Month: October 2015

Ceora – Ryan Kisor Solo Transcription

Well, since I transcribed Peter Bernstein’s solo, I might as well do Ryan Kisor’s as well, so below is my transcription of Ryan Kisor’s trumpet solo on the Lee Morgan tune “Ceora” as played on Kisor’s 2003 album “The Sidewinder.”  I basically transcribed it for measures 29-30.  It’s interesting, because Peter Bernstein’s solo reminded me of Kenny Barron’s solo on “I Should Care” for his use of melody and triads, and Ryan Kisor’s solo reminds me of Barron’s solo for the substitution Kisor uses in measure 29-30.  In measures 15 and 47 of Barron’s solo, over the ii-V-I progression, Barron substitutes the ii of the tritone substitution, so the progression becomes minor ii to minor bvi [the relative minor ii chord to the tritone sub of bII7] to I.  Similarly, in measures 29-30 of Kisor’s solo, he substitutes the minor bvi, but jumps right into the sound instead of first preparing it with the minor ii (which would be Bbmin7 in this case).  The resulting effect is startling, pleasantly so to me, especially in the context of the surrounding solo.  Looking backward at the rest of the first chorus of Kisor’s solo, everything else is relatively “in” the key, so this sudden jump to an Emin7 sound is shocking.

Another notable point in Kisor’s solo is the figure in measures 45-46.  Kisor uses descending diatonic triads in D Dorian, but by playing triads in a 16th note figure, the resulting effect creates an interesting accent pattern over every third 16th note.  The entire figure is a great example of how to take something like a scale study and make it musical, incorporating it into your improvisational vocabulary.  Beats 2 and 3 of measure 46 show Kisor seamlessly transitioning out of the triadic figure into an arpeggio-based line, clearly outlining the ii-V harmony.

I also really enjoy measures 51-52.  Kisor treats the ii-V progression as just a V7alt, but by starting the progression two beats early, on beat 3 of measure 51, the anticipation seemingly comes out of nowhere, and the clash of Ab7alt over what would usually be AbMaj7 combined with the sudden register leap has a surprising effect.

The solo starts at 0:49.  Enjoy!

View transcription in Bb.

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Ceora – Peter Bernstein Solo Transcription

Hello again.  Below is a transcription of Peter Bernstein’s guitar solo on the Lee Morgan tune “Ceora” as played on Ryan Kisor’s 2003 album The Sidewinder.  I just love Peter Bernstein’s sound – warm, melodic, lyrical – and this solo is no exception.  Things to listen for: Bernstein’s use of the melody throughout his solo.  Also, listen for Bernstein’s use of triads in his improvisation to create Altered Dominant sounds.  The thing I really like about the way Bernstein uses triads is that the harmony remains open.  For example, in measure 12, the D/F7 could imply an Fdim7 sound, an F13(b9) sound, or a DMajor sound; but by just playing the D major triad over the underlying harmony, Bernstein leaves it harmonically open.  And check out measures 12-16.  Bernstein uses this same sound over each of the dominant chords (D/F7, E/G7, C/Eb7), but plays over it a little differently each time.  In the hands of a lesser improviser, this could easily sound like a technical exercise or someone running licks, but by making little changes each time, the result is very interesting.  Also check out the sound Bernstein uses in measure 20 – also a triad over a dominant chord to create an Altered Dominant sound, but this time a triad off the #4/b5 to create a (b9#11) sound.

Given Bernstein’s usage of the melody and his interesting use of triads to create altered dominant sounds, it brings to mind Kenny Barron’s solo on I Should Care, which uses many of the same devices.  If you enjoy this solo, check out Barron’s solo as well.  Bernstein’s solo starts at 2:08.  Enjoy!

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Just Squeeze Me – Mulgrew Miller Solo Transcription

Hey all – it’s been too long once again.  Let’s see… I finished my Master’s Degree from MSU, had my first child (a son, Ellis), and got a job playing piano at the Detroit Airport five days a week.  So… if you’re headed to/through Detroit, come say hi!  But the real reason you’re here – to check out some Mulgrew Miller.  This is from the 2006 Delfeayo Marsalis album Minion’s Dominion on the standard “Just Squeeze Me.”  The neat thing about this tune is the key is mostly centered around F Major which gives the skilled improviser lots of room to play around in and out of the key, which Miller does adeptly.  He does a fair amount of superimposing new keys outside the standard harmony, which I tried to designate in the chord symbols, ex. G/F in measure 9, the sideslip to Abmin7 in bars 13, 23, and 54.  He also uses a lot of sequencing – check out bars 35-36, 39-40, and 45-46, and also check out the pentatonic idea he uses in measure 42.  Another thing I love about Mulgrew’s playing is the way he mixes complex harmonic substitutions in alongside really bluesy figures.  To grossly oversimplify, it’s a nice mixture of the “intellectual” and the “down home.”  People say similar things about Charlie Parker, which I guess would help explain my deep love of Parker’s music.  Anyway, enough of my ramblings.  Check out this solo – super bad.  The fun starts about 5:30 in.

And while you’re at it, check out my other Mulgrew Miller transcriptions.

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