I've been working on transcription for a long time, as it is well recognised as part of the key towards unlocking the tradition of jazz improvisation. However, I've never before found a way of transcribing that actually works for me. For years, I thought that just working out language and solos that I liked would be enough and that by some kind of osmosis it would transform my playing. I tried whole solos, I tried individual lines in many keys, I tried writing it out and I tried learning only from memory. However, memory is the part that failed me and it took a long time to realise that the problem wasn't with remembering but with how I was going about learning things.
This is the first in a series of transcription blogs. I have chosen to learn whole chorus's of solos as I'm looking to improve my time feel, articulation and tone as well as learn some jazz language in the process.
Thus, I learnt to sing the solo section by section and then as a whole, before working out the lines bit by bit and practicing playing them along with the record, trying to mimic the original as closely as possible. Finally I did a quick (nowhere near perfect) recording of my progress and then have typed up a copy of the transcription if you want to check it out/follow along/use it for any purpose.
PS. If anyone reading this has a good way of notating a pitch bend (used as articulation), as in bars 13, 16, 29 and 31 of the head of this tune please let me know. Aware that my way of writing it is strange but couldn't think of a better alternative!
Three O'Clock in the Morning Transcription (Bb)
Three O'Clock in the Morning Transcription (Eb)
Three O'Clock in the Morning Transcription (C)