Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Kenny Garrett & Jazz Articulation

One of the subjects that doesn't get enough attention from jazz teachers is articulation. I've posted guidelines for it before here. Today's post is a follow up with a transcription. I thought I'd show the alto players some love, so I took a Kenny Garrett transcription, and transcribed the articulation. Here is the solo from Song 8 (solo starts around 57 seconds, and it's burning):



And here is a link to a PDF of the transcription.

You'll notice some unconventional markings on the transcription. I've used the letter d to mark notes that are tongued with a doodle tongue. A doodle tongue is essentially when a player gently places their tongue on the reed off-center for the entire duration of a note. This creates an articulation at the beginning of the note, mutes the note, and then pops out the next note when you release the tongue. Both of these techniques are integral to jazz saxophone articulation. They've been around for a hundred years, and they are rarely taught or marked on transcriptions. In fact, this is the first time I've wrote them out myself.

You will also see the notation (s s) under notes. For these, subtone both of the notes. Also, doodle tongue the first note, and hold the tongue on the reed through both notes. Because you are also subtoning, you will likely need to use the tip of your tongue. Release the tongue to articulate the note that follows.

Hopefully, this transcription helps you figure out some of the more subtle parts of playing improvised jazz. Good luck!

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