jeudi 25 novembre 2010


12/07/20 : hey, I've been transcribing (and vainly trying to play) Recall by Pierre de Bethmann.

01/05/20 : yay ! another Mehldau (incomplete) transcription : his version of Monk's Think of One, from his 10 Years solo live album.
An the leadhseet of a beautiful song by Anne Sylvestre, Une Sorcière comme les autres. 30/04/20 : some new stuff : some stride with Fats Waller's Baby Oh! Where can you be?.
I've also transcribed a Clare and the Reasons' song, Pluto, and the amazing music of the amazing movie Portrait de la Jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).

02/11/19 : a new Mary Lou Williams transcription : Mary's Special. Some nice harmonies, some stride, everything we need !

11/09/19 : after Waller's, here is Thelonious Monk's version of Tea for Two.
I also have Laurent Coq's version of Social Call, one of my favorite standards (remember my work on the original Gigi Gryce version ?)

09/09/19 : some new transcriptions : the theme of Fanfare by Marc Ducret ; and some kind-of-leadsheets of rock songs : Bones, Locket and Nina by Crumb (absolutely love their music), and Les Cigognes Nénuphars and Joe & Rose by Forever Pavot.

13/02/19 : hey, I just found out that I had a complete Bojan Z transcription that I forgot to post : 303 from Soul Shelter !

5/1/19 : wow, I guess that's the longuest transcription I've ever made… Introducing Mehldau's Rondo, from his 2018 album After Bach.
UPDATE : I made some minor changes in the score, and, by comparing with this video I realised that that piece was ENTIRELY written ! There is no improvisation !

mercredi 24 novembre 2010

Pierre de Bethmann

Pierre de Bethmann 4tet, songs from his 2012 album Go :
On Change
This tune is, like many other Bethmann's compositions, really complex and hard to play. I've notated the theme in 7/4 6/4 7/4 5/4, you could write it in 13/4 - 12/4 or another strange thing, it seemed right to me this way...

Another complex tune in 5/4 and 3/4. You can find the leadsheet (and some samples) on his website. The solo is uncomplete, but you can have a good idea of how Bethmann approachs this tune.

Pardi : Leadsheet and transcription
Same here : beautiful song, strange chords and odd metrics.

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Pierre de Bethmann trio, songs from his 2015 album Essais, vol 1 :
Based on Gabrie Fauré's song for cello and piano.

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Pierre de Bethmann solo, songs from At Barloyd's :
Recall (simplified lead sheet available here)
Another cool swinging tune with crazy rhythms !

Stefano Bollani

Theme only.

Guillaume de Chassy

From his amazing Piano Solo album :
Valse Dombelle
Slava, based on Prokofiev's first violin concerto. Impressive, beautiful, worth checking !

Steve Coleman

From Motherland Pulse (1985)
Wights Waits For Weights
The Glide Was In The Ride

From On the Edge of Tomorrow (1986)
Little one I'll miss you
Theme of this beautiful song, as sung by Cassandra Wilson.
Nine to Five

From On the Rising of th 64 Paths (2002)
Round Midnight
Beautiful live version of this marvellous song that you can find on a bonus track of the On the Rising of th 64 Paths album. Sax and guitar version.

From Weaving symbolics (2006)
Ritual trio (earth)
Fantastic mystic song, based on a simple but irregular structure (that makes it complicated...) Main theme and beginnig of the solo (2:50). Score in Eb and C.

Marc Copland

From Bookends, with Dave Liebman (2002) :

From the solo album Time Within Time (2004) :
Rivers Run

Laurent Coq

From Live at Duc des Lombards, with David el Malek and Olivier Zanot
Act up
Piece for 2 saxophones and piano.
Act up - Solo 1
Still incomplete, but…

From At Barloyd's (2018)
Social Call
A fantastic version of one of my favorite standards (leadsheet and transcription of Gigi Gryce's version is here !)

