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Sonny Rollins Signature Licks - HL Book & CD

rhysonsax

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I found this title when I was searching for books of Sonny's music on Amazon a couple of years ago. It is published by Hal Leonard, but the promised publication date has been postponed several times.

At last it's out here in the UK:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonny-Rollins-Saxophone-Signature-Licks/dp/0634082175/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1252601862&sr=1-1

I got my copy last week and I have mixed feelings about it, as it's not quite what I was expecting. The book has transcriptions of 12 classic Rollins recordings. But the "analysis" and "breakdown of the sax styles and techniques of a jazz giant" is limited to a couple of paragraphs pointing out interesting features in the head and the solo.

When it comes to the CD, it's a bit strange. Instead of the Rollins recordings, we have specially-recorded performances of the transcriptions featuring Howard McGill on tenor sax. He's a nice player whose career I have followed here in the UK, both as a performer and a teacher. But it's not Rollins ! I wonder whether Hal Leonard tried to get permission to use Sonny's original recordings and resorted to this when they didn't succeed. That would explain the delay in publication.

And the CD features only 25 minutes of playing. The recordings have the sax panned over in the right channel and the rhythm section in the left channel, so you can use them as playalong tracks, if your hi-fi features a balance control (lots of modern ones do not). Why could the publisher not have given another 25 minutes of just the rhythm section tracks in stereo ?

Overall, there is good stuff here but it's a bit of a missed opportunity. In my opinion two older Rollins books I have already are better on the analysis and feature good transcriptions (but no CD):
The Jazz Style of Sonny Rollins - David N Baker
Sonny Rollins, Jazz Master - Charley Gerard

Anyone else got the book and CD yet ?

Rhys
 

Pete Thomas

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But it's not Rollins ! I wonder whether Hal Leonard tried to get permission to use Sonny's original recordings and resorted to this when they didn't succeed.
They would probably have got permission, just a question of not wanting to pay I think.
 

Morgan Fry

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They would probably have got permission, just a question of not wanting to pay I think.
Must be this. Strange to get permission for the transcription but not the audio, though. I wonder how much more the book would have had to cost? OTOH, if you're going to include tracks, it's nice for some to have play along tracks, and you probably can't fit both on one CD. And if you're going that way, might as well have somebody play the tenor solos as well, I suppose.

It's a shame there isn't much analysis. Sonny is such a master of melodic development any dozen of his solos is pretty fertile ground.
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

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Must be this. Strange to get permission for the transcription but not the audio, though. I wonder how much more the book would have had to cost? OTOH, if you're going to include tracks, it's nice for some to have play along tracks, and you probably can't fit both on one CD. And if you're going that way, might as well have somebody play the tenor solos as well, I suppose.
Does a publisher need permission for transcriptions and would that be from the artist or the original composer or both ?

The CD is only 25 minutes long in total, so plenty of room there for backing tracks as well as the sax re-performance. I'm going to make my own backings with Audacity by taking just the left channel, and maybe doing some looping to get some more choruses.

Rhys
 

Pete Thomas

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Does a publisher need permission for transcriptions and would that be from the artist or the original composer or both ?
Improvised solos are deemed to be part of the copyright of the tune on which they are based. At least, that is what my discussions with PRS and MCPS have revealed, but I imagine it is still a grey area and subject to test cases. (See Fisher vs Brooker, Whiter Shade of Pale).

When publishing a book such as this, the publisher would there fore need two separate licences. One from the publisher of the composition/improvisation and one from the owner of the recording, ie the record company.

But I agree, it would cost hardly any more to have 15 mins of backing track and 25 minutes of examples.
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

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I've just used Audigrabber and Audacity to grab the tracks, take the left channel only, make it mono and make a CD of playalong versions. It only took about one minute per track with Audacity and sounds great. An all freeware solution and very easy to do.

Now I've got the CD that should have come with the original book - track featuring sax followed by track with no sax.

Time to get the tenor out and try to sound like Rollins.

Rhys

PS I suppose I should also gather together the original Rollins versions of all 12 tracks. I've got them all on CD but all my CDs are currently in storage.
 

half diminished

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I've just used Audigrabber and Audacity to grab the tracks, take the left channel only, make it mono and make a CD of playalong versions. It only took about one minute per track with Audacity and sounds great. An all freeware solution and very easy to do.
Miss-read above. Ignore this.
 
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rhysonsax

rhysonsax

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Miss-read above. Ignore this.
Probably not what you were asking, but Audacity can do vocal masking (or sax masking) if the instrument/voice to be removed is panned dead centre (i.e. shared equally in left and right channels).

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=editing&i=remove-vocals Tells you how to do it, which is basically to:

1. Import your stereo file into Audacity.
2. Open the track menu (click the arrow next to the track title), and choose “Split Stereo Track.”
3. Select the lower track (the right channel) by clicking it in the area around the mute/solo buttons.
4. Choose “Invert” from the Effects menu.
5. Using the track menus, change each track to “Mono.”
6. Press the Play button to hear the results. If you are lucky, the voice will be gone but most of the other instruments will be unaffected, just like a karaoke track. You can use the Export commands in the File menu to save the results.

More complex techniques for vocal/sax removal using Audacity are at: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/index.php?title=Vocal_Removal

Rhys
 
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