborations with The Fascination Movement. One of those tracks has been released, it’s called “In Code”:
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They describe themselves as: electronic, alternative, dance, synthpop
You can find more of their music at Bandcamp: https://thefascinationmovement.bandcamp.com/
For this track, I recorded a bunch of solo lines on Bari sax that they then edited into the mix. I think it sounds pretty cool!
We lost another music legend this week. This time, Maurice White, the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. The impact that he has had on the music industry is immeasurable. He created so many classic songs that will live forever. In over 10+ years of playing with Doctorfunk, we’ve hardly played a gig that didn’t have at least one EWF song in the set list. They are definitely in the top five all-time great horn bands.
So when I heard of Maurice’s passing, I did what I always do: I listened. Then I got out my horn to play. I’ve had Don Myrick on my to-do list for a while now, so I figured there was no better time than today to tackle his most iconic solo.
And what a solo! Although the track is considered one of the ‘smoother’ songs in the EWF catalog, the Alto solo is anything but smooth. It’s only 24 bars long, but it’s filled with meaty bebop-inspired lines that are quite challenging to play. Picking them out of the lush mix was no small feat either! But it was worth it in the end to me, I can finally cross this song off of my bucket list!
I’l have more Don Myrick in the future as well – what an inspiration!
RIP Maurice, you’ll be missed…Don Myrick - After the Love is Gone
I found out recently that Hal Leonard has published a Cannonball Adderley Omnibook. I always get excited about new transcription books, especially when they are done really well, and/or are about an artist that I’m really into. This definitely fits both of those categories.
I literally wore out my Charlie Parker omnibook in high school. Decades went by with no more saxophone ‘omnibooks’ until the excellent John Coltrane Omnibook arrived in 2013.
So I ordered my Cannonball Omnibook the minute I heard about it. While I was waiting for it to arrive, I figured I’d might as well dust off one of my old transcriptions! I went back through my college notebooks and found Del Sasser. Ironically, it’s not from the same recording that the Omnibook selected, so you know that I didn’t just plagiarize it!
I transcribed this back in college as part of a class assignment for jazz theory. We had to pick a solo, transcribe it, write it out, learn to play it, analyze it, etc. All pretty straightforward. The kicker was that we had to play the transcription with a live rhythm section. But that’s a story for another day…Cannonball Adderley - Del Sasser
P.S. Do you like the new background color?
Recently, I was able to participate in a group effort to transcribe another amazing solo saxophone performance by Chris Potter. This time it was Cherokee done in 10 keys over almost 13 minutes.
My contribution was chorus 5, spanning pages 11-12 below. Big thanks to all who were involved in the effort, especially Steve. Due to a family emergency, I threw two pages of rough notes and rhythms over to him in email and he was able to proofread and combine with the rest of the choruses.
Although these solos are amazingly complicated, they aren’t as hard to transcribe as you’d think. Chris is such a clean player that the lack of rhythm section makes it easy to hear each and every pitch if you slow it down enough. The hard part is taking those pitches and making them into something readable. Since there is no frame of reference for time, you have to make a lot of subjective judgment calls.
I’m mirroring the finished work below for ease of viewing on the web. And no, I won’t be posting my own video of me playing along because this is way above my skill level at full speed!Chris Potter - Cherokee (Chorus V)
P.S. I’ve got a few solos in the pipeline, I’ve been sidelined lately between family emergencies and illnesses all around. My goal is to post weekly so hopefully I’ll be back on the horse soon!