We can learn a lot about our instrument by transcribing other instrumentalists, and Charlie Parker’s recordings are a lifetime of lessons. Bassist Felipe Gianei spent four months transcribing Bird’s solo on “Cherokee” and applying it to bass.
“[The] first time I listened to this recording of Cherokee I thought, ‘Man, I want to know what he’s doing here, I wanna be able to play these cool jazz phrases,'” Gianei shared. “But after listening to this solo almost everyday for the past 4 months I realized how amazing his playing is… it’s incredible! So I started to transcribe. It was really hard to understand some phrases with all his articulation and also because of the old recording. It was hard for me to play those difficult Parker phrases at his tempo, so [I had to] build and re-build the tempo about three times, from really slow to his tempo. I want to make it my own, absorb the phrases I most like and try to take the best of it.”