Chick Corea

Armando's Rhumba (Solo piano : Originals)
Impressive solo version of this great tune. 100% complete !

Bill Evans

IsraelExplorations (1961)
Wonderful version of this minor blues.

The two lonely peopleAlone (1968)
This song is on the bonus version of the album. It's a work-in-progress version : each song of the "official" record is made of different recordings edited together. The two lonely people is one take, in-progress, and wasn't meant to be heard like this, and yet it's really interesting – and beautiful.
I've transcribed the theme and the first solo, and they're just perfect.
The second solo is really different : it seems that Evans was throwing up ideas for and edited version. Then he just dashes the theme...

Édouard Ferlet

Édouard Ferlet published in 2012 a marvelous album called Think Bach, in wich he doesn't play Bach but play with Bach. His compositions are inspired by the Master's work, and modified in many ways

A la suite de Jean
This one is based on the famous Prelude from the 1rst cello suite. The theme is really beautiful, and it's followed by a free-improvisation. You can hear another improvisation in this video.

Inspired by Bach's preludio in C#M (here I've written in Db, which is much easier to read), from the Well-Tempered Klavier Book I, but instead of 3/8, it's in 5/8. Good luck ;)
You should check Brad Mehldau's version of the same prelude, Rondo, also on 5/4 !

Tigran Hamasyan

Two transcriptions from his solo album A Fable :
Someday my prince will come
The Spinners

Yaron Herman

Libera MeVariations
Wonderful version of this Fauré piece (from his Requiem)

Duke Jordan

From his 1975 album Flight to Denmark :
No Problem : transcription and lead sheet

Stéphane Kerecki

From Focus Danse, Stéphane Kerecki Trio, w/ Mathieu Donarier (sax) and Thomas Grimmonprez (drums) (2007)


Biréli Lagrène

Body and Soul
From the 1992 album Standards. There are only the first 16 bars, but it's still fine.

Brad Mehldau

Live in Marciac :
Lithium - The Nirvana song. This is how you make a piano rock ! (complete)
Dat Dere
Secret Love
It's Allright With Me

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Live in Tokyo :
Things Behind The Sun
Nick Drake song, Live in Tokyo version + intro of the Live in Marciac version !
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover
Paul Simon cover, you can find the leadsheet of the wonderful original song here !
Monk's Dream
Obviously an amazing Thelonious Monk cover.

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10 Years Solo Live :
Waltz for JB
And I Love Her (Beatles song)
Knives out (groovy Radiohead cover)
Think of One (Monk cover)

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Nearness, with Joshua Redman :
Always August
A wonderful Mehldau tune, you can find the leadsheet here.
In Walked Bud

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Other :
Hey You
A very symphonic rendition of Pink Floyd's classic (from a radio show, see here)

Crazy QuiltModern music, with Kevin Hayes and Patrick Zimmerli
Transcribing a 2 piano stuff is rather hard...

O Que SeraBrad Mehldau trio : Live
I haven't transcribed all the solos, but the main parts are here. Wonderful 2 hands counterpoint in here ! Notice the strange whole-tone modulations : Fm – Gm – Am – Bm – C#m etc.

TheloniousLive at la Villette
Amazing cover of the Thelonious Monk song. Listen to the original here.

Trailer Park GhostElegiac Cycle
Theme and beginnig of the solo

TeardropJazz à Vienne
Massive Attack cover, as seen on Jazz à Vienne 2010 video.


Monk's DreamLive at the Village Vanguard: The Art of the Trio Vol. 2

RondoAfter Bach
This one is based on the Prelude and Fugue in C sharp Major BWV 848 from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach. But guess what ? It's in 5/8 !
By comparing with this live version I realised that that piece was ENTIRELY written ! At first look, I thought that the part starting at measure 130 was an improvisation, and I thought that the 4/8 measures he plays sometimes were “mistakes”... It turns out it's perfectly thought : he plays exactly the same notes and the same rhythm on the live version !
You should check Édouard Ferlet's version of the same prelude called Réplique, also in 5/8 !

