Bass Transcription Analysis: Getting Inside Cannonball Adderley’s C7 Lick

In our last series of lessons, we had a look at a chorus of a Bob Mintzer blues over four episodes.

Well, today we are putting just two bars of music under the microscope. This line is from a Cannonball Adderley solo on a tune called “Limehouse Blues.”

Now the line itself isn’t super tricky, but in this pretty intensive video lesson (14 minutes or so) I show you ways to assimilate a line like this onto the bass with different positions, octave transposition, and lastly, how to take just a fragment of the original lick/line and make it work over a different chord, too.

The line starts off with an ascending scalar line, but the second bar, in particular, is great to move around and experiment with.

There’s a lot of information in this video – take a while to work through the line as I advise and transcribe some solos yourself, too! This is one of the biggest single steps you can take to expanding your jazz vocabulary and in turn, your ear and technique are also enhanced in quantum leaps the more you do.

Here’s the line: It was originally played as a lick up into the beginning of the solo and really outlines a C7 tonality as the tune is in “F, but the 2nd bar in particular works nicely over some other chords, too:

Cannonball Adderley's Limehouse Blues C7 Lick

Rufus Philpot is a performer and educator living in Los Angeles who has performed and or recorded with everyone from Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Virgil Donati and Tony MacAlpine to Randy Brecker, Tom Scott, Gary Novak and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. For more, check out his website.

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  1. You are one of my favorite bass players I follow. Learning how a line fits is so important!