Red Garland - Transcription Exercises

In this thread we explore the style of Red Garland.


Red Garland Biography:

Download full biography: Red Garland Biography.pdf (72.2 KB)

William McKinley “Red” Garland, Jr was a jazz pianist known for best for his sophisticated sound and technique. His ‘trade mark’ block chord style has influenced us all, and should be a part of all jazz pianists vocabulary.

The earlier mentioned block chord style will be discussed in this thread, start with reading the style section on the biography above!

Important Discography To Start With:

Download full suggested discography: Red Garland - Suggested Discography.pdf (16.8 KB)

What Do These Exercises Cover?

  • Exercises on this thread are built to give the students a deeper view on Red Garlands style, soloing, comping as well as an overall look into the tradition of jazz through his artistry.
  • Exercises are transcription-based, following with a closer look into certain details of his playing. This way we can combine ear-training with learning the language of jazz, as well as analyzing closely what is happening.

Transcription Exercise No. 1

Bye Bye Blackbird - Album: Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight

This transcription exercise covers Red Garlands piano solo from the track ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ ,starting at 5m30s.

Click here for the start of the solo

The Assignment:

Transcribe the missing parts of the following transcription:

Bye Bye Blackbird Transcription Exercise.pdf (43.2 KB)

Bye Bye Blackbird Transcription Exercise.mscz (18.4 KB)

  • Right hand : transcribe the missing bars
  • Left hand : transcribe the comping rhythm
  • Chord Changes : transcribe the missing chord changes

The full transcription will be posted in 2 weeks with supporting material and an analysis of the solo as well as details about what we can learn from the solo, and how to practice with it.

If you have any questions with the exercise, post them in this thread.

Have fun!




Love the left hand chords on “In the Evening”, meaning the voice leading thru the changes and simple driving pulse. Any advice on what he’s doing? I’d love to work on this to try to work thru a transcription of the way he’s playing the changes.


Hi @chris4, thanks for sharing this!

Red Garland is using a mixture of slow stride, with his (signature) repeated quarter note left hand comping, and some boogie woogie.

The song is Bb-blues, and here a chorus example, and first step to imitate the style would be to play a VERY basic voicings throughout the form:

And here an example of a basic way how to “stride up” the comping:

If you can’t reach the tenths, just double the root in octave, or you can play 7ths instead of 10ths (this is what I do as I’m not able to reach tenths in most positions).

As you can see, the voice leading is mostly happening in walking up the scale, or using a tritone approach (for example bar 8-9: D -> Ab -> G -> Db -> C).

Let me know if you have any further questions, happy to help!


1 Like

More Red Garland questions.

On the first track of above, “The Quota”. The piano solo starts at about 3 mins in. The block chords in his left hand are typically on the “and” of 4 and 2, correct? Same thing for Bye bye blackbird in his solo, where the block chords on the left hand is the pulse.

I’ve been told 2 and 4 in past studies, but I don’t hear it that way. At first listen, sounds almost like 1 and 3, but its clearer on bye bye blackbird to my ear, where the block chords are landing on the “and” of 2 and 4 . I believe I hear the block chord just before the beat of the bass.

This is just on his solos. Otherwise the comping rhythms vary.

Do I have this correct?

This is like one of those issues of not hearing the difference between a 2-3 and a 3-2 clave. Difficult for beginners like me.



I just opened the transcription pdf. Guess I didn’t need to ask the question.

Hi @chris4,

no problem, let me know if you have any further questions!


Full Transcription & Selected Analysis No. 1

Bye Bye Blackbird - Album: Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight

Click here for the start of the solo

Here is the full transcription of the piano solo, including left hand rhythm (suggested left hand voicings in the analysis!):

Bye Bye Blackbird Transcription.pdf (55.7 KB)

Bye Bye Blackbird Transcription.mscz (28.2 KB)

And here a selected analysis:

Bye Bye Blackbird Analysis.pdf (159.4 KB)

If you have questions, comments or ideas, please write them to the thread,