How to use this site

The title of each entry links to an MP3 recording of the lick. If your browser supports MP3s, this will open a separate window, where the lick will play. This window will still be here - you may need to drag the new one to one side to see it. Click on any of the transcriptions to open a larger version of it. Use your browser's 'back' button to return to this page.

All the transcriptions here are in concert keys. One day, if I have time, I'll create B flat and E flat versions if anyone would like them. Do let me know.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Like all jazz musicians, over the years I've learned from those who have gone before, by listening to recordings, and transcribing improvised solos. It's a great way to keep your brain in tune, and to improve your listening and playing skills. Last week I was approached by a music publisher and asked if I would be interested in compiling a set of 50 'Jazz Licks' to be published as a set of cards. It was obvious immediately that this was far too big a task for one person, if there's to be any hope of some kind of comprehensive coverage of the whole of jazz. So, I'm opening this appeal to jazz musicians everywhere to 'send me your favourite licks'.

What's a lick? For this project, we're interpreting a lick as a short phrase, up to 4 bars in length, played as part of an improvised solo or accompaniment. It could be on any instrument. For this particular project, we're not really interested in identifiable 'quotes', ie phrases which are obviously part of the melody - either of the tune being played, or some other well-known tune. Of course, there may be many grey areas, where a phrase is very closely related to a well known tune, but in that case I'll just need to use my judgement to decide whether to include it or not.

It's obvious that there are many many more than 50 great licks in the world. There are a few classic albums which spring to mind where you can probably find 50 just among those tracks.

As I collect the licks, I'll post them here. I also invite people to contribute licks, either as comments, or by email to Please let me know the Album, artist, musician - and ideally the approximate timing of the lick you have in mind - ie where it is in the track. If you feel like emailing MP3s or transcriptions, then please feel free.


Jens said...

Nice idea here are some jazz guitar transcriptions:

Jazz guitar Transcriptions

I hope to add some more in the future.


Sebastian Vallejo said...

Excellent blog. Very informative and useful. Helped me with my improvs. Thanks..