by Russ Nolan

(note: if the manuscript is not clear in full-screen mode, you may try to rewind–worked for me– or you can download the .pdf file here: Joel Frahm-Short Rack Solo-Smalls Live )

Short Rack Tenor Solo by Joel Frahm

With his permission, I would like to share one of many great solos performed by my friend and former mentor, NYC Jazz Saxophonist Joel Frahm. Joel, in my opinion, is one of the greatest living jazz saxophonists, and he certainly supports my case in this medium-tempo Blues solo on the Smalls Live label (click on the link for the freshest talent in NYC recorded live at Smalls Jazz Club).

Joel is known for being a complete player:

1) His flawless technique and harmonic sophistication–as demonstrated in measures 15-17, 29-35, 56-65, 74-84. I have done my best to note the chord substitutions he is implying.

2) His big-yet-focused sound throughout.

3) His rhythmic diversity (triplets vs. 16th’s) and sophistication–check out the super-imposition in mm. 45-46! WTH?! (What The Heck?!)

4) His melodic playfulness by quoting ‘Blues on the Corner’ in mm. 37-40, and ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ in mm. 61-62. Note his simple, yet-effective blues vocabulary in mm. 49-55 in contrast to his harmonic and rhythmic sophistication.

5) His flawless time–when all is said and done, he simply SWINGS HIS ARSE OFF and both musicians and non-musicians can relate!

Joel Frahm

Joel Frahm


More to come from this amazing musician…


russ nolan jazz blog pic

Russ Nolan Jazz Blog




  1. hi, im a bass player, can u plz transpose it for the natural key?

  2. Hi Russ,
    I just found this great Transcription of a great Solo: Joel Frahm – Short Rack. But as being a guitarist, a transpositon for concert key instruments would be great. Did you make one ? if, it would be great, if you could give it to me.
    Did you also transcribe the guitar solo of Kurt Rosenwinkel ?

  3. I would also love a copy of the transcription!

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