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Discussion Starter #1
Hi :D
I'm new to jazz and improvisation and decided to start transcribing solos, the only thing everyone seems to agree on. So.... I'm looking for simpler solos to start off on so I don't get too frustrated... Any suggestions?
 

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My first solo was frank wess his solo on silk and satins, it's short and very clear.
 

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something you can sing , a short frase or even a solo by chet baker anything YOU! like (because in the end you want to sound like you and not like anyone else). Get yourself the "amazing slowdowner".
 

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you should check out some lester young, or some of the earlier cats. i wish someone put me on to that stuff when i was first starting out...
 

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The melodic phrases I'm hearing on the can't wait for perfect CD by Bob Reynolds would be fairly easy to cop. Good place to start? K
 

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Transcribe something you like...short cliches or licks you hear in other people's playing. Start with a bar or two, but START!
 

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Transcribe something you like...short cliches or licks you hear in other people's playing. Start with a bar or two, but START!
Yeah. Yup. What he said.

Start small, with phrases that you hear that really grab you. You would transcribe it not because it's something "good for you" that you "should" do -- you transcribe it 'cuz it's such a damn good lick or phrase that you gotta have it, and you're not gonna get it any other way...

Don't bother transcribing anything unless it REALLY grabs you and intrigues you...
 

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How about Dexter Gordons solo on Watermelon Man from Herbie Hancocks CD Cantaloupe Island? That's a good one. Not super hard but melodic and groovin'. Very bluesy.

A great first transcription. Lots of space between notes, says each change very clearly. +1 for this
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay, thanks for all your suggestions, and also, as a sax player is it enough to transcribe the saxophone melodies/solos, or should I figure out the bass lines and the piano chords?
 

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Transcribe Bird as soon as possible.

A very high level of ear food that'll give inspiration for any direction you'd want to head into.

As for my own experiences, the first solo I transcribed was Miles Davis' If I Were A Bell... I played Trumpet in the 7th grade. So Miles, Clifford (Joy Spring), and Woody Shaw (The Moontrane) were some things I was into then. Then I asked my Trumpet teacher at the time about this Charlie Parker guy that was on the records with Miles that I liked. He brought the Omnibook and copied out solos like Thrivin' On A Riff and Cheryl. So I started learning Bird on the trumpet, playing along with the recordings.

8-9 or so years later, I finally bought a Sax.
 

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Transcribe Bird as soon as possible.

A very high level of ear food that'll give inspiration for any direction you'd want to head into.
This probably isn't the best to start out with, but it will be essential for jazz playing. you can always buy an amni book to check your transcriptions
 

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Ever listen to something and then immediately think "Oh my god, that was the effin' coolest thing I've ever heard in my life! I wish I could play that."? That's the stuff you should transcribe! It doesn't even have to be sax players and solos, it could be piano, trumpet, guitar, anything. Anything that catches your ear. It's true that the more pro sax players you transcribe, the better your tone will get (obviously there's some long tones involved there too), but that doesn't make it the most important thing. Transcribing things that catch YOUR ear will help you develop your own style! Which is pretty freakin' cool if you ask me.
 

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+1 for transcribing stuff that grabs you. After all, if it's a question of developing your own 'voice', part of that is building a collection of bits and pieces of playing that really speak to you.

But I've also really appreciated being given solos to transcribe by teachers, because they've been things outside of my own experience or taste and they've broadened my horizons.

I got a lot out of transcribing stuff from 'Soul Station' by Hank Mobley. I also found Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins to be quite accessible and instructive in general. (I play alto, but almost all my transcriptions have been of tenor players...)
 

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Okay, thanks for all your suggestions, and also, as a sax player is it enough to transcribe the saxophone melodies/solos, or should I figure out the bass lines and the piano chords?
Transcribing piano chords is really really hard but you could try to transcribe the bassline
 

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you should check out some lester young, or some of the earlier cats. i wish someone put me on to that stuff when i was first starting out...
I would start with Oh, Lady be Good by Lester, a recording with Count Basie from 1936. It's a famous solo, many people play it and you will even find it on some Lee Konitz (TenorLee) and Warne Marsh (duo with Red Mitchell) recordings. I suggest that you use the Amazing Slow Downer or Transcribe and play it with the recording at 50%. The best way would be that you first learn to sing it, than play it and than write it down.
 
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