Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dexter Gordon
It’s You Or No One transcription

From the Blue Note recording Doin’ Allright, recorded May 6, 1961.

PDF
Dexter Gordon
It's You Or No One
transcription
Doin’ Allright was a comeback album for Dexter Gordon, who'd more or less vanished from the scene for nearly a decade, a result of what the jazz press euphemistically called "personal problems." It marked the beginning of a long and fruitful association with Blue Note, and although Dex was soon to leave the U.S. for what he hoped would be greener pastures in Europe, the Blue Note recordings quickly reaffirmed his place among the greatest hard bop saxophonists.

It’s You Or No One features all of Dexter’s strengths: his robust sound, his back-of-the-beat time feel, along with what might be considered to be totally "in the pocket," perfect bop lines (sometimes nearly too perfect, perhaps: measures 31-34 and 63-66 are identical!).


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Sonny Rollins
Striver’s Row transcription

From the Blue Note recording A Night At The Village Vanguard, recorded November 3, 1957.

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Sonny Rollins
Striver's Row
transcription
Sonny Rollins is no friend of the recording studio. He's said that the stressful, artificial recording environment stifles his creativity. And while he's released many wonderful studio recordings regardless of his discomfort, it's often said that catching him live on a good night is an unsurpassed, amazing experience.

(I've heard him live on several occasions, and was always inspired. Without a doubt, however, the most terrifying time was in 1980 in Warsaw, at Jazz Jamboree '80, in a standing-room-only, to-hell-with-fire-codes crowd in the massive Congress Hall. I — seriously! — thought there might be a riot when the "authorities" decided it was time to end the concert. There are some YouTubes about from that gig, and I hope to write more about it sometime...)

Rollins connoisseurs have long considered the pianoless trio to be the perfect Rollins unit: with no piano to dictate a harmonic direction, Sonny is free to explore every nook & cranny of a chord progression.

A Night At The Village Vanguard, the first live recording ever done there (for later jazz artists, their own live VV recording would become a sort of badge of honor) combines the best of both worlds: a good live recording of Sonny in a trio. And among an entire album of gems, Striver’s Row, an impromptu meandering through the changes of Confirmation, is a masterpiece. Rollins tosses off knotty, impossible lines with a casual virtuosity that should terrify other tenor players.

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