Warning: Declaration of thesis_comment::start_lvl(&$output, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /nfs/c07/h04/mnt/108414/domains/saxophonetribe.com/html/wp-content/themes/thesis_185/lib/classes/comments.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of thesis_comment::end_lvl(&$output, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /nfs/c07/h04/mnt/108414/domains/saxophonetribe.com/html/wp-content/themes/thesis_185/lib/classes/comments.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of thesis_comment::start_el(&$output, $comment, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output, $object, $depth = 0, $args = Array, $current_object_id = 0) in /nfs/c07/h04/mnt/108414/domains/saxophonetribe.com/html/wp-content/themes/thesis_185/lib/classes/comments.php on line 0

Warning: Declaration of thesis_comment::end_el(&$output, $comment, $depth, $args) should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output, $object, $depth = 0, $args = Array) in /nfs/c07/h04/mnt/108414/domains/saxophonetribe.com/html/wp-content/themes/thesis_185/lib/classes/comments.php on line 0
Saxophone Vocabulary

Saxophone Vocabulary

Music is language.

Expanding your vocabulary will make you be able to say more with your saxophone.

We learn words and phrases from people when we speak, likewise we learn musical ideas from other musicians.  The music comes from experiences of people throughout the world and will allow you to speak better if you listen.

Using vocabulary has to be adapted based on the context.  You wouldn’t play a Coltrane bop line exactly in a rock tune, but you might be able to take parts of it and use it somehow in many styles of music.

‘The lick’

Nica’s Dream ii V lick


Stanley Turrentine is my favorite sax player, so I have learned a few things from his solos, working on transcribing more. Here are a couple of blues lines.

Stanley Turrentine Line #2:



stanley_2_slow_tenor_saxophone_tribe (mp3, right click and save)


stanley_2_slow_alto_saxophone_tribe (mp3, right click and save)




stanley_1_slow_tenor_saxophone_tribe (mp3, right click and save)


Neal’s Solo from a Contest


Sonny Rollins Solo from Tenor Madness.  Sonny Rollins played with John Coltrane on this track.  They both played good stuff, Sonny Rollins style is something that I connect a little better with.

rollins_solo_first_few_parts_saxophone_tribe_slow (mp3, right click and save)


So What Solo, First Chorus (Miles Davis)



Listening Assignments:

Here, you’ll listen to music and pick the parts you want to learn and expand your vocabulary. In general, you’ll want to learn the melodies first before learning pieces of solos, it will make the lines make more sense.

Assignment #1 – Miles Davis Solo

Assignment #2 – Joe Henderson Solo

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Thom June 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

I told you before I’m not a real big Jazz person, but the Joe Henderson Solo really caught my attention. I really liked that one. I like the fact that it isn’t all solo parts but there are sections in there where they play the two or three different parts i.e. baritone, soprano, alto, etc. I always did like to hear the contrast of all those parts played together. The melody was also very good. I liked the melodies that were being played.


Neal June 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hey Thom,
Cool, it’s been one of my favorite jazz solos for a while now. You might want to learn the melody. It’s in the Aebersold Maiden Voyage book btw.



Doug August 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hey Neal,

I haven’t yet tried any of the altissimo notes yet, still working on the lower notes. I have been working on the 12 major scales and the lindeman exercises and trying to slow down and keep my finger movement as close to the keys as possible. I have the music to “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” and have been starting to work on it and can see how the words would help, so I need to get them. I haven’t yet tried any of the altissimo notes yet, still working on the lower notes. I have a question as what to do if some pads stick once in awhile? I do clean them occasionally with pad cleaning paper, but still have some sticking going on.




Neal August 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Hey Doug,
I wouldn’t worry about altissimo for a little while since you said you had been playing for six weeks before joining this group.

There is something you could practice called overtones or the harmonic series though. I’ll put a video up on that.

For the sticking pads, I’ll put a clean dollar bill (usually a $20) in there, close the pad, and then slide it out with some friction. Could do a video demonstrating that. The bill has more fiber than paper. G# is the one that I need to do it most often on.

Can talk more about maintenance on here too. Remind me about that if I don’t get something up pretty soon.




Manuel Gonzalez January 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Hi Neal: Definitely, acquiring more vocabulary is one of my goal during this year. I have a library about sax stuff of about 100 books. Among them, “How to Create and Develop a Jazz Sax Solo”, by Arnie Berle “Jazz Saxophone Licks, Phrases and Patterns” by Arnie Berle, “Building a Jazz Vocabulary” by Mike Steinel, “100 Ultimate Blues Riffs” by Andrew D. Gordon, “100 Ultimate Jazz Riffs” also by Andrew D. Gordon and Amazing Phrasing”.

I like to read and understand the fundamentals of everything that is of interest to me. The problem is that because my busy schedule with a lot of international traveling my practice time is very limited. I stopped playing for about two years.

But my goal for this year is to learn to play without using a music sheet. That’s why I enrolled in Berklee and also decided to joint your web page. I understand that you can help me to improve my technique and to organize a practice routine that allow me to reach my goal. I am committed to do this does not matter what its required even if I need to travel with my sax I”ll do it. Thanks in advance for your help.

I have being working with the Lindeman exercises and started practicing the scales. The Lindeman exercise is like re-engineering for me since I need to learn a new technique for me which is finger movement. I have studied with a lot of music instructor throughout all of this year and is the first time somebody tell me that my sound and tone will improve just by improving the finger movement.

The best thing is that even it is difficult to me to resist the temptation to return to the old form, the sound and tone started to be better.


Y. Rideaux-Lick Language December 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm

This is great! A good way to grasp ear training and develop various lick languages. Great information Neal! I panic for a moment because I thought you wanted us to find the lick among the performances. However; that is interesting how you capture that lick Neal among all those players and then able to transpose it on Tenor and Alto. You are busy person doing great things! This is so helpful.


Leave a Comment