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Hello SOTW!

My name is Joe Graziosi and I found this website while hunting down a mouthpiece. I'm excited that the mouthpiece search led me here because this is a fantastic resource and a seemingly good group of people.

Anyway, I wanted to share a practice project that I just finished with anyone who is interested and may want to try something similar. I have taken one of my favorite albums of all-time, Hank Mobley's "Soul Station", and learned each of the tracks in all 12 keys. My original focus was to learn how to play the sax more melodically to stop relying on my technique so much, and also to get a good workout in those awkward keys. I can say that this project was sometimes daunting, but certainly worth it now that keys like Db, B, F#, etc. feel much more familiar.

Here is the link to the first track, "Remember." You can access the playlist to watch all 6 videos from there.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KtRNfzPtdEQ

I hope you enjoy the videos!
 

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Wow, nice playing and a very impressive feat! You certainly picked a great album to study. As you can probably tell from my icon, Hank is my favorite.

Any tips on your method of transcribing and transposing you'd care to share?

And welcome to SOTW, Joe.
 

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Very inspiring! Keep up the good work! :cheers:
 

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Hello SOTW!

My name is Joe Graziosi and I found this website while hunting down a mouthpiece. I'm excited that the mouthpiece search led me here because this is a fantastic resource and a seemingly good group of people.

Anyway, I wanted to share a practice project that I just finished with anyone who is interested and may want to try something similar. I have taken one of my favorite albums of all-time, Hank Mobley's "Soul Station", and learned each of the tracks in all 12 keys. My original focus was to learn how to play the sax more melodically to stop relying on my technique so much, and also to get a good workout in those awkward keys. I can say that this project was sometimes daunting, but certainly worth it now that keys like Db, B, F#, etc. feel much more familiar.

Here is the link to the first track, "Remember." You can access the playlist to watch all 6 videos from there.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KtRNfzPtdEQ

I hope you enjoy the videos!
Wow, Can I ask how long that took you to do? Were you focused on it 100% of the time you played each day?
 

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Joe-

Holy smokes ...... Nice work! I have also transcribed all six solos from "Soul Station", but can't even IMAGINE taking each through all 12 keys..... You are a warrior!!!

Hope you got a Masters Degree out of this project! :)
 

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Hi Joe, This is such an amazing project. Congratulations. Soul Station happens to my favourite jazz album, and Mobley my favourite tenor-player. I just want to ask, did you memorize the solos so well that you can play them by heart in all keys, or did you write them down? Both would be amazing, but particularly internalizing it "by heart". This must have taken a bit of time... :)
Excellent stuff - congratulations again.
Bjorn
 

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...did you memorize the solos so well that you can play them by heart in all keys, or did you write them down?...
Ok, found the answer on youtube "This solo was learned by ear without the aid of sheet music and was learned 8 bars at a time through the circle of 4ths."
Really impressive - great method... must have been such a great "course" in bop/hardbop/blues and melodic playing...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi everybody,

Wow! Thanks for the messages! While doing this, I was wondering if anyone would even find this interesting/useful! Thanks for validating the past few years of my life haha.

To answer some questions,

- I learned each head and solo in the original key by ear first. I've put them all into Finale much later, but that was only so I'd have a physical copy for my own use, whatever that may be. When I would take it through all 12 keys, I took the solo 8 bars at a time (or 12 in the case of a blues), and worked those melodies through the circle of 4ths. It was a challenge the first few times I did it, but as time went on my brain started to turn all of the lines into numbers and shapes. The combination of my brain translating that information along with the intuition of my ears made it possible to start to really understand each melody to the familiarity of the original key.

- This entire project took roughly 180 hours. I started three years ago by learning each solo 1-6 in all 12. Then I decided that doing a video series would be a cool challenge, so I relearned the solos in the backward order and recorded them as I went along. I'll admit, I could have been a bit more diligent to get the project done faster, but playing in F# all the time takes its toll on your morale! Lol. Also, no this didn't take up 100% of my practice. I follow a practice strategy that focuses daily time on 4 different areas: Warmup/Technique, Artist Focus (this study), Improvisation, and Repertoire. So this study basically gets between 45mins - 1 hour per day.

- I believe that as long as you can sing the solo from memory (and you have a decent understanding of your horn), you can probably get through most of the solo just using your musical intuition and understanding of the harmony of the tune. With that being said, if you asked me to play "Dig Dis" in B right now, I could probably play the whole solo from memory, but would probably need to refocus on the double time licks near the end. All of the double time stuff was the most difficult part of this study, probably due to a combination of more material to memorize and execute, fast lines through awkward keys, and user error because of my own poor technique! Haha!

Anyway, I highly recommend this sort of study to anyone who is a bit unsure of how to workout in those awkward keys. I used "Amazing Slow Downer" to learn the solo and transpose it to play along in each key.

Mr. Neff, I must thank you for your blog and mouthpiece reviews! Your entry on the Barone SNY gave me all I needed to read to give it a try. I'm happy to say that I'm a proud new owner of one thanks to your review!
 

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I have been transcribing a bit this summer- so painstaking for me- but I KNOW I have to do it to grow as a player (that and memorizing tunes). You must have also developed the character trait of patience a lot as a result of this project- a skill in and of itself.
 

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Hi everybody,

Wow! Thanks for the messages! While doing this, I was wondering if anyone would even find this interesting/useful! Thanks for validating the past few years of my life haha.

To answer some questions,

- I learned each head and solo in the original key by ear first. I've put them all into Finale much later, but that was only so I'd have a physical copy for my own use, whatever that may be. When I would take it through all 12 keys, I took the solo 8 bars at a time (or 12 in the case of a blues), and worked those melodies through the circle of 4ths. It was a challenge the first few times I did it, but as time went on my brain started to turn all of the lines into numbers and shapes. The combination of my brain translating that information along with the intuition of my ears made it possible to start to really understand each melody to the familiarity of the original key.

- This entire project took roughly 180 hours. I started three years ago by learning each solo 1-6 in all 12. Then I decided that doing a video series would be a cool challenge, so I relearned the solos in the backward order and recorded them as I went along. I'll admit, I could have been a bit more diligent to get the project done faster, but playing in F# all the time takes its toll on your morale! Lol. Also, no this didn't take up 100% of my practice. I follow a practice strategy that focuses daily time on 4 different areas: Warmup/Technique, Artist Focus (this study), Improvisation, and Repertoire. So this study basically gets between 45mins - 1 hour per day.

- I believe that as long as you can sing the solo from memory (and you have a decent understanding of your horn), you can probably get through most of the solo just using your musical intuition and understanding of the harmony of the tune. With that being said, if you asked me to play "Dig Dis" in B right now, I could probably play the whole solo from memory, but would probably need to refocus on the double time licks near the end. All of the double time stuff was the most difficult part of this study, probably due to a combination of more material to memorize and execute, fast lines through awkward keys, and user error because of my own poor technique! Haha!

Anyway, I highly recommend this sort of study to anyone who is a bit unsure of how to workout in those awkward keys. I used "Amazing Slow Downer" to learn the solo and transpose it to play along in each key.

Mr. Neff, I must thank you for your blog and mouthpiece reviews! Your entry on the Barone SNY gave me all I needed to read to give it a try. I'm happy to say that I'm a proud new owner of one thanks to your review!
Interesting! Thanks. I'm interested in what benefits and improvements you have seen in your improv and playing since before the project until afterward?
 
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