Here are 10 random solos that I really like. Now that I’ve compiled the playlist I can think of many other solos that are equally great but this 10 will have to do. I’ll do another 10 soon. If you’re lucky enough to live in a country where Spotify works you can click on the link to hear the playlist:
Charlie Parker – Embraceable You
Parker’s solo on this is just incredible. He sounds so lyrical and free on it; every phrase is perfect. I made an album with Martin Speake and we used the solo on this track. We play phrases from Parker’s solo and improvise in-between them.
Emily Remler – Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
I love this arrangement of Softly. Emily plays the tune with harmonics and octaves, and plays an utterly burning solo full of triplety goodness. The CD that this is from, East To Wes, is a classic; every track’s a winner. One of my favourite guitarists. Here’s my transcription of her solo. The Hotlicks DVDs she made were great too.
Charlie Christian – Boy Meets Goy (Grand Slam)
I first heard about this solo because Jim Hall mentions it as being one of his favourites. The feel he gets is so powerful; he really lays into it. Also, the arrangement and ensemble playing are great too.
George Benson – The Cooker
Benson shredding right from the off here. Again, the whole record is classic; as is the other record from this period [It’s Uptown]. There’s so much to like in Benson’s playing but one of the things that grabs me about the way he plays on this album is how energetically he plays. Amongst everything else :)
John Coltrane – Satellite
Love this solo. It’s a trio of sax, bass and drums. The tune is based on How High The Moon and Coltrane uses his giant steps cycle thing on it, but in a way that’s more interesting to play over than Giant Steps. Also I like the trance-like intensity of it. And I love the way Elvin Jones starts every new chorus after the vamp.
John Scofield – Do Like Eddie [Eddie Harris]
It’s Eddie Harris that does it for me on this track; Scofield is no slouch either! The feel Eddie gets is great as well as how he can seem to split ideas up and carry them on at the same time. He’s all over the saxophone on this. Ridiculous. Check out these Eddie Harris tracks too: Is It In and Cryin’ Blues
Larry Goldings – Little Green Men [Peter Bernstein]
Peter Bernstein plays guitar on this. I love this trio and this album and this tune! This Bernstein solo is a classic; so relaxed and melodic.
Lennie Tristano – Line Up
I think this and East Thirty-Second are my favourite ‘8th-notey’ solos ever. They’re just staggering. They deserve an entire blog post really as there’s so much in them. Also interesting for when they were done and how they were done – will do that soon.
Pat Metheny – All the Things You Are
There’s so much good stuff in this solo. The phrasing is the thing, and how they mess around with the barlines/rhythm.
Wes Montgomery – D-Natural Blues
A total classic. Maybe it’s just because I’ve heard it a lot, but it the whole solo sounds like a song. Someone must have put words to it somewhere?
Right, I’m off to remind myself how to play them all. The whole playlist is an hour so it makes a great practice session to play all that lot. Much more beneficial and enjoyable than playing triads over bass notes :)