John Coltrane – Stella By Starlight Transcription

John Coltrane’s solos always blow my mind. Whenever I pick any of his lines to learn I purposefully pick parts that sound ‘easy’. Now easy is a relative word when you’re talking about Coltrane as none of it is really easy! I find his solos feel completely different to play than I expected they would when I was giving it my first few listens through.

His phrasing is like nobody else I’ve ever transcribed, he seems to play with a complete disregard for bar lines, up beats, down beats or anything else. It really feels like he’s just playing. While this is great, it makes the job of learning, notating and analysing his parts a little more difficult than usual, but I do my best, so here we go!

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How To Focus Your Practise Routine!

A great way to focus your practise routine is to record yourself practising to watch back later to pick up on any areas of weakness. This is something that lots of the top players recommend, check out Steve Nixon’s latest post on the 10 practice tools he couldn’t live without!

At this week’s rehearsal with Minor Third I decided to give it a shot. We were trying Stella By Starlight for the first time and it’s also the latest tune I’ve been working on (I’ve just finished a John Coltrane solo on this that will be posted soon!) So it seemed like a good choice.

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The Optimist Release!

New EP, ‘The Optimist’ has launched! Available for download or to stream for FREE from

Session Exchange and EP update.

Hey bass fans!

A quick update to let you know that I am now a featured artist on Session Exchange! Session Exchange is a really cool website designed to give people in need of high quality session musicians a one stop place to find them. The added bonus being that all the musicians have the ability to record at home and send their tracks over the internet. This type of recording seems to be getting more and more popular as technology advances so it is something I’m really happy to be involved in! You can check out my profile here!

Next order of business, my EP! This has taken WAY longer than I had hoped to get it all together but this is often the case when you’re calling in favours from musicians, studio time etc. The audio is now all finished, mixed, mixed again… But now done!

Last thing I need to do is just finish off the artwork, I’ve been let down by a couple of people with this so now I am trying to get it sorted myself but this is definitely not my forte! If anyone has any tips or cool programs that can help me out with this please do get in touch as that is all I am waiting on now! I got to use this awesome picture from a Scottish painter and just need to make it into my finished art work.


The track listing for the EP is as follows:

1. The Chauffeur
2. The Locksmith
3. The Wrestler
4. The Salesman
5. The Stage Hand

The idea behind all the track names is that they are all jobs I have done or thought about doing instead of being a full time bassist. The EP will be called ‘The Optimist‘ which is probably what I would class myself as more now rather than just a musician!

I am hoping to get this out for you all to hear within the week so as I said if anybody can offer any help with the art work please do!

Georgia On My Mind Bass Line Transcription

Georgia On My Mind is one of my favourite songs to play with my trio so I thought it was about time I transcribed a bass line for it! You can’t go wrong with the Dexter Gordon version as it has an absolutely stellar line up, including the great Sam Jones on bass.

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Pushing Into New Territory

Yesterday was a pretty challenging day for me musically, challenging in a good way! I have two regular gigs that both fall on the same day once a month and yesterday was that day. Both gigs are with my jazz trio Minor Third, we play a mellow afternoon set and then go on to play a more upbeat set in the evening at a different venue.

These are usually fairly safe gigs for me but this week our keys player had another engagement in the afternoon and couldn’t make the first gig, and our evening gig we decided to open as a jam night to try and help musicians (including ourselves!) network.

After having no luck finding a dep for our pianist I called a local sax player to see if he’d be up for an afternoon of jazz and cake! He obviously said ‘yes’ as who could resist that?! But what this did mean was our set was now completely up in the air, I tend to take a lot of melodies when we gig although with just a sax for backing that wasn’t a very appealing option yesterday, also a lot of the ballads we play didn’t really work with out the keys there to fill it out. Most noticeably for me though was when it came for my turn to solo on the tunes there was absolutely no harmony to back me up. Being put in this situation, and at only a few days notice, quickly exposed some holes in my playing!

tea rooms sax

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Herbie Hancock Half-Whole Diminished Lick

I recently wanted to expand my vocabulary for playing over altered dominant chords, specifically a Dominant 7#11 (Lydian Dominant) chord. I went straight to Cantaloupe Island as it has 4 bar sections of a Db7#11 chord, check out the lick I found on the video below at around 2:00

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What You’ve Become – New Session Track Released

Tom Robertson is a really talented musician who I’ve been working with over the past year. Here is his latest release called ‘What You’ve Become’ Featuring Sami Yusuf. It also has my good friend Adam Buckeridge on drums and my brother Jon Lawton on guitar. As an extra bonus the video was shot in Liverpool! Check it out below!

If you enjoyed this track click here to view the last release from Tom.

Anytune Pro+ Review

This past week I’ve been using the new Anytune Pro+ app for my transcribing and I’ve got to start off by saying that it’s pretty good!

It is only available for iPhone, iPad or Mac and like most apps it has a really clean look and is super easy to use as everything is touch screen. Anytune is absolutely jam packed with features, more than I will probably ever need, but that’s definitely not a complaint!

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Top 5 posts of 2013!

Hey guys!

I’d just like to start by thanking you for all the support and kind words you have given me all year! I can’t wait to get cracking on 2014, I have some exciting news brewing and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all!

To finish off the year I’d like to do a little run down of my top 5 most popular posts this year!

Number 5 – Superimposing Pentatonics onto a major chord.

Number 4 – Autumn Leaves – Miles Davis mini series

Number 3 – Bag’s Groove Bassline Transcription

Number 2 – Riffstation Review

Number 1 - Song For My Father – Joe Henderson Transcription

Thanks again everyone and I’ll see you next year!