Confirmation: A Richie Cole Alto Sax Solo Transcription

I am not the world’s most accomplished jazz solo transcriber, but every time I tackle a project, I discover anew just how beneficial the discipline of transcribing jazz solos is. This latest transcription has kicked my butt. Richie Cole is–to put it in words you’ll rarely hear from a sedate, late-middle-aged Germanic male–one bad mofo on the alto sax. He has carved his niche as a bastion of bebop, and as such, his language is largely accessible. However, Richie has a way of interpolating material that requires serious effort to figure out exactly what the heck he’s doing.

So it is with his rendition here of the Charlie Parker standard “Confirmation.” Some of Richie’s rhythms and trills caused me to sweat blood for hours trying to at least approximate in a measure or two ideas that flew glibly from the man’s horn in the matter of a second.

The solo is transcribed from Richie’s 2007 CD The Man with the Horn. A quintessential bebop tune, “Confirmation” rips along at 246 beats per minute, providing Richie with a perfect vehicle to demonstrate his formidable chops and his broad bop vocabulary. Anyone who wants to gain mastery of Bird changes will profit from working on this one.

Note: I transcribed Richie’s solo for Eb instruments, specifically the alto sax. I haven’t attempted to show all of Richie’s slurs and nuances, just a few that I felt needed to be indicated. To get a real feel for his articulation, you’ll need to listen to the recording.

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