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Bass Transcription by Lucas Pickford – Michael Brecker’s Solo on GIANT STEPS

This month I’ve chosen to feature the late tenor sax giant, Michael Brecker’s solo on the extremely demanding John Coltrane composition Giant Steps.

Why not feature a bass solo on this tune?  It’s been my experience that we bassists can better broaden not only our musical vocabulary by studying the solos of non bass players, but we can also vastly improve our technical facility by learning the solos of great piano, guitar, and sax players.  By studying the lines of people like Michael Brecker we are forced to play things that are outside of our comfort zone and as a result become more sophisticated improvisors than if we only studied other bass solos.  I’ve written Brecker’s solo in Concert Key (tenor sax solos are usually written a whole step down in Bb) so you can more easily analyze his choice of notes over the chord changes to Giant Steps.  Pay attention to Brecker’s use of Chord Tones (R,3rd,5th,7th) Tensions (9th, 11th, 13th including #9, b9, b13) and Chromatic passing notes.  Brecker always knows exactly where he is and where he is going, you should too.  The best bass players today can do it all.  They can lay down the fattest grooves and play amazing solos.  If you don’t believe me you obviously haven’t been watching YouTube.  The bar has been set very high by young players like Hadrien Feraud, Mike Pope, and many others.  By studying and learning solos like this one you’ll gain the melodic and technical chops you’ll need to keep up with the best players out there today.  Happy shedding.

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