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Discussion Starter #1
Question for the group:

I have been asked to play for a semi-local band's "Tribute to Woodstock" concert.

Every other tune I'm pretty much just playing chord tone kicks and unison lines with trumpet.

They would like me to "go nuts" over the "I get by with a lilttle help from my friends" tune.

Concert A (so, the land of B for tenor).

Give me some thoughts on scale, etc. for this "wailing."

Do you like the blues scale for this tune, or maybe just the pentatonic, or the major scale, what's your favorite?

The gig is Saturday the 17th, so nothing TOO fancy, hahaha.

I'm not used to playing in "A" so ideas are welcome.

Thanks.
 

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Honestly, for that tune, you could play a very convincing solo with nothing but A-blues ideas (B on your tenor). And I don't mean high school jazz band "B minor blues scale!", I mean actual ideas and phrases, a la Albert King, or whatever... pentatonic sensibilities with some "blue" chromatic tones thrown in (both major and minor 3rds, both flat and natural 5ths, etc). That song has some cool harmony in it, but as a soloist, as long as your sound and rhythmic ideas are confident and strong, you don't need a whole lot in terms of a note menu.
 

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Verses are A, E and Bm, and choruses are G, D and A (concert key). I'm guessing that they want you to wail mostly on the choruses, since the verses are a bit quieter. Check out and play along with the version from Mad Dogs & Englishmen on YouTube. No horn solos, but I would listen to what the lead guitar(s) are doing in the last three minutes. Nothing too fancy, but some sustained "blue" notes - b3, b5 and b7 that flow together nicely, but also a lot of descending major triads. Don't have my horn in front of me, but the predominant line seems to be G - D - B, F# - D - A, C#, or perhaps the harmony of B - G - D, A - F# - D, E. I would emphasize the blue notes and play more licks on the last chord of each phrase since you have two bars there. YMMV.
 

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Whose version will you be playing? A LOT of acts have performed and recorded that song. Joe Cocker appeared at Woodstock and performed that song, so I'd guess that the band will be playing his version. Learn his version (any rendition--- listen to the vocals) really well. You can play the melody funky and bluesy, then at the chorus (Do You Need Anybody?) pull a Brecker high note and a blues based REALLY fast run to fill the space.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Awesome feedback!

There will be singers, so, I won't be called on to me the melody, just fills and general fun during the repeated chorus at the end.

I've been plugging myself into the Cocker version, but I'll definitely check out any other recordings.

I don't want to sound like "jazz guy takes a rock solo," so, yes, was mainly thinking licks and blues scales.

Haven't done a pop/rock gig in forever, so I'm just trying to get my head into it. I've been mainly "dinner jazz" and laid back for the last few years, but it's always, ALWAYS, good to get out of the rut/comfort zone in our playing.

Keep the suggestions coming, it's super helpful.
 
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