A beautiful tune by our keyboard player, Brian Triola.
It’s time to wrap this series up and put a bow on it. Rounding out Dexter Gordon’s GO! album is “Three O’Clock In The Morning.” The song was written by Spanish-Argentinian composer Julián Robledo in 1919 and was popularized in the United States by Paul Whiteman in 1922. The song has been recorded numerous times by artists ranging from Harry James to Lou Rawls (my 2nd favorite version next to Dexter’s). Although the song was originally written as a waltz in three-four time, nowadays it’s typically played in four-four.
In Dexter’s recording, it begins with the piano quoting the chimes of London’s Big Ben clock. Many listeners, myself included, would think this is a nod to the intro of “If I Were A Bell” from Miles Davis’ Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet album (recorded 1956, released 1958). Both recordings use the Big Ben motif, but the 1922 Paul Whiteman recording also does.
When Dexter enters with the melody, the rhythm section is playing in two. On the second half of the tune, the rhythm section switches to playing in four and they stay there through until Dexter restates the second half of the melody at the end.
I don’t have a lot to say about Dexter’s solo. It is a textbook example of his playing. There are musical quotes, strong bebop vocabulary, he’s playing behind the beat, and most of the notes are tongued.
I hope you have enjoyed this series on Dexter Gordon’s GO! album. I learned and then wrote out these solos a few years ago. It’s been nice to revisit them and to share them with you.
Currently, I am learning John Coltrane’s solo on “Tenor Madness.” I’m in the early stages of that and it will be a while before I write it down.
In other news, a new EP titled shä brē el by Las Vegas artist Sabriel (The title is her name spelled phonetically.) is set for release next week. I played tenor saxophone on it and wrote the horn arrangement for the song “Garden.” It’s definitely worth a listen (or many!).
Head and 1st Solo
2nd Solo, Head, and Vamp
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?”
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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:
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!