Solo Transcriptions

Bob Mintzer's EWI Solo on "Clair's Song"

This is a really awesome solo from Bob Mintzer playing live with the Yellowjackets in 1993. My source for this is a YouTube video posted by Bret "Jazz Video Guy" Primack. Content-wise, you could technically call this "bland arena jazz," but that doesn't make it any less fun. Contains some interesting harmonic ideas for soloing over a pedal, while elsewhere showing some ways of making licks interesting while staying completely diatonic. This version is in sounding pitch for keyboardists--I believe he's using Bb fingerings on his EWI in the video.

Frank Rosolino's Trombone Solo on "Pennies from Heaven

Frank Rosolino is one of the more important trombonists in jazz history. He was known for being an obsessive technician, and that quality shines through in a great number of firey bebop solos. This track showcases his humorous side, and is definitely worth a listen. Rosolino does some singing here, and even does some vocal improv, which earns him a place on the otherwise short list of horn playing vocal soloists inhabited by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Clark Terry.

I transcribed this solo bcause I wanted to learn the tune, and listened to the track enough to get both this and the vocal solo stuck in my head. The track is DEFINITELY worth a listen, but it is somewhat hard to find. It was recorded as part of the "Stan Kenton Presents: Jazz" series, and recently became available on as a digital download. Stan Kenton Presents Bob Cooper, Bill Holman & Frank Rosolino

Bruce Fowler, Trombone on "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?"

This was described as "The most killin' trombone solo in the history of mankind" by my trombonist jazz professor when I was an undergraduate. (He probably didn't use those exact words, but the sentiment is legit.) It starts on a high E (E5), and hits C6 for just a moment.

Bruce Fowler doesn't do as much high profile playing these days, but his work with Frank Zappa brings us some incredibly virtuosic trombone playing. Typically it's quite "out there," but this particular track allows for just the perfect amount of crazy to make one absolutely breathtaking trombone solo. It can be heard on "Roxy & Elsewhere" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

Bobby McFerrin with Chick Corea on "Blue Bossa"

This solo is from the joyous collaboration between McFerrin and Corea on the album "Play." The entire album is an absolute gem if you've never heard it. It's largely free-form improvisations between Chick and Bobby on jazz standards, but these two masters take it to the nth degree in terms of communication, musicality, and indeed, the simple play of making music together. This transcription contains the scat syllables (or at least an approximation thereof) Bobby uses, and the solo goes to some pretty interesting places with regard to some "extended" vocal technique and the interaction with Chick Corea. Definitely check out the recording of this one to get how it fits together; otherwise, some of the rhythmic elements in the second half won't make very much sense.

Note on Copyright:

It is my understanding that improvised solos, that is, the notes themselves, are non-copyrightable in the US. However, as the typesetter of these documents, I am allowed to claim copyright of the printed music, much the same way a music publisher can claim copyright over a printing and typesetting of a public domain Bach fugue. As copyright holder of these transcriptions, I grant anyone the right to print and freely distribute physical copies for personal or academic use.

However, you do NOT have permission to:

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