Lee Morgan’s Circus

It’s been quite a while, so here’s a transcription that has been sitting unfinished for months in my docs folder. This is “Circus”, written by Lou Alter and Bob Russell, and featured on the Jazz Messenger’s enthusiastically titled “Art Blakey!!!!! Jazz Messengers!!!!!” release from 1961. I love Lee Morgan’s firey solo on this one (it starts @ 2:35).

Here’s the transcription of Lee’s solo in Bb. There are some great lines for practicing ii-V7-I turnarounds in here!

Circus-1

I wasn’t sure about some of those chord changes, so if anyone has suggestions feel free to comment here.

Click here for the pdf version.

Flugel of Gold

Today is International Jazz Day! To celebrate, I’m posting another solo transcription. Given their roots in funk and fusion, Snarky Puppy can rightly be classified as jazz (who cares, anyway?), but “Thing of Gold” may be one of their least ‘jazzy’ numbers. Again, who cares?

This is a wonderful flugelhorn solo by Jay Jennings. This solo occurs at an abrupt change in key and feel in the song (@ 3:00), after which the song takes the beautiful main melody through a range of modulations. I love the way he takes the instrument out of its comfort zone (for more of that, listen to his solo on ‘Kite’ from ‘We Like it Here’). Just like my first transcription, this one is packed full of soul, and is even in the same key (do I detect a trend?).

Here’s the transcription:

Thing of Gold - Flugelhorn

…and the pdf.

Enjoy, and Happy Jazz Day!

 

I’m Not So Sure

In an attempt to broaden my soloing ‘vocabulary’, I’m beginning to incorporate some solo transcriptions in my practice routine. There are already excellent resources online for transcribed solos – like So Killing Man. But I’ve also decide to transcribe a few of my favourite solos.

I still haven’t decided which is my favourite track on Roy Hargrove’s ‘Earfood’ – either “Strasbourg St. Denis” or “I’m Not So Sure”. Or was it “Starmaker”? I started writing out Roy’s solo in “I’m Not So Sure” some time ago already, and then shelved it. I’ve finally got around to finishing it and digitizing it in MuseScore.

I'm_Not_So_Sure

Click here for the pdf version of the transcription.

What struck me immediately as I was writing out this solo was the sparsity of notes and delicacy of the phrases at the beginning, followed by sudden outbursts of expressive lines (like bars 21 and 31/34). What I’ve noticed from my own playing is that I often play far too much in trying to find my way through the changes, so this is definitely a lesson to take home.

Writing out phrases such as bars 5, 21-22, 36 and 44 actually doesn’t do the solo justice, and they shouldn’t be taken too literally (as with most solos, I’d say). These lines have their roots in soul and gospel – the kinds of phrases that make you want to jump out of your seat and shout “AMEN!”.

 

Snarky Puppy & The Metropole Orchestra

I got to see these guys again last night @ Energiehuis in Dordrecht. What a band! What an orchestra! What an inspiration! I feel like writing a symphony now…

image

 

image

 

image

 

The last few albums from these guys have been recorded amidst a (rather small) live audience. I had the pleasure of being in the audience for the last one in Kyteman Studios in Utrecht last year.

Stay tuned for the new CD/DVD in the coming months.