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Seems that most of my practice time (for the last four years or so at least ) goes on copying stuff by ear.

Rightly or wrongly, that’s what I’ve been doing; this approach certainly has lots of positives but I need to be more focused in the way I do it. That’s not my point here though.

I want to ask about people’s experiences copying trumpet players and singers on sax. It’s an open question, I guess: any thoughts, experiences, or tips?

In my own case I feel that starting to copy other sax players by ear (around 1998, I think, for me) was a big moment in my playing, but I’ve still got a long way to go with it (I had a long lay off from around 2002 - 2016).

I like dexter Gordon and Lester Young’s emphasis on knowing the words of songs, and try to do this - copying the melody from singers, as well as later sax versions.

With regards to trumpet, I’ve often thought that trumpet players play these really strong and clear lines - I’m thinking in particulate of Roy Eldridge on some Benny carter records, and Miles on his pre sixties recordings - things like, ‘Solar.’ I think as sax players we could learn a lot from copying trumpet solos. I wonder in terms of register, is trumpet closer to alto or tenor ? (sorry, to lazy to google this).

Finally I was listening to BB King today, singing the thrill is gone, and thought - damn, I could do a lot worse than copying his voice and guitar on sax.

Any thoughts?
 

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I think transcribing Miles solos is a grand idea, especially considering that he was a master improviser.
Listening to masterful singing of standards can't hurt either. I actually like the songs---and the verses.

Listening to Ella's songbook recordings is a real eyeopener, since she sings them fairly straight.
 

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I think listening to singers is very instructive in different ways to phrase, especially ballads, especially Ella, Sarah, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae. Maybe Sinatra, probably Tony Bennett.
 

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Trumpet for sure. . The time feel can lock you in a bit tighter, and give focus.

I like Chet Baker on the Mulligan quartet records with Chico Hamilton. Any of those are gems.

Same goes for- Miles solo on " So What".

Clifford Brown is a master of using enclosures to emphasize goal notes. That's a course in it's self.

Of course the piano solo on " Freddy The Freeloader"...How could you not get a life of ideas there?

The trumpet and vocal styles of Louis Armstrong on the " Ella and Louis"...record are a must. His solos there are something to gain a world of skill and knowledge from.

There's a few of my favorites, have fun.
 

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I used to like playing along with R&B and Soul artists like Aretha Franklin and learning what she does with the melodies; the phrasing and ornamentation is a great launching pad for improvising around the melody.
 

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It's all fair game and useful. Piano players, bass lines, trumpets, singers, guitarists, you name it. There's plenty to learn from good musicians no matter the instrument. Music is music. Obviously in terms of tone quality and certain sound qualities, you'll get more from other players on your particular instrument, but beyond that you can pick up a lot of musical ideas from other instrumentalists.
 

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All good points Tim and I thought about how I wanted to respond and it’s a bit personal because the topic brought up memories of a teacher and friend who is no longer with us. Sayyd Abdul Al-Khabyyr was Dizzy’s frontline woodwind player when he toured Cuba in the mid to late 80s and just an all around brilliant player. A great and enthusiastic teacher and friend. Here he is locking horns with Diz and Sandoval...


Trumpet for sure. . The time feel can lock you in a bit tighter, and give focus.

I like Chet Baker on the Mulligan quartet records with Chico Hamilton. Any of those are gems.

Same goes for- Miles solo on " So What".

Clifford Brown is a master of using enclosures to emphasize goal notes. That's a course in it's self.

Of course the piano solo on " Freddy The Freeloader"...How could you not get a life of ideas there?

The trumpet and vocal styles of Louis Armstrong on the " Ella and Louis"...record are a must. His solos there are something to gain a world of skill and knowledge from.

There's a few of my favorites, have fun.
 

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I love trumpet and also think that everything you listen too can inspire your own playing, independent of what type of instrument it is.

Roy Eldridge is for instance an inspiration for me in how he builds up his solo's and the fire/sparkle in his playing.
 
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