Transcribed: Lester Young – Pound Cake

Here’s a transcription I did of some classic Lester Young. Pound Cake is a blues in the key of G (A for the tenor saxophone) and Lester plays two choruses. This solo would be good for use with students who are getting started with transcribing solos. It all falls within a comfortable range on the horn and, rhythmically, it’s pretty straight forward.

I learned this solo about two months ago, but only wrote it down tonight. When I was younger and working on transcriptions, I would listen to the recording, figure out a note or two, write it down in a notebook, and rinse and repeat until I got through the solo. After that was done, then I’d work on playing it. I did make progress using this method, but as time went on, I felt like it was a little too narrow and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.

With this solo, and the ones I’ve worked on since, I’ve taken great care to listen to the recording a lot and sing along with the entire solo. After I can sing along with the solo, I begin learning it on the horn. With all of the prep work, listening and singing, learning the solo on the horn comes much more quickly than my old method. I’m not too focused on writing the solos down right now, but thought I would write this one out since I haven’t posted a transcription for a while. Hope you enjoy it.

UPDATE: I had originally credited Lester Young with three choruses for this solo. I have learned from several sources that he only played the first two. According to the personnel of that recording, it appears that Buddy Tate played the 3rd chorus.

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