Learn from the best

I’m doing something that I probably should have done ages ago: I’m taking apart a jazz solo from one of the greats, and trying to learn it note-for-note so I can see how it works. I’ve chosen a recording I have from a CD of Chet Baker (currently being made famous by Ethan Hawke in cinemas) playing a current favourite of mine: “I Fall In Love Too Easily”. I have a nice little app called “Play in slowly” on my Ubuntu desktop that allows the user to quickly set start and end points and take the speed right down. By painstaking repeated listening I want to learn this solo. I know how I’d play it, but I want to learn how Chet plays it. Because, obviously, he’s a lot better on this recording than I am. This may sound weird, but transcription has always been a key skill in learning the language of jazz. It’s a major turning point for me because I had approached improvised jazz with the hope of expressing what was in my head. This marks my first forrays, at least in terms of transcribing, of trying to figure out what is going on in the heads of the people who made the music great!

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