I have been playing a ton of saxophone solo transcriptions lately. I decided to work on some Charlie Parker solos from the Be-Bop bible, the Omnibook, on my tenor sax that I already played on the alto sax. There is a problem here. The Bb Omnibook has to go to quite a bit of left-handed pinky work in order to keep the integrity of the original key signature alive. Now, I don’t profess myself to be the first-call reed person in Denver, Colorado, but I have been in the shed a bit. And there is no way I can move my pinky on the low end keys at 200+ beats per minute. When my Tenor Sax students ask me about playing be-bop, playing Charlie Parker solos, I am advising them, and the world, to look to the experts of your chosen instrument! While it is important to cop some great Parker riffs for the tenor (he even played tenor once or twice!) get the tenor feel with these guys: Coltrane, Dexter Gordan, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt… I think that any be-bop phrasing needs on the tenor can be met by studying Sonny Stitt alone! You will find plenty of Charlie Parker inside of Sonny Stitt’s playing. Yes, I am a big fan.
Here are two great websites to find transcriptions, both for Bb and Eb:
This guy is an incredible player and an incredible transcriber!
Some great Parker licks, in all keys!
PS. Tim Price, you are the man! Your exercises changed my playing!