Chris Potter – All The Things You Are

In a way, this is the solo that started it all for me (again). While I had done a lot of transcribing in high school and college, I had gotten away from it for several years after college for one reason or another.

But then I heard this solo one day and felt compelled to transcribe it (and play it too!)

So I set about transcribing it, and managed to get through the whole thing. I have no idea how long it took, probably two weeks with a few hours here and there devoted to it.

When I first transcribed the solo, I was just going for notes and rhythms, not paying much attention to form or chord progressions. With no rhythm section reference, it can be hard to follow at times, or even find where ‘one’ is (intentionally!)

I made heavy use of off time signatures to reconcile this. But I realize in hindsight that this was a mistake. I recently went back to try and add in chorus markers and chord changes for reference. But often I found that phrases might be notated a few beats away from where they ‘should’ land to line up with chorus start/end points. I spent some time editing and quickly realized that it was going to be a huge amount of work to clean up. So instead I present it as-is, mistakes and all. There are better transcriptions of this solo out there for sure, but this one is mine 🙂

I’ve learned to play passages from the transcription, but it’s obviously very difficult to play certain sections, so don’t expect to see a video of me playing the whole solo any time in my lifetime. I have tremendous respect for those who can!

The recording was the first of many bootleg recordings of Chris Potter playing a capella at a master class. There are now many of these floating around with varying audio quality. I don’t think Chris sees any money from these unfortunately, so please support his albums and performances.

We’re lucky to have such a legendary saxophone player active in our lifetime who is so incredibly gifted both musically and technically!

Chris Potter - All The Things You Are (blog)


  • Artist: Chris Potter
  • Album: (YouTube)
  • Track: All The Things You Are
  • Instrument: Tenor Sax



P. S. For those of you who are interested in how my recovery from double-jaw surgery is going, I’m about eight weeks post-surgery and still a long way from playing the saxophone. I can now eat soft food gently, but my lower lip is still totally numb and very stiff. I predict another 6-8 weeks before I’m playing again.

Chris Potter – Cherokee in 10 Keys

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.

Steve Neff was one of the key contributors and describes how the effort came about on his blog.

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)


  • Artist: Chris Potter
  • Track: Cherokee
  • Instrument: Tenor Sax



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!