Wayne Shorter solo transcription on E.S.P

22 Feb

Here a transcription of the Wayne Shorter solo on E.S.P (Miles Davis 1965)

download play-along (.mp3)

Original tune:

A video exemple playing the tab:

I made also a a guitar tab (guitarPro and pdf). You can also download the realbook sheet

One thought on “Wayne Shorter solo transcription on E.S.P

  1. Wayne Shorter’s solo in E.S.P.
    original composition by Wayne Shorter featured on the Miles Davis album E.S.P.

    notes by Sly Raymond

    E.S.P. was the breakout album for the second great Miles Davis quintet. In this tune by Shorter, we find some very challenging chord changes, largely because most of the chords are altered. Miles seems to cheat a bit by using a lot of chromatic motion; but Wayne’s solo, in spite of its own chromaticism, fits the underlying harmonies exceptionally well. This showcases Shorter as an impressive post-bop “shredder,” in spite of his usual tendency to keep his melodies relatively simple.

    In his compositions, Wayne Shorter often amalgamates elements of both modal and traditional styles. In this particular piece, notice how both the A and B sections begin with chords whose relation to one another are dubious, but after eight bars, an implication of a turnaround (iii-vi-ii-V in the first half, iii-vi-ii-V-I in the second – all heavily subbed out, of course) appears. Other examples of tunes which feature the technique of beginning a section modally but resolving in a more traditional manner are JuJu and MahJong ( both from the Shorter-led album JuJu ).

    Shorter’s opening statement is a bold pronouncement of the (then) new Miles Davis group aesthetic. It is simply an ascending B major scale; but what makes it remarkable is the fact that, because it contains a D-sharp, it wouldn’t normally be considered as belonging in an E7alt context (unless it’s a passing tone from D-natural, which here it is not). This and subsequent albums by the quintet fused both hard bop and free form, inspiring a new school of thought which regards chord changes as a guide to be followed loosely, not a template upon which to build classical Fuxian phrases. Even a more “out” soloist of the time, Ornette Coleman, was still echoing Charlie Parker’s phrasing. Shorter and Hancock were, at this time, carrying Jazz into its next era of development – one in which we arguably remain today.
    Another innovation of post-bop jazz is the concept of intervallic melodies, like the one in mm. 7-8. Here, Shorter plays arpeggios suggesting a superimposition of B6 and Fm7 over Ebmaj7. At one brief moment, it seems he might resolve the phrase with an E-flat major triad, but he chooses instead to land on the subdominant, which maintains a feeling of instability.
    In mm. 9-11 Shorter climbs chromatically, then restates the idea with some variation in 25-26, and 58-60. We can learn from this example to balance repetition and variation. In fact, most great music contains clever juxtaposition of opposites. Another example from E.S.P. is Shorter’s alternation of highly chromatic phrases with a narrow range, like those in mm. 4-5, 12-13 and 60-62, and passages containing more intervallic leaps, like those contained in mm. 17-18, 20, and 37- 39.
    This solo is an important transitional one. It bridges the gap between the bebop-influenced style of players like Hank Mobley and Kenny Dorham and the new, more angular sound that would later be exemplified by Chick Corea, Kenny Garret, and Michael Brecker. Coltrane was, of course, doing this sort of thing since the late 50’s, but E.S.P. carries the torch and offers a promise of more to come, at a time when Coltrane was already searching for the next innovation. For a very thorough treatment of the modern style of soloing, see the book Intervallic Improvisation by Walt Weiskopf.

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