This page contains transcriptions of various recorded works by prominent jazz musicians. Although it is common knowledge that the best way to learn jazz improvisation is to listen to the experts, it also requires the ability to translate the sounds into actions. This involves identifying the notes played and placing them in their chordal context. Transcription is a crucial step in this process.
The full transcription of each snippet can be downloaded by clicking on its excerpt.

This piece was written by Al " Jazzbo " Collins, a popular DJ in the '50s who broadcast from his Purple Grotto. Note the frequent key changes, which manage to wind their way back to the starting key. Taylor's arrangement is a great example of the locked hands block chord technique often associated with George Shearing. This transciption is from Billy Taylor's " A Touch of Taylor " album, released by Prestige in 1955.

Cal Tjader's rendition of Lover Come Back to Me is remarkable for its melodic character and unrelenting pace. The entire cut is his solo with the rhythm section, including Vince Guaraldi's piano, relegated to the background. The complete performance was transcribed and scored in an Adobe Acrobat *.pdf file, a portion of which is shown below. It might be instructive for novice transcribers to compare the printed transcription with the original performance.

Hank Mobley's improvisations are good examples of melodic lines which follow the changes closely. This solo is from one of the early Jazz Messenger's albums (ART BLAKEY, The Jazz Messengers, Columbia Legacy, CK 65265, featuring Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Don Byrd, Hank Mobley and Doug Watkins). Note his use of a diminished scale in the last three bars of the excerpt.

Hank Mobley's solo on Nica's Dream

Here is a transcription of the legendary "Carmen Variations " by Vladimir Horowitz. Horowitz never published his variations as they underwent a series of revisions over the course of his career, so I have no idea of the copyright satus of this work (if any). This version contains prefatory remarks and analyses which are invaluable to those interested.