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Music Chris Potter Transcription Review

When Pete suggested I review this, I must admit I had no idea what I was in for. "Chris Potter? Who's he?" And the author... Eli Bennett... "Another who's he?".

I guess Pete thought my horizons needed broadening. Find out a new aspect of the sax, jazz especially.

And that it was, a new journey and new revelations. In all a humbling, but uplifting experience. Chris' playing almost made me want to throw my sax away. I've so much to learn and so far to go. If you don't know of him, he's one of those players who can pop notes out of a sax faster than you can read the dots. He's faster on tenor than Parker was on alto... And he makes it interesting, it's not just a display of technical speed. Must admit, this style of playing isn't really what I'd listen to by choice. But.... It had me hooked.

Here's what you get: It's an e-book in pdf format, and downloadable music tracks. The 136 page pdf has a couple of photos and a few pages of intro and useful background, then gets down to business with the transcripts of 11solos of Chris's. Dot for dot. Including cracked notes, ghost notes, pad claps.... The audio's a download. good quality, the recordings are excellent, although there's some audience noise in places. These were live recordings from Chris' workshops and as the title says, acapella, so no accompanists to filter out.

Who are Chris and Eli - well you can do what I did - find out for yourself. Maybe start with the link below.

I can read a musical score reasonably well. I can follow an orchestral score along with the playing. But here I soon lost the plot. In the first track. The playing was so fast I had trouble reading the notes.... And soon lost it completely. Stopped, scrolled back to the start, restarted the track. And lost it again. Then I noticed the transcriptions even have timings in them, so if you get lost it's quite easy to pick it up again. Re-arranged the screen so that I could see the bottom of realplayer and the timing/progress bar and started again. Almost perfect - the tracks start instantly and there's no time to get from the player to the dots before he playing starts. But that's a minor quibble, you're back on the dots before the first bar ends.

The transcriptions are really accurate and detailed. Lots of explanatory comments and easy to read. And before you ask, there's a notation guide on page 7. You'll probably need it...

Make sure you turn on the bookmarks in Acrobat, or whichever .pdf reader you're using. Otherwise, like me, you probably won't realise it's nicely bookmarked, so you can find the Tracks and Notation Guide easily.

A couple of minor niggles - the pdf is, to stop pirates, watermarked with your name throughout. But you soon get used to being reminded who you are on every page. It'll help if Alzheimer's ever sets in - if I can remember which pdf has my name in it by then... The audio tracks were supplied in mp4a format, an Apple standard that Windows Media Player won't play. But by the time you read this, they should be available in MP3 format. Realplayer will play the mp4a files under Windows.

Tracks are: All the Things You Are, Tune Up, I Love You, 26-2, Have You Met Miss Jones (2 versions), Just Friends, It Could Happen To You, Confirmation, Ladybird, I Hear a Rhapsody.

It's clear that Eli has put a lot of time into transcribing these solos. Superb work. And Chris' playing speaks for itself. Clean, accurate, incredibly fast. I'm going to learn a lot from this, and have only dipped in so far. If the speed initially puts you off, try starting with the first version of 'Have you met Miss Jones'. That's reachable for mere mortals. You won't be disappointed. It's worth the price for the music alone And the transcriptions are a huge bonus. Highly recommended.

Details/purchase at:

Make sure you read the ordering instructions carefully. Default is a tenor version. For other versions, you need to warn them before ordering.

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Thanks Kev, I missed this 1st time round. :)
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