Donny McCaslin Blues Solo in 6ths Tenor Sax Transcription

Here’s another solo transcriptions I started working on yesterday. This is from a clinic recording of Donny McCaslin demonstrating using sixth intervals while improvising over a standard blues on the tenor saxophone.  I have no idea what this is from or even where I got it but it must have been on the internet somewhere.  I tried doing a search for the rest of the clinic but couldn’t find it anywhere online.   Donny has graciously said he was ok with me posting the recordings and transcriptions for all to check out.


Donny McCaslin is a great tenor player who was just leaving Berklee as I was arriving there in the 80’s.  He doesn’t know it, but he had a large part in inspiring me to move to Boston.   I went to Boston during the summer of 1986 to visit my girlfriend who was going to Berklee at the time.  I remember going to a concert at the Berklee performance Center.  Donny McCaslin was playing alongside Warren Hill.  They were both students at the time and a little bit older than me.  I remember being amazed at that concert.  I don’t remember exactly what they played but I think I remember a Steps Ahead tune like “Trains”  and maybe also a Sanborn tune.   I remember deciding right there at the concert that I had to leave Ithaca College and transfer to Berklee immediately.  If these were the kind of players Berklee was turning out then I wanted to be there.  I transferred to Berklee that fall and am very glad that I did.

I remember even at that time that Donny seemed to have his own sound and concept going on.   He had long flowing original lines that weaved in, out and around the harmony.  His technique was amazing.  He would play complicated patterns and intervals throughout the range of the horn with ease. Even at that time,  I remember getting to Berklee and finding a recording of Donny playing on “There will Never Be Another You” from some performance.  I transcribed that solo and interestingly enough, even though it was 28 years ago, I remember there were also lines with fourths and sixths throughout that solo………

I decided to transcribe this solo because it is unique in it’s use of sixth intervals as well as some of the rhythmic ideas used.    Make sure to also check out the transcriptions of Donny demonstrating a blues using fourths as well.

Please be sure to check out Donny McCaslin’s recordings and website.   Thanks again to Donny for giving me permission to post these recordings as well as being such an inspiration in today’s jazz scene.     Thanks, Steve



McCaslin Blues in 6ths Bb PDF

McCaslin Blues in 6ths C PDF

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If you love these type of outside  type lines, be sure to check out my PDF book “Devastating Minor Lines for Jazz and Funk Soloing” in which I take 100 classic minor “outside” lines in 16th notes and write them out in all 12 keys.  These lines are devastatingly awesome!! (that’s my opinion anyways……)


Devastating Minor Lines for Jazz & Funk

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

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