Today, we feature freelance drum set artist James Yoshizawa performing Cannonball Adderley’s solo on “Freddie Freeloader” from the Miles Davis’ album “Kind of Blue” on drum set. I have never seen anyone take this approach to soloing on drum set and I hope this inspires more people to try this out. If you have any suggestions or input, please leave your comments below. Follow James on FaceBook.

Cannonball Adderley Solo Interpreted
James Yoshizawa

In one of the handful of lessons I’ve taken with Jason Harnell, he suggested transcribing and playing a horn solo on the drums. I decided to use Cannonball Adderley’s solo from “Freddie Freeloader.”

This was all done by ear. I started by listening to the solo over and over to become familiar with it. Then I started picking out phrases that I thought could be orchestrated on the drums in an interesting way. I didn’t go bar-by-bar from beginning to end. Sometimes a 1-bar phrase in the 4th chorus would catch my attention, then a 4 bar phrase in the 2nd chorus, etc. I gradually did that over the course of a week or so until I basically had the whole solo orchestrated on the drums.

This is a totally different experience than black and white transcription. A lot of creative, interpretive decisions need to be made in order to transfer ideas that sound hip on the saxophone to ideas that sound hip on the drums. There’s a fine balance between being too literal or too vague.

Originally posted on on July 26, 2012.

Dave Gerhart
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