How to play JAZZ on the mandolin

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Click on the links below to access the material.  All these are arranged for 4 or 5 string mandolin.

Wynton Kelly Transcriptions

Wynton Kelly piano

This I Dig of You

Pianist Wynton Kelly's solo from the classic Hank Mobley recording "Soul Station" on the Blue Note label.  This is a great album that should be in every Jazz lovers collection. 

I arranged the solo for 5 string mandolin. Because Kelly plays a lot of the solo in a very high register, I transposed it an octave lower from measure 15 to the end.


Here is the cut from the record.


Here is me playing the solo about 1/2 speed.



Wes Montgomery Transcriptions

4 on 6

Solo only from the recording called "The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery".  Arranged for 5 string mandolin.


Says You

Head and solo, arranged for 4 string mandolin.  The melody fits very nicely on mandolin and the chords are straight forward.  Not difficult solo for Wes, it's all single note. No octaves or chord soloing.  A very good look into his single note style. 

Here is a video of me playing Wes' solo much slower than him




Gone With The Wind

Wes' complete epic solo from "The Incredible Jazz Guitar" album.  Single notes, octaves and chord soloing.  One of Wes' best solos, arranged for 4 string mandolin.  My favorite Jazz guitar solo of all time.



King of the Road 5 String Complete Solo

3 choruses of single note soloing, 4 choruses of improvised chord melody soloing arranged for 5 string mandolin.  A terrific intro to Wes' style, from "The Further Adventures of Jimmy (Smith) and Wes" recording on Verve.

Here I play the solo slowly.



King of the Road 4 String

Can anybody tell I'm a huge fan of Wes Montgomery??  This is the short single note solo arranged for 4 string mandolin from "The Further Adventures of Jimmy (Smith) and Wes" recording on Verve. They take a non Jazz tune and swing it like nobodys business.


Tear It Down

Here is the head and Wes' first chorus transcription arranged for 5 string mandolin.  This is one of my favorite Wes originals from the Verve era.  Great rhythm section on this tune!!!

The first chorus follows the chord progression of the melody.  After that, the tune goes modal on a Cm7 for the rest of the tune and Wes swithches from single note soloing to octaves to the end of the piece.  Wes plays it here:



Charlie Parker Transcriptions

Moose The Mooche

One of Birds typical heads on the changes of I've Got Rhythm, this transcription features a lot of Parker’s signature licks and phrases.  Arranged for 4 string mandolin.

Cannonball Adderley Transcriptions


Cannonball Adderley's 1st chorus form the "Portrait of Cannonball" album, arranged for 4 string mandolin.

Clifford Brown Transcriptions

Clifford Brown jazz


Clifford Brown's complete solo from Art Blakey's "A Night At Birdland, Vol 2" album arranged for 4 string mandolin.  Also available on the Blue Note Brown box set.

Charlie Christian Transcriptions

Charlie christian Jazz

Swing To Bop (Topsy)

Charlie Christians multi chorus solo from a famous jam session, available on many of his CDs.  Some of the earliest bebop language is in this terrific swinging solo.  Arranged for 5 string mandolin.  For 4 string mandolins, just play the C string notes one octave higher.

Solo here


Other transcriptions to come, keep checking back

Last update 9/07/2013


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