15 November, 2010

Bud Powell's solo on Celia

I'm trying to get into Bud Powell.  I've tried many times before.  While I've been able to appreciate how good he is, his music just never really "grabbed" me.  I'm beginning to dig it more as I get older.  Thanks to Graeme Norris & James Sherlock for subliminally getting me into him over the years... and that famous Kurt Rosenwinkel interview ("do you pretend to play modern jazz?").

I got into this tune through James Sherlock's new CD, Domestic Arts.  I then proceeded to check out the original, on Bud Powell's Jazz Giant (1949), which is where this transcription is from.  I also found another version in my library from Kenny Kirkland's album - I'll probably do that one at a later date!

Bud Powell - Celia (Concert)

Bud Powell - Celia (Bb) (just for you, Graeme!)

I had a "Kenny Barron Sunday" and followed it up with a "Bud Powell Monday".  The opening break inspired me just before I left home to accompany some trumpet exams.  Decided to do the rest after watching The Simpsons...

11 October, 2010

John Coltrane's solo on Lazy Bird

While I've always liked the tune Lazy Bird (from Blue Train, 1957), I've never been able to play it very well.  I spent a lot of yesterday afternoon practicing it rather academically as well as attempting to play something decent over it to no avail; could've just been having a bad day.  Anyway, before I went to bed last night, I decided that an effective way to learn this tune would be to transcribe Coltrane's solo.  Yes, it's probably been done hundreds of times before and easily found through google/in a sax transcription book, but I wanted to do it myself.

After hearing it a few times and then transcribing it, I've got to say that this is one of my favourite solos of that era.  It's classic late-50s, pre-Giant Steps Coltrane - you can hear his signatures all over it.  I have included a PDF of the solos in landscape orientation with 8 bar phrases stacked on top of each other - this makes it easier to compare his approaches to each section.  Certain phrases/devices pop up more than once, and there's lots of bebop scale usage.

  • I am a pianist, not a horn player.  Hence a lot of my "runs" up/down notes, fall offs, scoops etc. might be written differently to how a saxophonist writes them.  My instrument can't scoop/slide, hence I have to compensate by writing these things a certain way.
  • No articulations.  This is just a note/basic rhythmic guide - you'll have more fun listening to it, learning & adding them yourself! :D
  • I learnt most of this by ear, one section at a time & on my instrument, then wrote it straight into Sibelius.  That said, I haven't proof read it very thoroughly but I'd say it's reasonably accurate.  I was just excited to get it done and wanted to publish it.  Make your own corrections. Some enharmonic choices may be disagreed upon.
  • Sorry if the formatting for the Bb parts isn't as neat/good as the concert. It's still usable though!

03 September, 2010

Brad Mehldau - Not You Again (There Will Never Be Another You) solo

Alright, so looks like I lied yesterday about it being my last post for a while.  Once you get into a rhythm working with Sibelius, you get pretty quick at inputting things and might as well keep going!  This is definitely it for at least a week or so... I gotta practice this stuff!!!

Not You Again is a John Scofield contra-fact over the changes of There Will Never Be Another You.  It can be heard on the 2000 album, Works For Me.  My ensemble director back in my first year of undergrad (2003), Jamie Clark, had us playing this tune and urged us to check out the album and its "dream band": John Scofield, Kenny Garrett, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride & the late Billy Higgins.  Jamie, you were onto something!

Listen to Brad's solo

Click here to view WITH chord symbols (my interpretation) over his LH superimposed chords

Click here to view WITHOUT chord symbols over his LH superimposed chords

As you can see from the date stamp, I first transcribed this YEARS ago (stayed up all night doing it, much to the annoyance of my parents).  Tinkered around with it to make my ego feel good that I had worked out something "hip", although I never really studied it properly - I was 18 at the time and terrified of what I was hearing.  I decided to take another look at it today so I could clean it up (my LH chords in the 2nd chorus were way off), put it through Sibelius and post it on this blog.  6.5 years on, and it still scares me... although thankfully not as much!  I still don't really know what's going on in the 2nd chorus, but at least I'm now in a better position to try and work it out! :-)

I tried to transcribe McBride's bass line too, but didn't get very far (hard to hear the pitches clearly, especially when he sometimes gets lost in the mix with the drums).  From what I can hear overall, he mostly sticks to the changes as written.

Anyway, enjoy this one.  If anyone can shed some light on what sort of "concept" Brad is using to reharmonise the 2nd chorus, leave me a comment.  Cheers!

02 September, 2010

More Mulgrew Miller tunes!

No more Mulgrew solos for now... but can you dig more Mulgrew tunes?

Soul-Leo, from 1987's Wingspanis in that 60s Blue Note "funky" kinda vein, but with a slightly bent bridge.  I think I transcribed this one just for the hell of it.


Somewhere Else & New Wheels are both from 1993's With Our Own Eyes.  It looks like this one is out of print as it doesn't seem readily available on Amazon, nor is it on iTunes.  Let me know if you've really got your heart set on getting a hold of this recording though.  Somewhere Else sounds very McCoy-ish to me - I like the "crunchy" harmony.  New Wheels is a chromatic rhythm changes head.  Chromatic lines never cease to baffle me, so I thought I'd write this one out (only had to work out 16 or so bars!).

Somewhere Else
New Wheels

This will be my last post for a while until I input more things I've written down (yes, with a pencil and manuscript!) into Sibelius.  I might scan, or even input into Sibelius, some old transcriptions I did by hand years ago too.  Most of what I've uploaded in the past couple of days has been done over the past 6 weeks, so my rate of posting will most definitely slow down in comparison to the past 24 hours!  Hope you enjoy what I've put up so far.


Hank Mobley & Wynton Kelly - Remember solos

Here are Hank Mobley & Wynton Kelly's solos from the opening track of 1960's Soul Station.  Love this album - it's usually one I just enjoy listening to but I'm now starting to check it out on more than a surface level, just to work out what makes it hip.

Hank's solo (Bb)
Hank & Wynton's solos (concert)

Sorry if the Bb PDF is a bit messy - it was just a quick cut/paste job from the concert chart.  Didn't go through and check if there were any Cb/E#s either, but I'm sure you'll be fine with it.  Also, with regards to the rhythmic placement of things (laying back/pushing/wailing), I haven't made any markings and the wailing sections may be slightly inaccurate.  However, as with any transcription, this is just a guide and if you wanna nail it, check it out with the recording.