Giovanni Mirabassi

NY #1 - Live at Blue Note Tokyo
Theme only: Great tune.

My Broken Heart - Live at Blue Note Tokyo
Solo and theme. Beautiful Evans-like waltz.

Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk is a genius. And he's an interresting pianist, with some real interresting licks, and an amazing tempo. Good luck for playing this, it's really not that easy…

From the fabulous solo Paris 1954 recording
Well you needn't
Off Minor
On this last one, I love how simple most of his chords are (exept for the Bb7/D7 endings), and how swingy they sound. Notice measure 63, when he makes a lick in 12/8 over 4/4.

From The Unique Thlonious Monk (1956)
Tea for Two
(You can also check Fats Waller's version here)

From Solo Monk (1964)
Sweet and Lovely

From Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants (1959)
The Man I Love
The story of this recording is famous : Miles and Monk didn't got along that well. Some even say they fought, but I don't believe skinny 59' Miles would ever fight Thelonious « the mountain » Monk – nobody would. Anyway, in this tune, Monk plays a strange solo, fooling around the theme melody, with a lot of silence. And then, he stops playing, for an eternity (mes. 29 to 40). Miles enters (mes. 39), as if he were saying « what the hell are you doing, are you lost ? ». Then Monk swings like hell, saying « I'm not lost at all, damn you ». A fun moment, also fun to transcribe :)

Pop, Rock & Co

Here are some various transcriptions that aren't "jazz", but that can become jazz (in Mehldau's way, for example).
I'll post some simple lead sheets and/or rought transcriptions, some stuff with indication of the original arrangement, and some other things I did arrange on my own.

Blind Faith
A short but great band, with nothing less than Eric Clapton, Steve Windwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.
Had to cry today (arranged for piano)
Try to improvise in Bozan Z's way on Full Half Moon or Hometown, with strong powerchord in the left hand, some modulations...

Clare and the Reasons

The "jazziest" Crumb tunes, beautiful chords and a very tricky 5/8-6/8 moment !

Étienne Daho, the French icon of the New Wave
Tombé pour la France
Week-end à Rome.

The Dø
Simply some of the greatests songs of the moments, why don't you try and play those ?
• From Both ways open jaws
Dust if off (with some lyrics !)
The Wicked and the blind (leadsheet + bass)
• From Shake shook shaken
Despair hangover & ecstasy (leadsheet)

Forever Pavot
Les Cigognes nénuphars
Joe & Rose

Jimi Hendrix
Freedom (my own arrangement, some parts re-harmonized)

Anne Sylvestre
Une Sorcière comme les autres

Shelter song (arranged for piano)

Portrait de la Jeune fille en feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).

Martial Solal

In trio format
Aigue Marine (Jazz à Gaveau, 1962)
A beautiful Solal theme

Jazz Frit – (Martial Solal Trio, 1965)
The name of this tune is a joke about free jazz ("frit" and "free" have the same pronunciation in french ; "jazz frit" means "fried jazz")
Solal never really liked free jazz, he likes harmony and rythm too much for that. But it doesn't mean that he can't improvise freely (meaning with a great liberty). Impromptulm (see below) is a good example, solos 2, 3 etc of Jazz Frit are another :)

Navigation (Longitude, 2008)
Great tune composed by Martial Solal. Rather complex rhythm inside. Theme + unfinished transcription of the solo

Piano Solo
On green dolphin street (Live at the Village Vanguard, 2008)
I LOVE Solal's playing. I'm rather suprised to see how close he is from the theme, both melodically and harmonically, and how inventive he is in his way to play standarts.

Centre de Gravité (Live at the Village Vanguard, 2008)
A mysterious composition by Martial Solal.

Impromptulm (Best of live, 1985) A "free" improvisation (it's not free jazz, just improvising freely !)

