Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 4 of 6) Dexter Gordon – Love For Sale

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Head and 1st Solo

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2nd Solo, Head, and Vamp

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Here’s a transcription of Love For Sale from Dexter Gordon’s Go! album. It starts off with a 2+3 clave in the drums that’s reminiscent of the beginning of Soy Califa from Dexter’s A Swingin’ Affair album. That feel continues through the “A” sections of the melody and changes to a swing feel in the bridge. When the rhythm section comes back in after Dexter’s solo break, it’s swing all the way.

Toward the end of the 1st solo (m. 197), there’s a tremolo that alternates between G and Bb. That is played by using the fingering below the asterisk and using the tongue to change the voicing of the note as you play it. I think of it as alternating between the syllables “ah” and “ee”. Another way to think of it might be to think of repeating the syllable “yah”. Dexter uses this device frequently as does Cannonball Adderley.

After the piano solo, Dexter comes back for a 2nd solo. Following that, there’s a return to the last “A” section of the melody and a return to the Latin feel from the beginning. After stating the melody, Dexter plays over a vamp and the recording fades out.

I’ll be back soon with Part 5 of this series, the beautiful ballad, “Where Are You?”

Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 3 of 6) Dexter Gordon – Second Balcony Jump

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Second Balcony Jump is a Rhythm Changes tune by Dexter Gordon. It stands out to me because it has two different melodies. The last two measures of each “A” section is the same, but the rest of the two melodies are completely different.

While revisiting this material, I remembered an interesting fact about this album. Aside from the two ballads on the album, “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Up To Dry” and “Where Are You?”, Dexter Gordon plays 2 solos on every tune. The general form of the tunes is: melody, tenor solo, piano solo, tenor solo #2, melody.

I’ll be back soon with Part 4 of this series, “Love For Sale”.

Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 2 of 6) Dexter Gordon – I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry

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Here is the second song from Dexter Gordon’s Go! album, I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry. This is a beautiful ballad written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. When I was learning this solo I checked out some vocal versions of this song. Frank Sinatra, of course, has a great version. The real surprise (at least to me) was a version by Linda Ronstadt with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. It is incredible!

That’s it for now. I’ll be back with the next installment in this series, Second Balcony Jump, in the next couple days.

Transcribed: The Go! Album (Part 1 of 6) Dexter Gordon – Cheese Cake

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This is a top to bottom transcription of Dexter Gordon on his tune Cheese Cake from the 1962 Go! album. It has the melody, Dexter’s solo, and the final melody with an 8-bar tag. A couple of years ago I decided to transcribe Dexter’s playing on the entire album. I’ll be sharing those transcriptions in upcoming posts.

Transcribed: Joe Henderson – Recordame

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I’ve decided to open up the vaults and share some transcriptions I’ve never posted. This one is Joe Henderson’s solo on Recordame from his 1963 album, Page One.

Transcribed: Joe Henderson – Inner Urge

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I did this transcription several months ago as an assignment for my lessons with Garry Dial. It was the most difficult solo I’d learned to that point and the experience was both rewarding and empowering. It felt really good to know that I was capable of doing that.

Anyway, a couple of notes on the solo. Joe Henderson was a master of rhythm. This rhythmic sophistication is, to me, one of the most intriguing aspects of his playing, but it also presents the greatest challenge when writing out the transcription. In some cases, I just tried to make all of the notes fit within the space in which they were played. I’m sure there are a few different ways to notate some of the more complex phrases.

Notes for a couple of specific spots:

In measure 14, there’s an altissimo D in that measure. To me, it sounds like Joe Hen played the F# (with the front F/fork key) on beat 3 and it cracked, resulting in the altissimo D.

In measure 79 (4th chorus), the “and” of 1 is a harmonic/false fingering. You could finger F# or G while holding down the palm D key. It could be F# or G depending on the intonation of your horn. F# works better for me.

Measure 110 (5th chorus) on beat 4, the A is another harmonic/false fingering. You would finger D while playing that note. If you’re unable to do it, experiment with the voicing (tongue placement). The tongue should be in a slightly higher position. If that doesn’t work, play the fingering for D without the G key (LH3).

At the beginning of the 6th chorus (measure 121), the notes alternate between palm key D and palm D with the fingering for G added.

Hope you enjoy the transcription.

Here’s a recording of me playing along with the solo (warts and all):

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From 1 to 10: Ways to get more from your transcriptions.

Tonight I was listening and playing along with a nice duo recording by Archie Shepp and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (NHØP if you’re nasty) called Looking At Bird. All of the tunes on the album were written by Charlie Parker.

While listening to Moose the Mooche, I came across this phrase by Archie Shepp:

From 1 to 10

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It starts with an enclosure of the A, the 5th of D7. Then it proceeds down the D Bebop Dominant scale and finishes with an enclosure of the F natural, the 7th of G7.

