Blue Bossa Bob Mintzer Solo Transcription

Bob Mintzer has been one of my favorite tenor saxophone players for as long as I can remember.  Around 1986 or so I remember he came to Ithaca College in NY to play with our big band.  We worked up a number of Bob Mintzer big band charts and Bob played great during that concert and was such a humble and nice guy to meet.


Since that time I have bought so many recordings of Bob and I have loved his playing and concept through the years.  Bob is the perfect fusing of advanced harmonic concepts , time and melody.  Not to mention that I have always loved his tenor saxophone tone and phrasing.

A few months ago,  I was browsing around Youtube when I saw a video for Bob Mintzer called Blue Bossa.  I don’t have any recordings of Bob playing this standard tune so I was curious what it was a clip of.  I thought perhaps it was a “live” gig video tape or maybe a masterclass. I clicked on the link and discovered the recording was from a Mintzer  album that I never heard of called “Bop Boy”.  Somehow,  I had missed this CD release………….  Here’s the clip from Youtube. (Hopefully, it will remain up so that you can listen to it in the future)


I decided to transcribe Bob’s solo on this tune but like many things I have intentions to do, it got put in a pile of papers on my desk.   Earlier this week, I was cleaning my desk area and found the manuscript paper with the start of the solo.  I got a sudden surge of adrenalin and decided to finish the transcription.  A couple of hours later and a few cups of coffee and I was done.

i thought I would share this transcription with all of you as I consider this to be a great solo!  There are many rhythmic, harmonic and melodic ideas used that are worthy of imitation.  I believe most of the transcription is accurate or close to it but I will say that the first bar on the sixth line of the first page almost gave me a nervous breakdown.  I’m still not sure if that bar is right but I can’t tell you how many times I rewound that section and found myself yelling at my computer in frustration. ( If you happen to discover any inaccuracies  feel free to let me know)

One cool change that I noticed in this recording from the typical changes used is that in the second bar of the tune there is a major 3rd present in the chord. This chord is usually a C minor 7th chord but it sound to me like they are using a C7#9 chord there which I really love the sound of.

I’m making an effort to transcribe a little bit every day so I hope to have more transcription available in the future as well as the ones I have based my video lessons off of.  So check back when you have a chance.      Thanks,   Steve

Blue Bossa Bob Mintzer Solo Bb

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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 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site


  1. Avatar Xavier Lynch says

    always loved Mintzer’s sound and melodicism. he always a “way” with notes, soulful and never overdone

  2. Avatar Karl Schroeder says

    I’ve always enjoyed Bob’s music, thank you for transcribing the solo.

  3. Steve,
    Thanks for offering such a great transcription for free. To make your life easier (and to keep you from cursing at your computer), you might want to purchase the app called “Amazing Slowdowner” for Mac or Windows. It’s great for transcription work! It helps me figure out the really gnarly passages. Visit:

  4. Avatar Thanks Steve says

    Thanks for the transcription Steve. I managed to buy the cd Bop Boy. Expecting it soon. Blessings to you and whole family

  5. Thank you so much for sharing Steve !
    By the way there is one sax player I’ve always liked who has very nice outside and chromatic licks alto sax Chris Hunter
    It s kinda hard to find his recordings nowadays but maybe you ll come across one.
    Also one thing I always wanted to work on is Mike Brecker’s solo on Chromazone (Mike Stern Upside Downside) one of his craziest solo …

  6. Avatar Steve Boney says

    Great transcription on a terrific solo! Thank You

  7. Avatar joe nickerson says

    indeed thank you steve.. very generous of you to take the time then share your work with us.. it is true we don’t see many outside solos.. maybe someday.. 🙂

  8. Hi David, I remember hearing Chris Hunter way back! I think it was the late 80’s or early 90’s. I haven’t seen or heard much of him since that time though. I have to go google him after I write this. Your right, he had some great killer lines as I remember…….(I played alto a lot more back then so I was into him even more……)

  9. Luanne, I have Amazing Slowdowner and use it all the time. I was also using it practice Kim (Charlie Parker) I was working on getting it up to speed (320 I think) and I used Slowdowner to start at half speed and work my way up to 320. It’s a great way to practice that stuff!!

  10. Avatar Børge-Are Halvorsen says

    Thanks a lot for posting this! Always great to get a reminder of Bob Mintzer’s mastery.

    The C7#9-sound you speak of in measure 2 is in fact a Gb13(#11) (same voicing, different root note, a tritone sub V7 leading to the Fm7). Sounds nice and gives fuel to the soloist’s lines.

    Sometimes, the IIm7(b5) (Dm7(b5)) is changed to a V7#9/V (D7#9), a device I also enjoy to get a new direction in the typical II-V-cliché language.

    Your written solo has a few small mistakes, nothing that affects the overall feel of language, but if you play along with the recording, you may hear a note here and a note there. 🙂 If you’d like, I can send you my transcription of the same solo as a reference. From one happy nerd to another.

  11. Avatar Børge-Are Halvorsen says

    Here’s the entire chord progression. Lovely, should become the “industry standard”!

    Cm7 – Gb13#11 – Fm7 – Ebm7 –
    D7#9 – G7#9 – Cm7 – Cm7 –
    Ebm7 – Ab7 – Dbmaj Db/C – Db/Bb Db/Ab –
    D7#9 – G7#9 – F13 – F13 G7 –

  12. Very cool. Thanks. I’ll make the changes to my transcription. I would love to see your transcription. I love seeing other peoples transcriptions in how they differ. Steve

  13. i just put an update of the solo up. Borge-Are Halvorsen was good enough to send me the chords and a transcription that he also did. as I compared both transcriptions with the recording there were many “Duh, Stupid” moment where I was mad at myself for missing certain notes. Not even to mention the chords. I was in such a hurry to complete that I didn’t even listen to the bass note in the 2nd bar. It is indeed a Gb.

    The new transcription has updated chords and some mistakes that were fixed as well as some tied 8th notes I made into quarter notes for easier reading. Thanks again to Borge for the help. Steve

  14. Avatar Børge-Are Halvorsen says

    The pleasure is all mine, Steve. Had a blast with this. Mintzer is one of the living masters.

    Best wishes,

  15. Avatar says

    Thanks for this Steve.

  16. Thanks from Italy, I’m searching to understand the turnaround finale, (two differents it seems to me) someone can help me?


  17. Hi Stefano, I’m not sure what you are asking here? Steve

  18. Sorry my english it is very italian….

    I’m pianist, not very good pianist…, I love this version of Blue Bossa. I found very useful the post of Børge-Are Halvorsen.
    What I’m searching it is the final part (turnaround), the chords progression.
    The standard one from the Real book is Cm- Dm-G7 ad lib
    The Mintzer quartet do two different chord progressions
    the first one it seems more or less similar to the standard, the bass progression it is different maybe Cm/Bb/Ab and than D7#9 – G7#9. Than they change maybe in F7-Eb7-D7#9 – G7#9.
    But I’m not sure
    Ciao from italy, I hope you can understand my question 🙂

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