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




Maceo Parker – Hamp’s Boogie Woogie

I don’t think I’ve posted anything from the Mo’ Roots album. I look at this as a transitional album for Maceo, where he was really starting to establish himself as a solo artist. More importantly, it’s pretty much a straight ahead jazz album. I feel as though he was trying to expand people’s thinking about what kind of music he was capable of.

This is a very straight forward tune – a hard-swinging version of the classic Lionel Hampton big band song from the forties. Maceo himself was still a toddler when this song was popular, but he does a great rendition here.

Maceo Parker - Hamp's Boogie Woogie