Sirius XM's Carolina Shag channel has had me listening to a lot of 40s-50s-60s R&B lately. Much of these songs have short, punchy sax solos. Here are some examples of songs I heard on Carolina Shag recently:
Although these solos are not terribly complicated, they are beautifully crafted and really add guts to the song. These songs had to be jukebox friendly and could not exceed around 3 minutes so it was important to say what you wanted to say in a short space, grab the listener immediately, and not let them go until the short solo is finished. Were these types of solos written beforehand or were they improvised on the spot? I have been trying to transcribe many of these solos and I find a wealth of creativity within a limited space. My guess is that these were partly improvised over a general plan formulated beforehand, but I do not know for sure. I am just wondering because it will take me some time to feel like a I can belt out a solo like this with the confidence and swagger needed to really pull it off. Some people may dismiss this kind of sax solo as easy stuff but I never have and after some study I am even more impressed with what these greats of the past were able to do.