Tag Archives: Candy Dulfer

Candy Dulfer – Xotica

I’m so glad that I found this album, and this track in particular. It’s my favorite by far. It’s a very beautiful ballad. The track opens with a bass pattern that repeats throughout the track. Candy comes in with some beautiful improvisation. Although there are drums and keys in the background, it feels more to me like a duet between the bass and alto. The bass and alto do play the melody line together at the end of the track, but it’s fairly short. I could listen to this for hours – I wish they had stretched it out more!

I’m hard pressed to categorize this as anything other than jazz. In a way it reminds of me of old ‘fusion’ tracks from bands like Steps Ahead or the Yellowjackets. Candy’s tone is so beautiful on this track – bright but soulful. And she doesn’t overplay anything, it’s very tastefully done throughout and builds gently to a beautiful conclusion.

Ballads are always the most challenging to transcribe. The time feels so loose and the subdivisions are so precise. I had to pull out all of my tricks to accurately capture what was happening rhythmically. And then I went back to simplify things a bit to make it actually readable.

Even so, it’s a challenge to play – not because of the technique but because of the rhythms. This is one of those cases where it would be much easier to memorize the track than it would be to read it, but both are valuable skills to have.

Note – the track I have skips a half a beat six bars from the end. I don’t know why, it sounds like a bad edit. I tried to fill in the blanks as best I could and then play around the edit.



Candy Dulfer – Xogenous

Continuing with the Xpectation album…There are a bunch of cool Candy Dulfer solos on this album. My biggest complaint is that they are too short!

The credits list her as playing ‘electric saxophone’ on a few tracks (not this one), which I interpret to mean EWI/WX. The funny thing is, have an EWI (and a WX11 before that), and was deeply into it for many years. I have WAY too much gear for it, along with all of the special patches, etc. that go along with it. I even spent time writing software for it, which led to my first job at Microsoft, but that’s a story for a different day…

But I’ve kind of gotten over the EWI. I rarely play it, and apart from some of Michael Brecker’s early work with it, listening to someone play it on a recording doesn’t do anything for me. That’s even more true on a Prince record because I don’t really know who is playing what. There are a ton of synth parts everywhere, so I can’t even tell that Candy’s playing it.

I’m too in love with the organic sound of the acoustic saxophone and its deep association with the player who created it. So I largely skipped over the ‘electronic saxophone’ tracks on this album and focused on the acoustic solos.

This tune is a latin-jazz feel, reminiscent of what you might hear on a Return to Forever album (albeit with more modern production values). The solo is only 16 bars, but I like it a lot. It’s easy to play and showcases Candy’s beautiful tone to great effect. I especially like the rhythmic play in bars 9-11.



Candy Dulfer – Xemplify

This album took some digging to find, but I’m glad I did. It further demonstrates how diverse Prince’s catalog (and talent) was.

I have to say that this album is a little uneven, but it has moments of sheer brilliance as well. I could only describe it as ‘jazz’. Some of the tracks feel reminiscent of the later Miles Davis electric funk/jazz explorations. What a collaboration that would have been if Miles and Prince had gotten together.

This track is a pretty straight ahead medium-tempo hard swing feel. I really like Candy’s approach to the solo. She has some very nice lines including some incredibly clean double-time and altissimo runs that step the difficulty up a notch.

I really liked the melody so I included the short passage after the solo as well.



Candy Dulfer – Everlasting Now (Vamp)

This is the last solo from the Prince One Night Alone – Live box set! I hope you’re not sick of it, because I’m not 🙂

Fittingly, this is the actual last track – a reprise of Everlasting Now. Candy and Maceo both solo’d on this track on disc 2.

This is an eight bar solo, but it’s packed with lots of funky goodness. Candy does a fast 3-1-6-5 run is bars 4-6 that is very well executed. I love the lick in bars 7-8. The staccato attack really makes it (even though I totally blew it), and I love how she alternates between the minor and major third of the chord to great effect.

I included the 10 bars after the solo where she switches to background parts. It feels like she’s making them up since they change every time, but I liked how well she got out of her solo and jumped right back into a supporting role. What a pro!

You may notice that I’m back to my Mark VI alto for this one. The new Conn 6m is in the shop getting some TLC. It played great before (on most notes), but definitely needed some tweaking. I still love my Mark VI, but man do I miss the Conn!



Candy Dulfer – Ana Stesia

I’m almost done with this box set. One more Candy solo after this, and one more Najee solo.

Anna Stesia is a classic slow funk jam in (concert) C. Candy’s solo is short and sweet – only about 8 bars, with some fills after that, but she’s got some nice licks in there. Nothing too hard here, and just one high note to worry about. In bar 12, she’s trilling between E and G. I wasn’t sure if that was clear from the notation. The minor third trill is classic blues/funk/R&B/pop staple – it always works!

Listening back to my recording, my timing was pretty off in the first few bars. I should have done a few more takes!



Candy Dulfer – Everlasting Now

Here are the two Candy Dulfer solos from ‘Everlasting Now’. I posted the Maceo solo last time.

These are both pretty tough to play. The tempo is pretty fast, and she’s pulling out all of the stops with false fingerings, altissimo, and a freak-out to end each solo.

I don’t go too deeply into figuring out which alternate A fingering she’s using for which note. You can probably figure it out, but I don’t think the return on investment is worth it. I just go by feel for what I would play to achieve the similar effect.

The same goes for the ‘freak out’ effects at the end. On the first solo I generally get the idea that she holds the high A, then when she switches to G she basically starts trilling with the fingers of her right hand while moving between G-F-E. The embouchure helps turn the whole thing into a slide. The end of the second solo is basically a slide up to high B and then a lip/finger fall from there.

Good luck with this one – I could definitely use some more time in the practice room on them!



Candy Dulfer – Extraordinary

I’m still working my way through Prince’s “One Night Alone – Live” box set. Back to Candy this time.

This track is a great example of why I love this box set so much – it’s so diverse. The track starts off as a pop ballad, but transitions to a straight ahead jazz waltz. The whole solo is in 3/4 (which I need to do more of BTW), and has some nice lines in it. It’s very different from what you normally hear from Prince (or Candy for that matter).

Coincidentally, this happens to be my first post with my new Alto! I know it seems odd to christen a Conn with a Candy Dulfer transcription instead of a Cannonball one, but that’s life. I think it works really well! I probably won’t use it exclusively, the horn needs a lot of work, but I also need a lot of work on it. Today was the first chance I’ve really had to play it for more than a few minutes.

I love how responsive the altissimo is – I just need to teach my brain where to find the notes. My body wants to go where they are on my Mark VI, which doesn’t work on the Conn.