Tag: 1963

Kenny Dorham on Blue Bossa

This week’s Transcription Tuesday is the first sixteen bars of Kenny Dorham’s solo on Blue Bossa from Joe Henderson’s debut record Page One (1963).

The tune was written by Dorham and and is the type of tune that you can always call at a jam because everyone will know it (it also tends to get groans from those who feel it has been “worn out”). The harmony is primarily in the key of C minor with bars 9-12 taking a short detour to the key of D-flat major.

If you are not already familiar with the tune, make sure to listen to the original melody in addition to checking out this solo.

I won’t spoil the surprise for those of you who haven’t heard it, but suffice to say this is definitely a solo to study if you have ever wondered how to begin improvising.

Transcription Tuesday: Billy Higgins on The Sidewinder

Allaboutjazz.com calls Billy Higgins “reportedly the most recorded jazz drummer in history, and certainly one of the most beloved.”

Here is an excerpt from “The Sidewinder,”¬†one of his classic grooves, (iTunes link).

Some things to note:

  1. The time feel is famously somewhere between straight and swing.
  2. Seemingly insignificant details make it work. For instance, Higgins lays out on the very first beat of the head and enters on beat 2.
  3. Higgins sticks the exact same groove with no improvisation until partway through the first solo. Sometimes simple is best.

Billy Higgins on Sidewinder