Here’s a burnin’ tenor saxophone solo from the great tenor saxophonist, George Coleman. This is from his album “Amsterdam After Dark”. The solo is from the tune “Apache Dance” which has a solo section over the changes of “Cherokee”.
I was actually given this solo transcription by a teacher at Berklee College of Music almost 30 years ago. (I think it might have been Bill Pierce). I remember practicing this solo like crazy at the time. I was captivated by George Coleman’s extensive use of the bebop scale in this tenor sax solo. I had heard of the bebop scale before, but to be honest, I never really heard much use of it in actual recordings. This was the first recording and transcription where I saw it in action.
George Edward Coleman is an American hard bop saxophonist, bandleader, and composer, known chiefly for his work with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 1960s. He was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master for 2015.
It was my first or second semester at Berklee and I was really wanting to get Cherokee down and burnin’ fast. I remember taking the lines and concepts and transposing them to the alto key and trying to get them mastered. I spent thousands of hours on these lines and over the course of time, the transcription was destroyed or lost. Pages were ripped, pieces were missing, pages were lost…….
Years later when I started teaching, I decided to transcribe the solo myself to use with my students who were working on the bebop scale material. (It wasn’t very hard as I knew many of the lines already.) Working on the scale and links from my “Mastering the Bebop Scale” books is one thing, but nothing replaces hearing the lines and concepts pieced together in a real recording to hear how they can be used.
This solo is also a great demonstration of how to use diatonic scale patterns in a solo. You can hear how, at this incredibly fast tempo, Mr. Coleman has to rely on certain tools to build his solo from. A good portion of these tools are bebop scales, diatonic patterns, approaches and bebop links (that’s my name for them from my books) You can hear the diatonic patterns on measures 23-24, 31-32, 35, 70, 71-72, 81-82, 103, 119-120, 187-188, 212-213,242-243. Notice how he just uses little bits from each pattern within the lines. Any more than that becomes too much…….
George Coleman Soloing on Apache Dance
This is another solo that could keep you busy for a few years. It’s not enough to just play through the solo and get it up to speed. You really want to take apart the lines, understand the concepts and transpose them to other keys to really get them mastered and into your own playing. Enjoy!!
*As a side note: For those of you who like Eric Alexander, you can hear that Eric was heavily influenced by George Coleman as you listen to this CD. Even in this solo, there is a lick at measures 193-195 that I have heard Eric Alexander play hundreds of times. As you listen to George Coleman, I think you will hear many similarities as far as phrasing, articulation, lines and sound.
If you enjoy this solo be sure to check out my extensive books and lesson on “Mastering the Dominant and Major Bebop Scale” below:
Bebop Scale Material
- Altered Dominant Bebop Scale-Lesson 1
- Altered Dominant Bebop Scale-Lesson 2
- Bebop Scale Offbeat Workout Lesson 1
- Connecting Dominant Bebop Lines-Lesson 1
- Dominant Bebop Scale Around the Circle Lesson
- In A Mellow Tone Dominant Bebop Solo Lesson
- Mastering the Bebop Scale Review-Blues in all Keys-Lesson 1
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 1
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 2
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 3
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 4
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 5
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 6
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 7
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 8
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 9
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 10
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 11
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 12
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 13
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 14
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 15
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale Lesson 16
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale-Lesson 17
- Mastering The Dominant Bebop Scale-Lesson 18
- Mastering the Bebop Scales Lesson 19
- Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale (PDF Book)
- Mastering the Major Bebop Scale & Sound (PDF Book)
- Mastering the Major Bebop Scale & Sound Overview Lesson
- The Major Bebop Scale Lesson
- Triplet Bebop Scale Workout Lesson 1
- Varying Your Dominant Bebop Lines Lesson
- West Coast Blues Bebop Scale Lesson