Category Archives: baritone saxophone

Lew Del Gatto – Peter Gunn Theme

Here’s the last solo from the Peter Gunn Theme that I’m going to post, maybe the last Blues Brothers solo, we’ll see (for awhile).

Lew plays a great solo on this track. I don’t feel as though I quite replicated his sound on this one. He’s got a really strong upper register with a hint of growl to it. I never really solo on bari, I pretty much just play low, punchy notes. So this is good for me to work on.

I love how in-the-pocket his playing is in the first part of the solo. Really authoritative and driving. He does a couple trills at the end to wind things down. Nice and simple but effective.

Enjoy!

@SdartSax

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Lew Del Gatto – Sweet Home Chicago (Bari)

For my first post back after surgery, I decided to go with an old favorite. As a kid growing up in Chicago in the 70s and 80s, few movies had a bigger impact on me than the Blues Brothers. This song in particular touches my heart, and the playing on it is great, so what better place to start?

This solo really swings, and I really love how he utilizes the full range of the horn. I play a lot of bari and use a lot of air, but I really struggled in spots to drive the whole phrase through to the end with the power that I needed. These are long phrases!

Harmonically, the solo is super straightforward, which is one of the things I love about it. C# (concert E) is a real ‘guitar key’, not always fun for an Eb transposing horn player to get around in, but he plays it beautifully with simple pentatonics, and very sparing use of the flat five for emphasis.

Update: I’m updating this post to credit Lew Del Gatto with the solo. Lew attributes the solos to himself in his bio (https://www.lewdelgatto.com/bio) and this is backed up by the fact that he was in the SNL house band (where the Blues Brothers originated) in the early days. Discogs.com gives him a vague credit of ‘horns’ on the track (citation)

Enjoy!

@SdartSax

Scott Dart – Bring the Funky Back, Pt. 2

Some would probably say that it’s a waste of time (and perhaps a little self-absorbed and/or indulgent) to transcribe your own solos. Those people are probably right!

But I realized that I had been posting a few other Doctorfunk transcriptions, so why not post one of my own? This one is barely eight measures, so don’t get too excited.

You’ll notice that there are two ‘Bring the Funky Backs’ on the album. Originally, these were the same song. What eventually became ‘Part 2’ was the ending to ‘Part 1’.

The tempo and feel are obviously very different, but I had this complex transition worked out where the triplet of the first part became the quarter of the second part, so it sped up. We even played it like live for awhile. But the transition never felt natural, and it certainly wasn’t good to dance to!

Several people suggested that we break it in to two separate songs, which eventually we did when we started working with Jeff to put the album together. Producers can be an invaluable source of impartial, outside advice. And when you have big ears and great ideas like Jeff Tamalier does, it’s not hard to get people to listen.

So we broke this into two tunes, and part two became an up-tempo jam with lots of solos, similar to TOP songs like Squib Cakes and Ebony Jam.

I love Greg’s trumpet solo in the earlier part of the tune, and I will probably transcribe that next. My ‘solo’ is nothing special. I’m basically trading bars with the ‘melody’, filling in around the vocals. I had never solo’d when we played the song live, but we had some down time in the studio and Jeff asked me if I wanted to blow a little. He just let the jam run and I put down a few dozen licks. When it came time to edit, he pulled out four that he liked.

It wasn’t something that was planned. Honestly, I would have over-thought it if we had planned on it. Instead, I just had to drop in and play without thinking, which worked fine. A handful of pentatonic/blues scale runs – nothing special.

I don’t actually enjoy soloing on bari with Doctorfunk. The setup I use I really optimized to bark out low, loud, short notes. So I’m not a fan of my sound in the middle and upper registers, and there’s basically no nuance to the sound. It’s exactly what I need for the section parts, but when it comes to soloing, I like to say that it feels like tap dancing in moon boots.

Enjoy!

@SdartSax

The Fascination Movement – In Code

From time to time, I get asked to do studio projects for people. Over the years, I’ve done a few collaborations with The Fascination Movement. One of those tracks has been released, it’s called “In Code”:

They describe themselves as: electronic, alternative, dance, synthpop

You can find more of their music at Bandcamp: https://thefascinationmovement.bandcamp.com/

For this track, I recorded a bunch of solo lines on Bari sax that they then edited into the mix. I think it sounds pretty cool!

Portrait of Tracy – SATB Sax Quartet arrangement

Even though I’m a saxophonist, I’ve always been drawn to Jaco Pastorius’ music, especially his solo bass work. Fortunately, there are many recordings of this work, but this track is perhaps the most famous (and rightly so). And it’s certainly my favorite.

Many of his solo performances involved looping and other effects, but not this track. It’s just beautifully written, with intricate harmonies and rhythms. It occurred to me one day as I was listening to it that Jaco made all of this amazing music with just four strings. Four voices. What would it sound like to perform this piece on four different instruments?

So I set out to arrange it for SATB saxophone quartet. The arrangement process was pretty straightforward. I didn’t add or remove anything from Jaco’s performance. I just de-constructed it into four distinct parts. I slowed parts of it down considerably to let the harmonies breathe more, and make it more playable. I also made the creative choice to dictate the length of the many fermattas through the use of held notes and time signature changes where needed. This reduces the need for conducting.

It also allowed me to put together a click track so I could perform all four parts myself. This was no small feat. I’ve played the piece with a live quartet, and it’s very difficult to play (especially the alto and bari parts). The rhythms have to be perfect, and you have to work hard to both pay attention to, and ignore the other players at the same time!

The result is the video below. Although I don’t normally like to do this, I did make some edits to fix some of the bigger mistakes that I made. My goal was to represent the arrangement in the best light that I could.

The piece is so beautiful and it truly defies classification – is it Jazz? Classical? Other? I think that it would be a great choice for a recital piece, or for any small ensemble performance.

The PDF contains the score with the four transposed parts. Feel free to contact me if you want copies of the parts themselves, or if you’d like it re-arranged for different instruments.

If you end up performing it, send me a video, I’d love to hear it!

Enjoy!

@SDartSax