Re: Looking for some blues solos for Alto or Tenor
Get a copy of Ben Webster from the 'Storyville Masters of Jazz' series of albums. Listen to "Our Blues." The pace is unhurried. The changes are very easy to hear. Ben plays with great economy. By that, I mean that he doesn't throw a lot of notes at you. He hears wonderful melodic lines through the changes. He plays them at a comfortable pace. He phrases them with style and grace. He often comes down just behind the beat, which is very cool and interesting. I've been wearing this album out since I bought it a couple of weeks ago. I play along with it often. Mr. Webster has a lot to offer in terms of sheer expression. Once you get a few of his phrases in your head, you'll be amazed at what you can spin out of your own horn from there. Please understand this: I'm not suggesting that you become a copyist. I'm suggesting that you learn some of the phrases just for the sake of coming to an understanding that the notes don't have to be complicated. In fact, they can be very simple. After you've done that, let your imagination take you for a ride through the changes, and discover what you are inspired to play. You might surprise yourself! And after you've done that little exercise, there are a few hundred other examples out there for your listening inspiration. And I would add this, too: Don't limit your listening to sax solos. Listen to lots of expert soloists on a variety of instruments. I often catch myself emulating sax solo ideas on my guitar, and guitar solo ideas on my sax, etc. Trust your imagination, and then teach your fingers to land on the notes you're hearing in your head. You don't need sheet music transcriptions for that (although there is much to be learned from reading transcriptions). I play weekly (on rhythm guitar) with a tenor player who is ten times the musician that I am. He is very grounded in written music. He has a fine imagination, and a wonderful facility with his horn. But he has a hard time getting himself "off the page." Whenever he turns his back on his music stand, he plays like a monster! He is awesome. He just doesn't happen to be in a big comfort zone when he does that. He is so accustomed to the written page that it is almost like a crutch for him. He plays transcriptions frequently--as a means to learn how his favorite solos are structured. But when he gets off the page and plays from his guts...that's when I finally hear what he has been hearing inside his own head. My advice: Use transcriptions for what you can learn from them. Drill them. Then close the book, and close your eyes, And listen to the tune in your head. And just BLOW it! You will amaze yourself.