Seamus Blake “Blues Up and Down” Saxophone Solo Transcription

Here’s a great solo transcription from one of my favorite players, Seamus Blake.  This is a fast blues called “Blues Up and Down” and is from an obscure CD entitled “Sax Summit”.   I say obscure because I am probably one of the biggest fans and followers of jazz saxophone recordings and I had never heard of it before stumbling upon it while browsing through iTunes a few months ago……….

Sax Summit was released Oct 22, 2002 on the CBC label. Personnel: Phil Dwyer , Mike Murley (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); P.J. Perry, Campbell Ryga (alto saxophone); Seamus Blake, Yannick Rieu (tenor saxophone); Perry White (baritone saxophone); Mark Eisenman (piano); Neil Swainson (double bass); Terry Clarke (drums).

Seamus Blake

This is a transcription I completed this week of 8 choruses of Seamus Blake’s solo.  He plays a few more choruses at the end with the big band playing behind him but the lines I wanted to figure out were in the first 8 choruses so I didn’t bother transcribing the last couple of choruses.

The funny thing that sometimes happens to me while transcribing is that I slow the solo down with transcription software and start transcribing.  I get to the end of the solo and I think “this isn’t too difficult……” as I play it all the way through with Seamus.  Then I remembered that I had the speed set to 60%  on the transcribing program. “Ok, let me try it on 100% speed……..”   I tried it but man was it rough going.  I could not keep up with sight reading this solo at this speed!  I believe this recording is at 250-260 bpm speed range.  Pretty burnin’…………..

 Sax Summit (CBC Label 2002)

This solo is 8 choruses of a ripping  fast blues.  When you first look at the PDF you might be fooled into thinking this is an easy solo to play but try playing some of these lines with the recording and you quickly realize how awesome Seamus Blake is………..

Blues Up and Down-Seamus Blake Solo Bb
Blues Up and Down-Seamus Blake Solo Concert Key

If you dig this solo make sure you pick up the whole CD of “Sax Summit“.   There is some great playing by everyone on this CD and all sax players will love it! (You can also find it on iTunes………..) Also, make sure you check out Seamus Blake’s other recordings that he has done as a leader.

If you like these types of blues lines like I do, be sure to check out my jazz video lessons and books for some great resources!  Here are just a few on a variety of blues improvisation topics.  I have 11 jazz improvisation books out now and over 500 30 minute+ video and audio lessons to choose from……..   Thanks,   Steve

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. hey Steve, glad you found this recording. I was the musical director, arranger, etc., for this project, which brought together some of my favourite saxophone players from across Canada (and we brought Seamus up from New York). It was a great time, and yes Seamus always sounds great. All the best. Phil Dwyer.

  2. Hi Phil,
    Thanks for posting. It’s great to hear from you. Great job on that CD. The only thing I wish was different on the CD is that the soloist were written down in solo order instead of alphabetical order. I know Seamus’s sound well but I don’t know the other players very well so I don’t know who is who on the solos. It’s a great recording though! Thanks, Steve

  3. Hi Steve…a Huge Seamus fan from France……I’ve download your retranscription
    Great job, I love so much this recording, a great friend of mine have met Kirk McDonald in Toronto some years ago, I take few lessons with Seamus in N.York, and I’m also a huge fan of Phil Dwyer works, especialy is “Changing seasons” with his large ensemble…..so this record means a lot for me………iI don’t knox exactly if Mark Einsenman is from Canada or not !!!! anyway……….there’s few people around here that have learned about the Canandian great musicians !! Folks you get fans in France for sure !!!!! I’m also on “The fear of roaming retranscription”….so we’re still in the light of those 3 phenomenal sax players………Thanks a lot for charing lead sheet music……and an ocean of excuses for my very poor English…….Many thanks from South of France….Stef

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