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I'm a first year music student, assigned to my first transcription, and frankly i'm a little scared. I get to pick the tune, which does help but could use some suggestions. I'm currently looking at doing cannball's solo off of cannonball & coltrane, stars fell on alabama, but would love some other suggestions.
 

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As an alto player Johnny Hodges was my first real start. Of course, I aborted many Cannonball, Kenny Garrett, and Phil Woods solos before I wised up and worked on some Johnny Hodges. It's not flashy, but it's good early ear training and he can structure a solo around simple motives.
 

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I go with Hodges too.
 

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What about some Lester Young like Lester leaps In. Or some Coleman Hawkins like Body and Soul. Classic tunes by some early masters AND not complex compared to a lot of "modern" stuff. Transcribing one of these (by ear) will get a foundational tune under your fingers and in your ears from which you can build a vocabulary.
 

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All Good IMO
 

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How about a medium/slow tempo anything by Sonny Stitt or Hank Mobley. Very inside stuff. The harmonic vernaculars used will actually be something you could conceptualize and incorporate. IF your looking for something more contemporary, Mike Brecker's (actually the piano players tune) "Midnight Voyage" is a great track to transcribe because they rarely play anything faster than an eighth note the whole time (rare for brecker bands).
 

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Miles on a blues from the 1950s. Freddie Freeloader is good, for example. Miles' time was so good and he played with a natural economy of line & idea.
 

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If you are an alto player, pick up an Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson cd or a Louis Jordan cd.

Both play a lot of blues, and have some short 1-2 chorus solos that would make great 1st transcriptions. If you are a tenor guy, get a lester young cd.

The Watermelon man solo is a great one if you play it on alto. On tenor, there is an altissimo "G" which may be frustrating if you aren't playing in the altissimo register yet.
 
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