The Real Jazz Solos Book Review

Today,   I am reviewing a new transcription book titled  “The Real Jazz Solos Book”.  This is another great book by Hal Leonard  that is filled with great jazz solo transcriptions.  Unlike many other transcription books, The Real Jazz Solos Book has transcription from a variety of different musicians including as far back as Louis Armstrong and as far forward as Chris Potter.


I went through the index of solos and counted the artists included in this book for each instrument.   There are 24 sax soloists including Cannonball, Coltrane, Dexter, Brecker, and Chris Potter as well as many others.  23 trumpet soloists including Miles, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Dorham and Clark Terry among others. 18 piano soloists, 15 guitar soloists as well as bass solos, trombone solos,vibes,flute, harmonica and even one violin solo.

The Real Jazz Solos Book is 445 pages long and has multiple solos by many of the artists included.  One of the things I really like about this book,  is that is gets you looking at some solos outside of your instrument preference.  It’s not uncommon to have saxophone students transcribe sax solo after sax solo.   That is their instrument and they are usually transcribing a great solo from one of their idols.  But ask that same student how many Louis Armstrong solos they have transcribed or checked out and the answer is usually “none”.  Go further and ask the student if they have checked out any solos by Miles, Bill Evans, Red Garland, Bud Powell, Lee Morgan, Wes Montgomery or even Pat Metheny (for someone more modern) and you usually just get a blank stare from the student……….

The Real Jazz Solos Book offers a student the opportunity to play through and check out some other amazing and great jazz artists and solos that they might never check out while isolated in their own little “saxophone” world.  Each of the artists I have mentioned above has very unique and vital contributions to the history of jazz.  The “budding” jazz student can learn so much from studying the solos of artists outside of their chosen instrument.  A piano player or guitar player will play things unique and different than what a sax player might usually play. These are cool elements to check out and learn from……..


As always, Hal Leonard has done a great job with the production of this book. The solos are written in the typical easy to read “Real Book style” and are spaced out to multiple pages when needed to make them easy to read and not all cluttered on one page. (It should also be noted that in the Concert book the bass and trombone solos are written in bass clef.  You would expect this for those instruments but I wanted to point it out in case your bass clef reading chops aren’t up to par)

The one downside of the book is that it doesn’t come with all the recordings of the solos.  How cool would that be?   I would love to just take a CD out of the book and have every recording right there……..  Oh well, wishful thinking…….. As it stands right now,  I have to look up the recordings on itunes, play a preview, and then decide if I want to buy it or not.   There is a Discography in the book that lists all the Albums that the solos are from so that will help to find those recordings.

If you are interested in checking out more great transcriptions by a multitude of different artists then check out the Real Jazz Solos Book!  You can order it at

If you have the book let me know what you think in the comments down below.     Thanks, Steve


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. Hi, Steve. Love your sound and videos!!! I have a question about The Real Jazz Soloing Book. What about keys? For example, Are the solos all transcribed to their concert keys; are they written the key of the instrumenf, i.e. Sax in b flat or e flat, trumpet in b flat, piano , guitar, bass in C? Likewise are they written in the original key as performed in?? I think you catch my meaning.

    • Hi Beth, I have the Concert book so all the solos are written in concert key. They are also all written in the key of the original recordings. Steve

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