Transcription of Jeff Ellwood’s Solo on Just the Two of Us

Here’s another transcription I am excited about sharing with everyone.  I found the video on Facebook this morning and proceeded to play it over and over until my wife got annoyed at me and said “Steve, it is 6:30 in the morning!  What are you doing?”  “Sorry, honey.” I replied.  That was how my day started……….

I grabbed some coffee and went straight up to my office and started transcribing.   I had a long list of stuff I was suppose to do today but I had to transcribe this first!

The video below is Jeff Ellwood playing a tenor sax solo over “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers.  Jeff is the Jazz Saxophone Professor at Cal State Fullerton. He posts quite regularly in the group “Jam of the Week” on Facebook. Seeing a post by him usually makes me stop whatever I’m doing and check it out!

Jeff Ellwood

Jeff has quite a unique approach and I guarantee that you have never heard a solo like this over “Just the Two of Us”.   Some of you who like “by the book” solos that dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s might not like this as much because it is “too outside” for you perhaps but I love it!  Jeff takes some extreme liberties with his lines that make you wonder “Where the heck is this going?”  and “Will this ever resolve?” but rest assured Jeff does almost always resolve. (It just might not be where you think it should be…….)

I personally love Jeff Ellwood’s playing!  At my age it is refreshing to hear someone solo and not know where it’s going or even what the heck he is doing at times!   That’s why I had to transcribe it?

Check out the video below and the transcription.  I wrote it all out and I still don’t know what he was doing or thinking at times!   Enjoy!

If you want to check out more of Jeff Ellwood and some of his transcriptions and books you can read more about him at Thanks Jeff!

[jwplayer mediaid=”64477″]
Jeff Ellwood soloing on Just the Two of Us
Just the Two of Us-Jeff Ellwood 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. I’ve never listened to Jeff before, I love it! It reminds me a lot of Bob Malach’s playing- as I’ve always thought he had a great “yin/yang” approach of playing the craziest lines that just go on and on and just when you feel like your head is about to explode, he ties it all together with a simple blues lick or pentatonic ending! I’ll be listening to more of Mr. Elwood in the future, thanks for transcription Steve!

  2. Killer lines. Thanks sooooo much. You are the best dude!
    Cheers mate,
    AKA SOTW member WSR

  3. Avatar Grahame Easthope says

    That’s not just outside, it’s on another planet. Love it.

  4. I went to his website to check out his videos and the Lennie’s Pennies video caught my attention because years ago I played in a big band led by Gary Foster who did the alto solo on Ellwood’s video. I got to meet Lee Konitz (I bought him some French fries) when he was a guest soloist for the band and we played a big band version of Lennie’s Pennies. Lennie Tristano was of course a huge influence on Konitz who was Foster’s main influence and Tristano is in fact one of my favorite pianists. Ellwood sounds great to me, a real monster on tenor. He’s very original in his playing, a rarity in any art form. Thanks for posting this!

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