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I don't do much transcribing any more, but its time to transcribe something new to get out of my current rut.

I'm look for good some tenor sax solo transcription ideas for myself. Hopefully something that has made a real difference in your own development. Getz, Trane, Lovano, Rollins, Henderson, Brecker, someone younger, etc.or maybe someone I don't even know. whatcha got? Thanks.
 

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One of the projects I did in my youth that really opened things up for me in terms of ears, technique, facility, comfort, and intuition while improvising was to take a couple short Kenny Garrett solos and learn them in all twelve keys. One I did that with was "There Will Never Be Another You" from Woody Shaw's "Solid" album (which is an excellent album that everyone should check out regardless of transcribing). Kenny's playing in that period has such a beautiful balance of "inside" and "outside" concepts, and I learned a ton from that process.

More recently, I've been doing the same thing with Bud Powell heads: "Wail," "Celia," etc. Incredibly good vocabulary, and if you learn enough bebop heads in all the keys, well... you'll probably be able to play. Bud's heads in particular are, to my ears, like perfectly constructed improvisations.

I've been transcribing more piano solos than saxophone solos for the last few years (I'm also a pianist) and every time I learn a solo by Kenny Kirkland or Bill Evans, I grow as a musician. Some of the most brilliant minds of this music have been pianists. Way worth exploring for everyone, including saxophonists!
 

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I've been doing a bunch of Max Ionata transcriptions over the past year or so, but I don't really think it matters what you transcribe.

There's a few distinct approaches to transcription, one of which is to use it to do formal analyses of what a particular player plays over such and such chord progression. That can sometimes be useful, especially when you're learning a tune and you're stuck on ideas for a particular section, but that's not how I generally transcribe.

Mostly, I'll just find solos I like by "tasty" but not necessarily "blazing" players (e.g., think people like Max Ionata, Bob Mintzer, Hank Mobley, or Dexter, rather than, say Chris Potter or Michael Brecker) and focus on language, inflections, and training my ear, rather than on picking up licks or anything like that. Just to be clear, I like those "blazing" players, I just don't tend to transcribe their solos.

As I've mentioned elsewhere here, I don't typically write down my "transcriptions", and I think that most of what I pick up (in addition to ear training) are things that are somewhat intangible: subtleties of inflections and tone manipulation, how to construct and connect phrases, etc., rather than any sort of formal rules or heuristics for improvising.
 

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One of the projects I did in my youth that really opened things up for me in terms of ears, technique, facility, comfort, and intuition while improvising was to take a couple short Kenny Garrett solos and learn them in all twelve keys. One I did that with was "There Will Never Be Another You" from Woody Shaw's "Solid" album (which is an excellent album that everyone should check out regardless of transcribing). Kenny's playing in that period has such a beautiful balance of "inside" and "outside" concepts, and I learned a ton from that process.

More recently, I've been doing the same thing with Bud Powell heads: "Wail," "Celia," etc. Incredibly good vocabulary, and if you learn enough bebop heads in all the keys, well... you'll probably be able to play. Bud's heads in particular are, to my ears, like perfectly constructed improvisations.

I've been transcribing more piano solos than saxophone solos for the last few years (I'm also a pianist) and every time I learn a solo by Kenny Kirkland or Bill Evans, I grow as a musician. Some of the most brilliant minds of this music have been pianists. Way worth exploring for everyone, including saxophonists!
It's crazy that you mentioned Solid and that tune in particular. Huge influence on me back in the day.

Another is Blue 7 by Sonny Rollins. Being a blues it makes it really easy to grasp what he's doing. But, there is a ton to be learned from his thematic approach and the way he plays time.

My other is one I can't remember the title of. I found this early Brekcer recording of him playing live with some blues band. His approach blew my mind and I wore out the cassette. Sorry I can't remember what it was but it was KILLER.
 

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I would love to hear that Brecker recording! If you ever do find it, please post a link. Brecker playing the blues is special stuff.

"Solid" is an extremely good record, for sure, and I did a similar exercise on one of Kenny's solos from "Double Take," the Woody Shaw/Freddie Hubbard album. Any time Kenny's playing with Mulgrew Miller or Kenny Kirkland, I'm all in.
 

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I maybe considered a mouldy fig, but learning some Lester Young solos and a few Charlie Parker solos are what opened my mind to improvisation. Throw in a couple of solos by the Sonny's (Stitt and Rollins) and voila, a mouldy fig.
 

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I don't do much transcribing any more, but its time to transcribe something new to get out of my current rut.

