Insane Alto Sax Solo Transcription of Todd DelGiudice on Cherokee in 12 Keys!

I am continually amazed at all the great players that we have access to these days.   When I was a kid, I had my record collection by which I learned of the famous sax players out there.  I knew my teacher who sounded great every week when I saw him and I knew of maybe one or two other local players in the Syracuse NY area.  That was it!   Nowadays, you can go on Youtube or Facebook at all hours of the day or night and see players all around the world in an instant.  That is how I discovered Todd DelGiudice (don’t ask me how to pronounce his last name because I have no idea…..).  I was roaming through Facebook on my iPhone one day and saw a post in the Jam of the Week group that said something like “Shedding on Cherokee in all 12 keys”.  I had never heard of Todd and was about to move on with my browsing without listening but then hesitated. “He was playing Cherokee in all 12 keys so he must be pretty good……..Let’s check it out.”

The video clip is below and you can see it starts with Todd standing in front of the camera clicking buttons while his sax hangs around his neck.  You can’t see his head or even if he is wearing any pants…….. I thought “Oh no, this isn’t going to be good! I hope he’s wearing pants!! Let me just stop this now!”  He finally starts the music after a few clicks but as the play along starts he seems in no hurry to immediately jump in.  He casually takes his time adjusting the camera and heading back to a couch where he sits down and gets firmly planted.  I’m still thinking “Did I make a mistake by clicking on this?”

Then he starts playing.  At first,  I think “Pretty good!”  Then a few lines later,  I’m thinking “Wow!” “That was a cool line!”  and finally, “This is awesome! I have to transcribe this!”  I share the link by email with myself which is what I do with all clips I want to transcribe and move on to browsing again……….Later, the next day,  I put that email I received in a special folder entitled “Transcriptions To-Do”.

Todd DelGiudice

Sad to say,  that I never did get to doing this transcription.  I got side tracked with finishing my new “Mastering Altered Pentatonics” book.  Luckily enough, Todd decided to transcribe it himself. When I saw on Facebook that he had just finished it I was super excited.  Todd was nice enough to send me the transcription for alto saxophone and one transposed for tenor saxophone.  I played through the whole 22 page transcription on alto yesterday and thought “Man, I’m so glad Todd did this, it would have taken me forever!”

If you are like me and have never heard of Todd DelGiudice, you should check him out!  You can see his Bio on the OA2 Records Artist site as well as some of the recordings he has played on.  He put out an album in 2010 entitled “Pencil Sketches” that sounds pretty awesome!  You can also visit Todd’s website to read his impressive resume and find out more about him.  Todd has played professionally with The Florida Philharmonic, The New World Symphony, Ray Charles, The Woody Herman Big Band and Natalie Cole among many others. While still an undergrad at UM, Todd became a featured member of one of Red Rodney’s last working quintets. He also recorded albums with Phil Flanigan, Duffy Jackson, Dennis Marks and the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band. Before completing his masters degree, Todd moved to New York City, where in the space of two years he performed with Maria Schneider, John Fedchock, Rich Perry, Ingrid Jensen, Donny McCaslin and Rick Margitza as well as leading his own group playing in The Knitting Factory and other venues.

If you take a listen to the video below and check out the transcriptions you will see and hear a lot of fresh modern lines being played by Todd.  Here are a couple of things that immediately stood out to me:

  • Todd almost always always makes use of the #11 on the dominant #11 chords.  Look through the transcription and take a look at every dominant #11 chord and you will see that #11 somewhere in the line.  He obviously has shed his dominant #11  in all 12 keys quite extensively…….
  • Todd flat kills the altered dominant sound on the V7 chords of ii-V-I progressions.  He is obviously quite comfortable with these lines and he approaches them from many different angles.  Analyze some of these and you see plenty of melodic minor lines, tritone substitutions, etc……..He weaves in and out of these concepts flawlessly……..
  • I also love how Todd is not constrained by the bar lines.  There are many examples where he anticipates the line by 1,2,3 and even 4 beats.  Measure 15 is a great example where he goes into the D altered sound 4 beats before the D7 even sounds.  Also in measure 29 he anticipates another D altered 2 beats early.  In measure 13 he anticipates the F melodic minor line 2 beats before the E7 hits.  There are many more examples of this as well when you start analyzing the solo.
  • I love the places where Todd takes an idea and continues it through a number of chords changing the notes as he travels through the chords.  Check out measures 19-26.  Measures 97-104 is the bomb!
  • Lastly, I love the angular shapes of the lines and the modern sound of these lines.  Yes, Todd uses fragments and lines from the tradition of bebop but the lines are mixed in with more modern concepts in such a way that it sounds smooth and seamless.  Great stuff!

Bottom line, this is a great transcription to study and learn some of the modern concepts being used today by jazz players.  Todd DelGiudice is a great player and has done his work to create his own sound and style that is for sure.  I am glad he posted this practice session on Facebook and doubly glad that he transcribed it for all of us. Thanks Todd!  Please check out Todd DelGiudice through the links above and check out his recordings.   I’m looking forward to hearing more from him in the future!

[jwplayer mediaid=”64460″]

Todd DelGiudice Shedding on Cherokee in 12 Keys

Todd DelGiudice Solo on Cherokee in all Keys-Alto Sax Mp3 (Right click and choose “save link as” to download mp3 to your computer)



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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. Good stuff Steve, I love your enthusiasm for the music. DelGiudice sounds like he’s been influenced by Lee Konitz quite a bit, similar sound and style. Looking at bar 15 on the first transcription it looks like he’s using a substitute based on the flat nine of the D7 chord or perhaps the flat five of the D7 or a combo of both resolving nicely to the G Major chord. I love that kind of stuff. It sounds just great. Thanks for posting this!

  2. Avatar Todd DelGiudice says

    Thanks, Rob. Lee Konitz is my hero for sure! There are others, of course, but he is my guiding light as an artist for at least the last 10 years. The whole Tristano school has fascinated me for many years and I love learning and studying and playing the contrafacts of Tristano, Konitz and Marsh, all 3 geniuses in their own right. Their work is an endless well of inspiration for me. Cheers!

  3. This is really great: Todd is killing, the work on the transcription is beautiful done and it is giving much deserved attention to a player that is absolutely underrated by everyone except for those who are aware of his work and can hear how exceptional he is. Beautiful on all sides. Thanks for posting and hope this brings you both some recognition and much deserved money.

  4. Thanks Rob! Means a lot coming from you, sir.

  5. I got to meet Lee Konitz when I moved to Los Angeles to study with Don Raffell:
    This was around 1981 and I was also playing in the Pasadena City College big band that was at that time led by Gary Foster (a great musician in his own right, and was called the busiest musician in Los Angeles), another altoist who was influenced by Konitz. Konitz was a guest artist for a concert and he wrote several arrangements using some Tristano and his own compositions for the concert. He was very modest and unassuming. A very nice man.
    Someone brought a stroboscope tuner to the concert and he said he could never tune up to one of those. He played several solos in the concert and sounded fantastic. Those were fun times!

  6. Todd Delgiudice this is awesome I have not been able to get past the first and second chorus, it’s like a bible book of 251 that one will use for ever…. Thanks a lot for sharing……..

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