Transcription of Kelly Jefferson’s Solo on Confirmation

Here’s a new transcription from another great tenor saxophone player I hadn’t heard of before.  His name is Kelly Jefferson and he is a musician based out of Toronto Canada.  I was browsing the internet late one night this week and somehow came across this Youtube video of Kelly Jefferson playing Confirmation with the Jason Stillman Quartet.  As soon as Kelly’s tenor sax solo started at the :50 second mark I decided I wanted to transcribe it.

Someone emailed me a few weeks ago thanking me for all my transcriptions of new players they had never heard of before but they asked “Steve, why do you spend time finding and transcribing these young players when there are still so many solos of the greats out there that need to be transcribed?  Dexter, Bird, Coltrane, Cannonball, etc…….”

In response, I guess my thinking is that when I find a young or new player that has obviously done their homework and transcribe their solo, I feel like I am getting a glimpse into all the knowledge that that player has sifted through and assimilated. In the solo below are some amazing lines and melodic ideas that I love.  When I transcribed Kelly’s solo I feel like I am taking and learning from the best lines and ideas Kelly has practiced over the last 20-30 years.  He has obviously listened to a ton of jazz and practiced the tar out of the saxophone so when I transcribe his solo I am getting a look into the best lines and ideas that he has sifted through over the last couple decades.  I don’t look at this as learning from just Kelly Jefferson but learning from the tradition as Kelly has digested it and then is adding to it.   Hope that makes sense.

What do I love about Kelly’s solo?  First off, I love his strong powerful tone!  From the beginning of the solo I was taken by how in your face his sound is.  It’s like he’s bringing it all to the table if you know what I mean.  I love it when I hear a tenor player play like this.

The second thing I love is his melodic ideas.  I guess I am at an age where I would rather hear a great melody that swings than a tetratonic scale played in every variation and inversion possible.  Kelly delivers for me on that count.  There are a ton of great ideas and motives to pull from and use within this solo!  I would love to know the genesis of many of these lines. Even at the beginning of the solo from the :50-:60 mark there is a simple melodic idea that sounds so familiar.  I love it!

Kelly Jefferson

Although Kelly Jefferson is a new name for me, I am looking forward to hearing more from him in the future that is for sure.  Here is a quote from Kelly Jefferson’s bio page from his website:

Toronto-based saxophonist, composer and educator Kelly Jefferson has a Bachelor of Music degree from McGill University in Montreal and a Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Kelly has performed with the The National Arts Centre Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Maria Schneider, Bill Holman, Ray Anderson, Kenny Werner, Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Al Jarreau, Michel LeGrand, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade, as well as Ray Brown, Sonny Fortune, Randy Brecker, Renee Rosnes, Johnny Mathis, Russell Malone, Joey DeFrancesco, and Dee Dee Bridgewater, among others.

Kelly has toured extensively in Canada, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Europe, South Korea and China, including a nine-month tour in 2000 as the tenor saxophonist with legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson.-read more of Kelly’s bio

If you want to find out more about saxophonist Kelly Jefferson you can read more about him at or you can do a search for him on Youtube to hear more of his live playing.  Thanks Kelly!

Kelly Jefferson

Kelly Jefferson soloing on Confirmation (the solo starts at the :50 mark)

Confirmation-Only Kelly Jefferson Tenor Sax Solo Mp3(Right click and choose “save link as” to download mp3 to your computer)
Confirmation-Kelly Jefferson 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. Avatar Michael Johnson says

    I certainly appreciate the transcriptions of new players. There are so many transcriptions of the masters done, but very few of fresh players. You’re right that you get a glimpse of where they are coming from, but also you get to see what new stuff is being played: the future so to speak. Also, at some point of study, you know what’s coming next for the masters: you can be reasonably sure what Stitt’s (or any deeply studied master) next turnaround is. With young cats, you may be surprised.

    TL;DR I appreciate the fresh focus and keep up the good work

  2. Great work…
    Kelly’s a fave around here in Toronto.
    You wrote:
    “from the :50-:60 mark there is a simple melodic idea that sounds so familiar. I love it!”

    That was a quote of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
    You’re welcom😉🎹

  3. Hi Steve,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to do this. I’m completely floored, actually!

    The video was from a gig in Montreal in July of 2013.

    The rest of the band is:

    Jason Stillman – alto
    Josh Rager – piano
    Paul Rushka – bass
    Dave Laing- drums

    I appreciate your kind words, and really glad that this recording resonated with you. It brings back good memories of a fun night.

    I have so many “favourite” players, and continue to draw inspiration from many sources.

    Thanks again for this.

    Kind regards,
    Kelly Jefferson

    • Hi Kelly,
      Thank you for the great solo! I look forward to hearing more from you in the future! Keep up the great work! Steve

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