A friend of mine emailed me a link to the youtube video below and I have been listening to it all week long. I love the way Wes Montgomery plays the melody on Round Midnight by Thelonious Monk. It’s got a great bluesy feel to it that I don’t hear with any of the sax versions I have. Check it out!
Wes Montgomery-Round Midnight
I found a transcription online of the whole Round Midnight solo in C on this jazz guitar site. (you have to sign in to the site to download it……..) The transcriber isn’t mentioned on the transcription but he did a great job on it. I liked what Wes Montgomery did with the melody so much that I decided to transpose it for Bb instruments. I did end up making a few changes as I worked on the transcription and played along with the recording. Mostly just minor changes and a couple octave adjustments so the lines would work for the saxophone.
Working on transcriptions from other instruments can be really cool because of the stylistic differences between instruments. Using this transcription as an example, I found my self playing many lines and ideas that I never would have discovered while listening to sax players.
The other cool thing is that while working on a melody like this you can pick up a ton of cool ideas to use for yourself over Round Midnight. I love how bluesy Wes makes this version and the video is so cool to watch because Wes looks so laid back and relaxed.
Take a listen and try to play along………I think you’ll like it! I know I do! Next time I play Round Midnight, I intend to blues it up Wes Montgomery style………..
Round Midnight-Wes Montgomery Melody
Rob Payne says
Thanks for posting this, Steve. Montgomery makes interesting use of triplets throughout the tune. It’s interesting how different instruments can affect the way people approach music. I even find that I tend to play jazz a little differently on the tenor sax than I do alto, and soprano for that matter. And the flute makes me play in a different way as well. But I find all these instruments compliment each other such as playing the tenor helps me stay a bit looser with my embouchure on the soprano, if that makes any sense. I’ve been interested in studying Miles Davis’s music, the way he leaves space, and how he approaches music harmonically.
Rob, I agree. I love Miles’s playing! You don’t hear many sax players that take their time, leave space and are focused on creating melodic themes and lines. I love listening to him. I made one stylistic lesson on Miles. I need to do more. http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/product/the-style-of-miles-davis-tranes-blues/