Que reste-t-il de nos amours/I whis you love (Jazz 'n (e)motion, 1998)
Charles Trénet' song, as played by Martial

Lick from Parisian thoroughfare (Martial Solal and Stéphane Grapelli, Happy reunion, 1980)


Fats Waller
Tea for Two
A perfect solo piano by Fats Waller. Great arrangement !
(You can also check Monk's version here)
Baby Oh! Where can you be?
Another piano solo with the melody played in the middle voice.

Art Tatum
Not complete, but well, 4 pages is fine... Great Tatum song.
After You've Gone
Also incomplete, but as I think I'll never be able to play the fast part, I think it's enough :)

Teddy Wilson & Lester Young
Piano stride is hard but so much fun. I love the 1956 Pres and Teddy album (but who doesn't ?), and most of all Louise.
Louise 1 (only Teddy Wilson's solo)
Louise 2 (with Pres's theme)

Henri Texier

From Izlaz (1988)
Les Là-bas : A groovy tune, built on a great great bass line you've probably aldready heard ! (leadsheet version)

From Izlaz (1988)
Idemo : I love Henri Texier. This french double-bassist always writes great melodic themes, and this is one of those.

From An Indian's week (1993)
Mâshala : a Bojan Z tune, as played by Henri Texier.
Laguna Veneta
Amazon Blues Theme and the bass solo
Simone Signoret
Don't buy ivory, anymore !

Baptiste Trotignon

From Solo (2003)
The Dream is Gone (leadsheet)
Youpala Fantastic song, rather hard to play… some nice rythm stuff inside. I believe this transcription is my masterpiece… You can check this video to have an idea of how he plays it live. Impressive!

From Solo II (2005)
Como tu me voi Nice Nino Rota waltz.
Love me tender Marvelous cover of the Elvis song. Just the theme.
Home Another long and beautiful composition, starting like a ballad, and moving to a 6/4 ostinato.

From Fool time, with David el Malek (2007)
Al admat Israel Nice 7/8 tune.
Sunday the 13th Beautiful Monk-inspired theme.

From Hit (2015)
Abracadabra (I stoppe transcribing as soon as I realised I will never be able to play the left hand rhythm, sorry guys)

Mary Lou Williams

I've discovered the Zodiac Suite, by the great pianist, composer an arranger Mary Lou Williams. Written in 1945, the suite contains 12 parts corresponding to a sign of the zodiac and to musicians born under that sign. The suite was recorded in trio format, then played in concert with a big band (Ben Webster was guest soloist) and with an orchestra.
The trio format is fascinating. The music is very avant-garde, sounding like the 1950's third stream ; the harmonies are very modern for 1945 ; tempo changes all the time, alternating between a tempo and rubato...
I'll try to transcribe the entire Suite (eventually...) But I must say that there might be some minor mistakes in my transcription, due to poor recording quality : some voicings are really hard to recognise, as you can't really hear some of the notes...

1. Aries (dedicated to Ben Webster and Billie Holiday)
The tune starts with a nice swing theme, in the cycle of fifths. The you have some cool call and response with piano and bass, and an improvisation on a Db7 ostinato. The ending shows a very quiet tone (Bm/Cm), then some big chords on a C pedal.

2. Taurus (dedicated to Duke Ellington, Ellis Larkins and Mary Lou Williams herself)
There's almost no improvisation in this tune in trio format – but it's still jazz to me :) Check the great b9 chords you can see in measures 14 or 34, and the nice sounding 13h chords meas. 31 !

3. Gemini (dedicated to Benny Goodman, Harold « Shorty » Baker (then Williams' husband) and Miles Davis)
Here a more playful one. It begins with two bass lines : a descending Dm arpeggio overlapping an ascending CM arpegio. I love the way Williams plays with the melody (a simple CM scale in thirds), adding a note each time it's repeated. Then there's some boogie woogie !

