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Discussion Starter #1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6DyIgKmilU

As I watch and listen, I'm wondering a few things.

What is he doing here?

What kind of thoughts are going through his head?

Is he playing scales, licks, meandering, or a combination? And how much of this is pre-planned?

I also wonder if anyone ever attempted a transcription of this solo.

If anybody has insights into this kind of playing, I'd love to hear them! Myself, I can't begin to fathom what it takes to play this way. Thanks.
 

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He is a great player. I would say he has learned so many licks of his own and others to the point where he doesn't need to think about to much. I think he hears it and plays it. If you want an insight as to what it takes to get bebop lines flowing like that you should really check out Steve Neff's Mastering the Bebop Dominant Scale. I'm not saying that you will magically be playing bop tunes at burning tempos if you get his book but If you devote some serious time to it, I,m talking months years, you can get there. I'm not there yet but I'm a lot closer than I used to be and the best thing is I can hear bop lines so much better which in turn is making me hear everything better. I use to see vids like this and think I will never be able to play like that. Now I can honestly say that I will be able to play like that one day. It is within reach if you practice the right way.
 

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I just would like to add that doing things like using the bebop scale instead of the dominant scale is a good start. Also learning to put chord tones on down beats and being able to play through the scales and turn on any note is crucial. It is a mix of scale fragments and licks. Once you have say 20 licks that you can play through the cycle at 160 bpm from memory you will be well on your way to doing your own version of burning bebop lines.
 

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Playing in Buddy Rich's band every night for a long time didn't hurt. :)
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Just a side comment about the arrangement...

I played that EXACT arrangement in college .... at that speed. If I remember correctly it was "whole note = 120" (or something insane like that) and there was these 16th note licks that we worked our butts off on - and listening back to the recording today they sound awesome - but I remember playing it and thinking - this is like having a seizure with a saxophone in my hands.

We had these 2 MONSTER players in the band that split up his solo section. Playing that tune in an 1800 person hall (packed) is one of my favorite performance memories. If I get a chance I will upload it and share - but regardless ...... GREAT TUNE - GREAT PLAYER - thanks for sharing!!!

Charlie
 

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Wow that is some great playing from Don Menza - I've been an admirer of his for decades. Thanks for sharing!
 

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Obviously, he didn't make up all those patterns on the spot, but that's beside the point of how awesome an improviser he is. A lesson in this is how effortlessly (sounding) he handles the bridge section at that tempo. To burn, swing, and cook at a tempo like that, definitely comes from a lot of time in the woodshed polishing his technique, tone, and approach...and no doubt his roots run deep.

If you liked Cherokee, you should check his ballad playing on I think of You from this same date...beautiful!!! He really sings through the horn on that...and what great intonation!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZVFzILBS60

Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm glad you enjoyed the video, but I do want to give credit to kjetil_bari for turning me on to it. I did a post last year about "how to play fast" and he offered up this vid for inspiration!

The thing that strikes me most is his tonguing. Every now and then you can hear it sneak in there amidst the slurring and coordinate perfectly with his flying fingers.
 

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Just a side comment about the arrangement...

I played that EXACT arrangement in college .... at that speed. If I remember correctly it was "whole note = 120" (or something insane like that) and there was these 16th note licks that we worked our butts off on - and listening back to the recording today they sound awesome - but I remember playing it and thinking - this is like having a seizure with a saxophone in my hands.

We had these 2 MONSTER players in the band that split up his solo section. Playing that tune in an 1800 person hall (packed) is one of my favorite performance memories. If I get a chance I will upload it and share - but regardless ...... GREAT TUNE - GREAT PLAYER - thanks for sharing!!!

Charlie
When I was in college we did this arrangement of Easy to Love that was basically a Cannonball Adderley solo voiced for 5 saxes. Kind of like Supersax. Tempo marking was "as fast as possible" which ended up being around 350.

Here's a clip of Cannon's solo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMnt3lqh8Eg

EDIT: Here's a clip of the DePaul jazz band playing the arrangement "under tempo" at only 300.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RZQi_MmnVA
 
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