John Coltrane’s solo on “Blues to You”
Today I wanted to share the result of my recent work on John Coltrane’s solo on “Blues to You”, a track that is on the album “Coltrane Plays the Blues”.
John Coltrane is truly one of my favorite jazz musicians. I really like the construction of his musical phrases which I find absolutely brilliant. I hope some of you will discover and appreciate this musician, if you don’t know him yet!
To take inspiration from Coltrane and try to incorporate elements of his playing into my own, I decided to memorize all of his solo on “Blues to you”, which is one of my favorite solos. I have also reworked isolated phrases from this solo in different keys, in order to integrate them into other jazz standards.
How I got started
I started to pick up this solo a few years ago, then I gave up, resumed, gave up… As the piece lasts almost 6 minutes 30 and the solo lasts for the whole piece, it was very long! I started by picking it up by voice, that is to say by scatting it, then on the violin. I haven’t yet written a single note of the solo, I’ve only done it by ear, and in my head! Suffice to say that this work is tedious and extremely long. But that’s how you memorize a solo really well, as I explain in this article on picking up solos.
This time I decided to finish it once and for all, and post it!! Here is the result…
Now for a brief biography of John Coltrane:
John Coltrane (sometimes nicknamed “Trane”) was an American jazz saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, born in Hamlet, North Carolina on and died in Long Island, New York, on .
He is, after Charlie Parker in the 1940s and 1950s, considered the most revolutionary and influential saxophonist in the history of jazz, a leader of the avant-garde movement in the 1960s, and one of the most important musicians of the second half of the twentieth century.
Coltrane always sought to excel on all fronts: technically, exploring new modes of expression, seeking new sounds, new timbres and new ways to extend the range and dynamics of the saxophone; stylistically, managing to broaden the horizons of the thematic and harmonic development of this instrument by combining improvisation with warmth of timbre, dynamics and rhythm; personally by conceiving his music as a spiritual quest.
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