4. Cancer (dedicated to Lem Davis)
Another one without improvisation. It's a duet with bassist Al Lucas, with a beautiful dark and sad theme in Ebm. I love the chords played at the end of the theme (mes 4 to 6, for example).
Measure 23, the theme is played in tempo with the bass. The first times the theme is played, it's played rubato : it seems that the rythmic notation needs to be a little different, so I choose to write it as i hear it (hence the weird 3/4 notation).

5. Leo (dedicated to Vic Dickenson)
This tune is a kind of march, with a middle section with wide chords.

6. Virgo (dedicated to Leonard Feather)
Lead sheet version
This tune swings a lot (sometimes it even looks like early bebop). Written parts alternate with "classic" improvised ones, so I decided to make a leadsheet (well, a simpler version of the score) so you can have fun with it !
Have you seen the wonderful ending chords ?

7. Libra (dedicated to the "dearest friends, Dizzy, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Monk)
A solo piano song, with a lot going on. It's hard to tell how much it's written, how much it's improvised. I love the Scriabin-like part meas. 41.
I've indicated the new sections by a doubled bar line, you can pause a little there.


Other tunes :
Fifth dimension
This one is a blues, based in the first section on a great riff (MLW has a gift for great bass lines). The next section is more common; I had trouble transcribing the left hand, as it's nearly inaudible, but I'm sure you can fill the blanks by yourself :)

Mary's Special
Some nive harmonies, a cool melody, some stride… Everything we need !

Bojan Z

From Soul Shelter (2012)
Full Half Moon
Simple and beatiful tune, love the melody on this one. It really develops further than I transcribed (try figure it out yourself !)

Sweet Shelter of Mine
Here we have some serious stuff… The intro/outro is in regular 4/4, I've notated the theme in 5+5/8, it seemed the easier way to do. The solo is mainly in 5+4/8... here it gets really tricky. But don't worry, he's making mistakes too :) (measure 76 or 96, he "forgets" a 8th, sometimes he adds one or two...) Good luck however !

A rather simple tune (it's 4/4, but the 6/4 part can be tricky…), originally played with piano + Fender Rhodes, arranged for a solo piano.

Swingy “Monkish” tune !

Once again, some odd measures here ! It starts in 3/4 around a D7b9, and it transforms into a fast 4+5/8 around Cm/D7, with very nice colours.

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From Transpacifik (2003)
Set It Up

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From Solobession (2001)
Who's Bob
The opening tune of the album, based on two chords. Great to warm up :)

Don't Buy Ivory, Anymore !
Beautiful song by Henri Texier, as played by Bojan.

Multi Don Kulti


Bill Carrothers
In the wee small hours of the morning

Armel Dupas
Petite Bretonne
A nice waltz.

Stan Getz
I love this ballad, and I love Stan Getz's version :
Here's That Rainy Day - Bb - Eb
Leadsheet - Bb - Eb

Aaron Goldberg
Theme and solo, from his wonderfu 2015 album The Now.

Gigi Gryce : Social Call
I live this Gigi Gryce song, sweet melody, inspiring harmonics, and beautiful lyrics by Jon Hendricks. This transcription is based on the instrumental version from the 1955 album When Farmer Meets Gryce.
Lead Sheet
Gigi's solo
You can also check Laurent Coq's version here !

James Farm
From the amazing 2011 album of this supergroups (Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, Eric Harland).

Milt Jackson
Tahiti (from Wizard of the vibes, leadsheet)

Joubran Trio

Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh
Topsy - only solos

John Lewis
From his fantastic piano solo recording, Evolution (2004)

Michel Portal
Dolce. Theme, from Bailador (2010)

Sun Ra

Dan Tepfer
From his great duet album with Ben Wendel.

Jacky Terrasson
Try To Catch Me
Nice tune, alternating an atonal riff and a fun latin-feel part !

Marc Ducret
I tried to figure out the time signature of the melody, pretty sure I'm not really accurate, but it sounds ok.