John Ellis Band


This is a live performance of John Ellis’ tune “Tall Drink of Water” at the Jazz Standard in NYC.  The tune has a cool piano/guitar riff thats played underneath the melody, as well as a fun groove overall.  These musicians appear to be different than the ones from the original recording, but all play pretty well.  John Ellis starts his solo with a lot of interesting simple licks with a decent amount of space. The guitar had a really cool tone during the solo, with a little bit of drive and possibly chorus that is very popular in the NY jazz scene as of late.  The drummer had a lot of control over dynamics during the whole performance, and was able to quickly change the energy at various points of the solos.    I find it interesting that the musicians appear to be reading the music/arrangements, but still able to communicate with each other effectively.

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Herbie Hancock (and Roy Hargrove)

This is a performance of Butterfly featuring Herbie Hancock and Roy Hargrove and Marcus Miller. One thing I took note of from this performance was the way that Herbie Hancock was comping behind Roy Hargrove (around 6:00). He comes in strong with chord progressions after the each trumpet phrase, and towards the end the measures, rather than the first several beats when Hargrove is creating lines. I’d like to try experimenting more with my comping rhythms and playing around with the harmonies. Herbie’s solo was enjoyable, though I think the synth at 10:45 was unnecessary.

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Ravi Coltrane Quartet – Coincide

I feel out of breath listening to this. It’s interesting to see the contrasting styles between the saxophonist and the pianist even in the same song. The saxophonist (Ravi Coltrane?) just kept going on and on and on and kept up a rapid pace. When the pianist started his solo, I almost thought he messed up because it was just such a drastic change, especially with his pauses in the beginning. It’s also really cool how the other musicians slowed down to match his pace/style.


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Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band – The Jazz Police

I really like how this music is suited for dancing and how fast and energetic it is. I have also never heard a saxophone go as high as he did at around 4:00, so that’s a cool thing to discover. The saxophonist (I assume it’s Gordon Goodwin, but I’m not entirely sure) plays relatively long melodic lines, some of which sound scalar and virtuoso. It’s fun to hear virtuoso playing, and it shows that practice really goes a long way when it comes to improvising.

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On Green Dolphin Street – Grant Green Quartet

This recording of On Green Dolphin Street features and more melodic, almost classical feel version of the song. The guitar solo has great licks and excellent ideas such as arpeggios around chord changes. I also like the bass solo even though it was muddled by how low it was.

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Miles Davis -On Green Dolphin Street

Miles Davis’s solo is very lyrical and smooth. While it wasn’t too difficult to transcribe the pitches, I had trouble with his rhythm. This might have been in part due to the “swing” feeling. I think he mostly played over the chord changes, but when he did play through them, they sounded effortless.

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On Green Dolphin Street – Keith Jarrett

Keith Jarrett uses a lot of pentatonic based melody lines, and he plays through the chord changes. Although his technical skill is impressive as always, I’m always more intrigued by the way that his melodies tend to sound like songs that were precomposed. To be able to generate melodies that sound so natural in an improv setting is a rare skill. Transcribing his solo was hard for me because rhythmically, I had trouble identifying the down beat and chord changes.

Solo beings at 1:17

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Wes Montgomery: On Green Dolphin Street

This is Wes Montgomery’s version of On Green Dolphin Street. The bassist, Ron Carter uses scales and arpeggios to form his solo. It’s an interesting version because only the bassist solos. I’m using 1:08-1:55 for my transcription project.

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Amazing street performance bass player

This street performer’s playing is amazing. I love the way he mixes slapping with chord strums to create his own groove and chord changes for his jam. He really demonstrates how to use a five-string in order to play melody while keeping a groove. A wonderful video.

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The John Coltrane Quartet, “My Favorite Things”: Belgium, 1965

With Christmas coming up I thought it would be appropriate to post this classic. This is John Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things”, recorded the summer of 1965 in Belgium. If you have time it is worth the 20 minutes.


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