Sonny Rollins’ Solo on “Blues for Philly Joe”

April 3, 2012

Sonny Rollins is renowned for his unique approach to thematic development, which is somewhat similar to the way Beethoven worked in a piece such as his famous Fifth Symphony.  His solo on his original tune “Blues for Philly Joe” (named for drummer Philly Joe Jones) is a perfect example of this type of development.  Parts of the solo are so rhythmically driven, one can imagine that Rollins was consciously emulating the way a jazz drummer would approach a solo.  Here is a great blues lick that works well over the IV chord (bars 62-63).  Doesn’t it sound like something Cannonball (a great blues master) might have played?  Try playing it in all 12 keys. If you can’t figure out how to transpose it, leave a comment below or email me for a free copy of the figure in all 12 keys.

 


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