Chet Baker’s solo on Stella by Starlight


This solo on Stella by Starlight is from the album Chet Baker in Tokyo, one of the last great recordings of the late trumpet player. Something that struck me immediately about this tune was that the band plays it in G, rather than in the typical key of C. After transcribing the tune I discovered that this tune in A (for Bb instruments) works really well and isn’t as scary of a key as I thought it was. I also gained some great insight in how to navigate ii-V-i patterns and 7b13 chords in keys that don’t occur often in the standard jazz literature.  Chet is a master of resolutions and using space in his solos, and this is clearly evident in this tune. Lastly, his ability to generate excitement through syncopation and anticipation is showcased throughout, something that occurs in many of his recordings.

This is the first installment of a series of transcriptions I hope to do, with an ultimate goal of transcribing every solo on this album.

Download  Bb |  C

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