At this point, you could learn the phrase verbatim (in 12 keys, of course) and call it a day, but you’d be much better off in the long run if you can spend some time working out some other ways of playing it.

Below are some examples of ways you could manipulate this phrase:

1. is the original phrase.

2 .begins a beat earlier. Number 1 starts on beat 3 and number 2 starts on beat 2. No other changes.

3. starts a beat later than number 1. No other changes.

4. starts 2 beats later than number 1. This created the need for some adjustments. The C# passing tone between the D and C is gone so that the B is on the downbeat of the G7. I added my own ending to the line on the G7.

5. is the original phrase in double time (twice the speed). It’s rhythmically lined up so that the first note of the G7 is the same as the original.

6. is where bigger changes start. Instead of starting the phrase with an enclosure of the 5th (A) of D7, we start with an enclosure of the root (D). The phrase maintains its overall direction and shape.

7. starts with an enclosure of the 3rd (F#). Again, the direction and shape of the phrase are similar to the original.

8. starts again with an enclosure of the 3rd (F#). This time I added chromatic passing tones between the F# on beat 4 of the 1st measure and the D in the 2nd measure.

9. starts with an enclosure of the 7th (C). I started mine with a Db, but you could just as easily start on D. Whichever one you like is the best choice.

10. is the deluxe Bebop version of this phrase. It starts two beats earlier than the original phrase and contains every available chromatic approach over the D7.

 

Just by changing where the phrase started rhythmically and which chord tone it started with, I very quickly had exponentially more material to work with. The beauty of that is there are many more options than I listed in the pdf. For example, you could take the double-time version of the phrase (5.)  and start that on a different beat or you could use you other scales in the place of the Bebop Dominant. It only limited by your imagination.

There’s a whole world waiting to be discovered in every phrase!

The 3 Laws of Practicing

Developing a solid and productive way of practicing is a real source of anxiety, frustration, and confusion for many musicians. There seem to be so many competing factors pulling at each of us – the expectations of teachers, market expectations, and the perceived difference between where you are and where you want to be in your playing, to name a few. When we strip away all of these factors and influences, we are left with 3 concepts that together form a prerequisite for successful practice.

The 3 Laws of Practicing

1. Have A Plan.
2. Correct Mistakes.
3. Be Consistent.

1. Have A Plan – This is the most fundamental element of practicing. To me, a plan is a set of instructions that you can act upon to reach specific goals. Having a plan is important for a couple of reasons. First, it requires you to think about what you’re doing, especially when it comes to large long-term goals. The ability to break down large goals into small manageable tasks is invaluable. Also, it creates an opportunity to track progress over time. You can see what’s working (or not working) for you. You can also work out how realistic your timeline is for reaching your goals.

Having a plan is essential. In my opinion, if you’re playing without a plan, you’re not really practicing. With that said, playing music is a creative endeavor and there must be room for spontaneity and creativity. Sometimes you’ve just gotta play for the sake of playing.

2. Correct Mistakes – This sounds simple, but is often overlooked. These rules are short and simple. If I were to elaborate and give this rule a longer name, it would be “Correct mistakes mercilessly and fully.” This means that you must first remove any personal judgements about making mistakes (i.e. I made a mistake. I’m a terrible musician and a horrible human being.). No one is perfect. Top performers in any field make mistakes. The difference is that they accept that they will mistakes and then approach those mistakes with a laser-like focus and correct them.

This is a multi-step process.
1. Identify a mistake and its exact location.
2. Identify the nature of the mistake – mechanical (fingers/tongue), mental (counting errors), etc.
3. Find a solution to the mistake.
4. Practice the correction at the point of the mistake (just a few notes before and after the mistake)
5. Play it slowly until it feels comfortable and easy then increase speed as needed.
6. Play the section in context.

The process of correcting mistakes is where skill is developed. Music is built on a lot of patterns and repetition. If you encounter a particular problem in a piece or a tune, you can expect to see it pop up again somewhere down the line. Addressing mistakes fully the first time around will increase your chances of success in the future.

3. Be Consistent – The key to developing a skill over time is consistency. You have to show up and do the work on a regular basis.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts about practicing in the comments below.

Play-Along with Gerald Clayton on Strasbourg/St. Denis

Here’s a recording I made of myself playing along with Gerald Clayton’s piano solo on Strasbourg/St. Denis from Roy Hargrove’s Earfood album.

There are a few times in the solo where Gerald plays multiple notes at the same time in the right hand. I did overdubs with the saxophone to try to cover all of that.

Here’s a rundown of the gear I used to record this:

DAW: Logic Pro X
Interface: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
Microphone: Cascade Fathead II with Lundahl transformer
Plug-ins: Eventide Ultra Channel, Apple Platinum Verb