Herb Hardesty I’m Walking Tenor Sax Solo Transcription

Today, I am sharing a unique tenor saxophone solo transcription that is in a totally different genre of music than I usually listen to or transcribe.  This is Herb Hardesty’s great tenor saxophone solo on the 1957 rock n’roll song “I’m Walking” by Fats Domino.

I have to be honest and admit that I haven’t listened to much of this kind of music as I grew up.  A subscriber of my site who downloads lessons every months asked me if I could do a lesson on this tenor sax solo on “I’m Walking” which prompted me to create this transcription and make a video lesson for it here:  50’s Rock n’ Roll Tenor Sax-I’m Walking-Lesson. (If you would like more insight on this great solo, you can check out this 9.99 video lesson I taught on it as well)

Herb Hardesty

When I first started gigging in the New England area many years ago, my first experience with playing this kind of music was in a band called the “Marsels”.  We used to do a lot of the “oldies” concerts around the New England area and it was pretty cool to be playing at venues with tens of thousands of people digging the oldies tunes we were playing. I remember listening and practicing to these types of tunes as I worked on copying the style of these great solos (lots of 16th note articulations, growling, bends and scoops on the tenor saxophone).

To my shame, I hadn’t heard of Herb Hardesty before transcribing this solo, even though I have heard this tune and solo countless times over the course of my life.  Unfortunately, Herb Hardesty died in 2016 at the age of 91.  His obituary (Herb Hardesty Obituary) has an extensive list of some highlights from his life and playing career.

Herb Hardesty I’m Walking Tenor Sax Solo (Starts at :40)

You can check out the Herb Hardesty “I’m Walking” tenor sax solo below.  In my mind, the most important element in playing a solo like this is the ability to feel the sixteenth note subdivisions.  Many students that have trouble with these types of rhythms and articulations haven’t practiced their sixteenth note rhythms.  It’s not enough to just feel the beat of the song but you have to work on feeling each sixteenth note and the variety of rhythms that different combinations of these sixteenth notes can create.  With sixteenth note rhythms, you are either locked in and in the pocket of the groove or you are not.

I hope you enjoy this tenor sax solo.  Thanks to Herb Hardesty and the many contributions he has made to the saxophone and music during his 91 years with us. If you have any thoughts on Herb Hardesty, I’m Walking, Fats Domino, or life in general,  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.   Thanks,  Steve

Herb Hardesty I’m Walking Tenor Sax Solo-Bb PDF

50’s Rock n’ Roll Tenor Sax-I’m Walking-Lesson 9.99

In this lesson, I take you through a 50’s Rock n’ Roll classic tenor saxophone solo by Herb Hardesty on “I’m Walking” by Fats Domino.  This is a great lesson to study if you are interested in this style of tenor sax playing.  I was unable to find this transcription anywhere on the internet so decided to do it myself.

By studying and practicing the elements involved in this solo, you will be solidifying your knowledge of 16th note rhythms and  gaining more dexterity with your articulations.  I take you through each beat of this solo and teach you how to think about the rhythms and how to practice them for the best results.

This is a classic tenor sax solo in this genre of music and is a must to study if you want to be a well rounded saxophone player. I demonstrate the rhythms and lines in this transcription on the tenor saxophone. (PDF Bb Transcription of Herb Hardesty on I’m Walking Tenor Sax Solo, 54 Minute Video Lesson)

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 Neffmusic.com.


  1. Avatar Noah Osnos says

    This is a deceptively hard solo to play. Like Clarence Clemmons (who certainly had Herb as an influence, along with Junior Walker), there is so much tone and time sliding, while still staying in the groove. From this to Turrentine to Brecker….

  2. Avatar Pete parkinson says

    Hi Steve congrats for the great advice and help over the years could you please send your Michael brecker licks. Thanks Pete parkinson

    • Pete, You get the Brecker Licks by signing up for my newsletter. Right after you sign up you get emailed a welcome email and at the bottom is a link to download the Brecker licks. If you signed up for the newsletter and didn’t see the email make sure you check your spam or junk folders as sometimes the email might get redirected to those folders. Let me know if you can’t find that email and I can send them again to you. Steve

  3. Avatar Gary Hartle says

    Maybe it was Hardesty – sure sounds a lot like Lee Allen, but they were together with Fats for a long time. It is hard to play because its so different – no other solo like it. Interesting that I’m working on it right now for a ’50s show I work with. They do it in ‘G’ rather than the record ‘Ab’ but I’m used to that, having played in ‘guitar bands’ most of my life. You have to learn both solos, the first and the closing one because they’re different. I’ll usually learn something like this in 4-bar pieces then work on the finer points of making it sound right. Then you have to come up with an ending and its not exactly easy to get out of that with any kind of finale. Anyway, I don’t sound like Hardesty or Lee Allen but I get into that mode by relaxing and trying to let it flow.

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