Dexter Gordon Tenor Sax Solo Transcription of You Stepped Out of a Dream

A couple of months ago I received an email asking me if I could transcribe Dexter Gordon’s solo on “You Stepped Out of a Dream” from the Youtube video below with Dexter Gordon and Oscar Peterson.  I clicked on the video and agreed with the person that sent the email that this was an amazing solo that should be transcribed.

If you don’t know who Dexter Gordon is, he was an iconic tenor saxophone player who was one of the first to play bebop on the tenor saxophone.  He had a unique sound and tone that was all his own.  Most tenor player’s can pick out Dexter Gordon’s playing with just a few measure of playing.  He had a fat, full and robust tenor saxophone tone and had a way of laying back on the beat that was ridiculously cool!

This is a great solo with some incredible lines and those iconic “Dexter”melodic cliches that are well worth learning.  Trust me, if you want to improve your jazz feel, the best thing you can do is to listen to and play along with Dexter Gordon.  He swings like no other!!!!  Enjoy!

You Stepped Out of a Dream-Dexter Gordon and Oscar Peterson (solo starts at :44 mark)

You’ve Stepped Out of a Dream-Dexter Gordon Solo Clip

You Stepped Out of a Dream-Dexter Gordon-Bb
You Stepped Out of a Dream-Dexter Gordon-C

PS.  I’d love to hear what you think of this great Dexter solo in the comments below!

If you love these type of solo lines, be sure to check out my PDF books Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale and Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale-Book 2, which both include a ton of jazz vocabulary that I have written out in all 12 keys. These lines are the foundation to building a great jazz vocabulary!!


Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale


Mastering the Dominant Bebop Scale-Book 2

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. Steve…. really great solo. I will say its much easier for me to understand the lines Dexter
    is laying down when compared with a modern great like Danny Walsh. I love Danny but just don’t seem to easily get those outside 16th runs he so effortlessly lays down. Playing live I would always sound more like Dexter than Danny.

  2. I happen to have worked with Dex back in the day. His whole being was laid back, just the way he played.

  3. I remember asking Dex if he practiced a lot; b-I-g pause, then very slowly “Noooo’.

  4. Avatar Dan OReilly says

    Thanks Steve, for providing another closer look at a master tenorman. Dexter is one of my all time favorites, and I am looking forward to digging deeper into this solo. I had written a contrafact on these changes for my band, and woodshedding this will bring some new ideas to my performances. Much appreciated.

  5. Hi Steve,
    Dex, with Trane, Bird, Jackye McLean, Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins, of course are among my favorite and beloved and over respected, iconic and historic saxophonists; in the same Blue Note record from which it is “You stepped out of a dream” (“A swinging affair”, a title that already says it all) there is my most beloved and beautiful ballad ever written that, also for particular reasons, I it is particularly striking when listening, especially in the version of Dex:
    “Do not explain”,
    by Billie Holiday and A. Herzog Jr.,
    really interpreted in a masterly, poignant and unsurpassed manner (I apologize for all the other saxophonists).
    What do you think…?

  6. Guys Don’t take me the wrong way, but everything Dex ever played was in that solo.

  7. Thanks Steve for doing this Dexter solo. He is my favorite tenor player. You did a great and accurate job with this transcription that I am enjoying playing along with. I look forward to all of your transcriptions, but I will have an eye out for the transcriptions you do of Dexter. I saw Dexter in 1978 at the Village Vanguard, and every sax player on the planet from Michael Brecker to everyone you can think of was in the club. What a sound he had.

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