Sonny Rollins on "Come, Gone"

First things first: thanks, everybody, for reading! There's so much to read in print and online nowadays that it's hard to even justify writing something for others to read; for me personally, I couldn't get myself to start publishing things online for months because I didn't think I could justify my contributing to the ever-ballooning morass of blog posts, memes, and the like on the Interwebs. At a certain point, though, I thought I'd take the plunge, and, based on Google Analytics, it seems like there are other living, breathing humans—as well as the occasional web crawler—checking out the site and, I hope, feeling somewhat better after reading a post and not feeling like they've lost 30 sec.-1 min. of their lives to the Internet.

So, enough of the mushy stuff: here's a transcription of Sonny Rollins's solo over "Come, Gone," based on "After You've Gone," from Way Out West. Miguel told me to transcribe this solo this semester, and it actually took me the entire semester (James Joyce took precedence over Sonny in the spring), but here it is:

Tritone substitutions in mm.27 and 33 (!). Also, check out the slight growl when Sonny lays into the concert F in bar 19 — definitive details.

Compare mm. 54-55 to mm. 42-3 in Hank Mobley's solo on "Room 608". Also, the two-octave descending arpeggio in m. 64: register is not an issue!

 I guess you'd call mm. 108-12 an "augmentation" of a rhythmic motif; it sounds like Sonny getting the most out of his melodic ideas.

 The 13 to #11 slide in mm. 147 and 148 are also in the first bridge of Hank Mobley's solo on "Room 608" — a great sound from that era.

 Maybe a takeaway from this solo is to be unconcerned with repeating oneself purposefully, e.g., mm. 174-8: it always seems to lead somewhere unexpected.
 Same as above, e.g., mm. 210-219. That's nine measures! Think of all the players who play different stuff in every bar for a whole solo without saying anything (myself included). Hmm.

 Sonny also demonstrates how trills can be hip.

[Ed. 10/17/18: Over half a decade later, here are the PDF files. Better late than never, my high school gym teacher used to say.]



  1. Great! can you post the pdf file?

    1. Yes, finally just posted links (at the bottom of the post).

  2. How did you come to the conclusion to the chords on the first 4 bars?

    1. Those are just the changes from that part of the form (not necessarily corresponding to what Sonny might have been thinking or referring to, although they seem to fit).


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