Transcribed: Lester Leaps In – Sonny Stitt

A couple post back, I played along with the recording of Sonny Stitt playing Lester Leaps In. I had learned the solo by listening and listening to it and playing along and figuring it out. I mentioned in that post that I wasn’t planning on writing it down


After working with it for a few weeks, I decided it might be better to write it down. I was at a point of extracting and isolating vocabulary. I find this to be easier if I can see it. With that said, and without further ado, here it is.


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Upcoming Events!

I’ve got a couple of really cool shows coming up that I wanted to share. The first one is on March 13 at Red Rock Casino with a new band called The Dirty. Check out the website to get a feel for what we’re doing.

The other show is with the Rockie Brown Band. That’s coming up on March 22nd at the Downtown Container Park. Rockie Brown Band is also in the studio now recording an album. I’ll be posting some photos and videos from the sessions soon.
You can find more details about the gigs by clicking on the Events tab at the top of the page.

Playing with Sonny Stitt – Lester Leaps In


This is a solo I’ve been working on recently. No plans on writing it down at the moment.

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Transcribed: DMT Song – Flying Lotus
















I was interested in the chord movement in this song so I transcribed it.



Summer Reading List

Just thought I’d share a few of the books I’m planning on reading this summer.

The Masters of Bebop: A Listener’s Guide – Ira Gitler
Primacy Of The Ear – Ran Blake
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – Mason Currey
Discourse on Method – Rene Descartes

If you have any book recommendations, feel free to add them in the comments. Thanks!

Transcribed: There Will Never Be Another You – Woody Shaw



One of the first transcriptions I posted on this site was Kenny Garrett’s solo on There Will Never Be Another You. It comes from Woody Shaw’s “Solid” album. I’ve always liked this record since I bought it, but I had never learned any of Woody Shaw’s solos until now. It’s cool to see the different ways Woody plays outside and how he resolves those lines. I also enjoying seeing how clear and deliberate each phrase was. As a listener, I had the feeling that, at the end of each phrase, Woody Shaw waited until he was ready with a strong melodic idea before playing again.

As always, I used Transcribe! for learning the solo. This time around, I found a really cool feature. You can slow your selection down to whatever speed you’d like and export it as a .wav file. It will play at your selected speed and you can choose the number of times the selection repeats. Really cool stuff! After exporting the file at half speed, I put it on my iPod, kept it on repeat in my car, and sang along. That really helped me get a good feel for the time and articulation.

The solo was, of course, originally played on trumpet, but it is playable on tenor in one of two ways.
1. In measure 20, beginning on the E on beat 2, play the rest of that phrase up an octave, and then play the rest of the solo as written.
2. For a good altissimo workout, play the entire solo up an octave. This is what I did and it doesn’t get too crazy/awkward aside from measures 16 and 17.
3. Trumpet players – Please forgive me if there any idiomatic trumpet devices (half-valves, etc.) that I didn’t notate. If you see/hear anything like that, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll make any necessary changes.


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Happy Birthday, John Coltrane!


Photo – An Original Adolphe Sax Tenor Saxophone



This is a photo of an original Adolphe Sax tenor saxophone that I took at the Museu de la Música in Barcelona, Spain. It’s the first time I’ve gotten to see one of these up close and it was really interesting to see how the saxophone has evolved over the last 170 years.

Here are some of the things that make this horn different from the ones we play today:

  • This instrument is keyed from low B to high F – if you look, you’ll see that the bell is shorter than a modern saxophone.
  • There is no bis key. You could only play side Bb or 1+1 Bb.
  • There is no front F key. This would probably make for an awkward transition from the standard range of the instrument into the altissimo.
  • There are no rollers on the pinky keys for the left or right hand. This would have made transitions between certain intervals nearly impossible.
  • There is no side F# key.
  • You can’t see it on the tenor, but if you look at the alto next to it, you’ll see that it has two separate octave keys. Originally, saxophones didn’t have the automatic octave mechanism that we rely on today. Pitches from D to G# would be play using the first octave key and pitch from A upward would require the 2nd octave key.

While the modern instruments we play today are different in a number of ways that the original instrument designed by Adolphe Sax, it is clear that Sax’s conception was complete. The added keys and features, such as rollers, have primarily aimed to improve facility and/or ergonomics.

I can’t overstate what an incredible experience it was to see these instruments. It felt like a homecoming of sorts and helped to create a visceral connection between the horns I play and their origin.

Free Stuff!













Everybody likes free stuff, right? Just wanted to let you know that I’ve added a few free exercises to the Student Resources page. Just scroll down until you get to the section labeled Free Exercises. Click on the links to download any of the exercises. That is all. Enjoy!

Product Review: Rico Reed Vitalizer Case











About a month ago, I received a Rico Reed Vitalizer Case in the mail. I had given the folks at Rico Reeds some feedback about one of their products and they sent the case as a thank you gift for my input.

For a long time now, I have been a throw-the-reed-on-the-mouthpiece-and-leave-it-there-kind-of-guy. I decided to give this reed case a try to see what would happen.

Based on my experiences over the last month, here’s a description of some pros and cons.



  • The case can hold up to 8 reeds and there are numbered slots to help keep track of them.
  • The case can hold any size reed from Eb clarinet to baritone saxophone.
  • The design is compact and would easily fit in just about any case.
  • The humidity pack that goes in the case has kept my reeds in good playable condition. I just wet them a little bit and I’m ready to go.
  • None of the reeds I’ve kept in the case have warped at all.
  • The case comes with stickers to help keep up with which reed case goes with which instrument.



  • The numbers for each slot are the same color (black) as the rest of the case and can be hard to see especially in low light (backstage/onstage) situations. I will probably use my label maker to make some stickers that have some contrast.
  • The spot on the case for the instrument sticker is on the bottom. I would prefer it to be on the top, but that’s not a big deal. If you only play one instrument, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.
  • Having this case means that you’ll have to regularly purchase the humidity packets (Reed Vitalizer Packs). They recommend changing them every 45-60 days. It would be a yearly expense of probably $35-$45 depending on where you buy the packs.


Having put that all out there, I can tell you that I would definitely recommend the Rico Reed Vitalizer Case to anyone looking for a reed storage solution. My reeds have been in better condition and have all lasted much longer than they previously did. I was a little put off at first with the idea of having to buy humidity packs on a regular basis, but it looks like keeping my reeds in this case will actually save me money in the long term.

I am using one case now for my tenor reeds and I just bought another one to use for bari and bass clarinet reeds. Thanks for putting out a great product Rico!


DISCLAIMER: I am not a Rico Reeds Artist and do not have any affiliation with them.