My Guitar Version of a Johnny Hodges Sax Solo

"All of Me"

Some of my gigs are society work and I play standards like this one, and too often I play fairly literal readings of the heads. I get a kick out of how the old school guys played these tunes in such a hip way, without ever stating the original melody--it's developed from the get-go. I guess that's what drew me into this..... the old masters didn't just play the tune, then improvise, it's all improvised (to some extent)!

First off, check out Hodges, a tremendous musician and one of the most expressive voices in jazz, IMO. Here he's performing "All of Me" with Ellington in the late 50s. This is a different version than what I transcribed, but he has some of very similar licks and phrases. You can hear some of the beautiful playing I'm trying to capture.....

So here's my take of his first chorus from Live At The Sportpalast, Berlin, not quite as dynamic, but I tried, getting the notes was hard enough..... I bumped the transcription up from Hodges' concert Ab to C to perform with my playalong track. You can get a glimpse of the notated the solo at the beginning.

It's the TGP, mid '90s 335 with 10's, straight into Dr. Z Maz 38, volume and master both were low, around 9:00. Fralin unbuckers, neck pickup, tone rolled down a bit.
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Very cool!

Nice job,...... did you record the back up track ?

The link to Hodges isn't working.


Senior Member
That's really wonderful. Definitity the kind of feel I'm trying to get into my playing, over swing blues and standards. Hodges, Pres, Ben Webster, etc. Scott Hamilton, modern day, is working that area real well, too.

Any chance of a scan of that transcription?

Keep up the good work!

- J
Thanks, Jim. I appreciate that.

Pres has a nice "Moonlight in Vermont" that I might have to revisit.

I'll PM you about the transcription. Give me a couple of days.......

Very nice. I did a transcription of Trane's solo in Moment's Notice and I'm working on try to play it now. It can be real hard to imitate sax players...

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