I'm look for good some tenor sax solo transcription ideas for myself. Hopefully something that has made a real difference in your own development. Getz, Trane, Lovano, Rollins, Henderson, Brecker, someone younger, etc.or maybe someone I don't even know. whatcha got? Thanks.
This:

 

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Max Ionata, But Not For Me

It's absolutely beautiful playing. Fantastic tone, time and technique. IMHO one of the best bebop solos ever played. It's got all the language beautifully laid out and he explores wonderful rhythmic concepts, altissimo and outside playing. The development and arc of the solo is genius.
 

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Max Ionata, But Not For Me

It's absolutely beautiful playing. Fantastic tone, time and technique. IMHO one of the best bebop solos ever played. It's got all the language beautifully laid out and he explores wonderful rhythmic concepts, altissimo and outside playing. The development and arc of the solo is genius.
Very interesting. I've never heard of him but he sounds heavily influenced by Sonny Rollins. Maybe it's just me, but I heard a lot of Sonny Rollins in his playing.
 

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I'm not an advanced player by any stretch of the imagination, but one Tenor solo I've always loved is Stanley's solo on Tiny Capers.

 

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I've learnt so much from every solo I've transcribed so it's hard to say. There were a few I did early on when I would transcribe (literally) and not memorise, which I didn't get quite so much out of. I don't know if others find the same but for me repeatedly playing the solo (from memory) really helps... I feel like it helps you absorb the music into your subconcious.

I've never transcribed anything too adventurous, but I learnt a lot from:
Sonny on Tenor Madness, But not for me and a couple of other early solos.
Coltrane My Shining Hour
Konitz on Billie's Bounce
And lots of Lester Young (Lady be Good and a few other classics)

More recently, I've been doing the same thing with Bud Powell heads: "Wail," "Celia," etc. Incredibly good vocabulary, and if you learn enough bebop heads in all the keys, well... you'll probably be able to play. Bud's heads in particular are, to my ears, like perfectly constructed improvisations.
I've been learning Bird heads in 12 keys recently and it's been so helpful. I love Bud Powell...maybe that can be my next project, thanks for the inspiration!
 

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I don't do much transcribing any more, but its time to transcribe something new to get out of my current rut.

I'm look for good some tenor sax solo transcription ideas for myself. Hopefully something that has made a real difference in your own development. Getz, Trane, Lovano, Rollins, Henderson, Brecker, someone younger, etc.or maybe someone I don't even know. whatcha got? Thanks.
I think you have to know where you want to go next to get out of the perceived rut you're in .

The guys you listed were self directed .. they followed what they were attracted to
and the playing develops/evolves from that basis .

What area or concept of playing do I want to pursue ? Who and/or what is inspiring me ?

Sorry if this doesn't address what you're asking, but I think it's worth mentioning .
At an 'advanced' stage I think it matters more what you want to delve into .
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think you have to know where you want to go next to get out of the perceived rut you're in .

The guys you listed were self directed .. they followed what they were attracted to
and the playing develops/evolves from that basis .

What area or concept of playing do I want to pursue ? Who and/or what is inspiring me ?

Sorry if this doesn't address what you're asking, but I think it's worth mentioning .
At an 'advanced' stage I think it matters more what you want to delve into .
I look for solos and playing that channels good cosmic energy flow.
Here's something i did a bunch of years ago that I'm still obsessed with and study. This is incredible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
I think you have to know where you want to go next to get out of the perceived rut you're in .

The guys you listed were self directed .. they followed what they were attracted to
and the playing develops/evolves from that basis .

What area or concept of playing do I want to pursue ? Who and/or what is inspiring me ?

Sorry if this doesn't address what you're asking, but I think it's worth mentioning .
At an 'advanced' stage I think it matters more what you want to delve into .
I mean the idea of where do I want to go is strange. I want to go somewhere that makes me happy. I want to go somewhere inspiring and beautiful. I'm not in too much of a rut. I'm actually considering buying some sort of pdf instruction book or books, which I haven't done in many many years, but probably not because I ALWAYS wind up finding them extremely tedious and I end up selling them or giving them away, and just wind up transcribing small tidbits of something that catches my ear or on rate occasions an entire solo. Michael Brecker also told me he never really transcribed entire solos, but picked particular 4-8 bar phrases out of solos.

I think this is probably what I'm gonna do next. I'm rapidly becoming obsessed with this Sonny Rollins performance. Listen to this, it's incredible.
 

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Wow, Max Ionata is a new discovery. Also, kinda different playing from Steve Grossman on Easy To Love. More like Dex. Previously I've heard him play in a lighter style, sounding more like an alto sax.
 
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