David Sanborn – Pyramid

Continuing through the Close-Up album after my long detour into Prince’s catalog, this is track #6: Pyramid.

This track is an excellent workout for playing altissimo smoothly over the break. The opening line of the melody is a four-note motif starting on altissimo G and descending to F#, E, and down to B. There’s a variation which goes G-A-F#-E as well.

These figures happen no fewer than eight times in this track. I can play these figures reasonably well, but not well enough that I would write a tune built on them that I would have to record and play live hundreds of time! Although doing so would certainly be a forcing function for learning it better…

He plays an E minor pentatonic/blues scale pretty much exclusively throughout the track, but there are a couple of lines in this solo that really knock me out. I love. In the eight bar of his solo, he does a beautiful chromatic turnaround from the B7 to the E-7. Interestingly, he repeats the same pattern (not transposed) as a passing phrase over the D in the sixth bar of the second solo.

I also love the A-G-E-D 12 over 8 pattern that he uses to build into the climax of the first solo and again at the end of the fade. The rhythmic play works so well because he executes it perfectly!

FYI, this is the first transcription that I’ve done off of this album in over 25 years! The ones I posted previously were done when I was back in high school and only given a cursory once over as I transferred them from paper to Finale. That’s as far as I had transcribed into the album at the time. So from here on out these are all fresh! Hopefully you’ll notice an improvement in the quality of the transcriptions from old to new. If not, that either means I was perfect to begin with, or I haven’t learned anything in the past 25 years 🙂



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