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'Take The A Train' (Duke Ellington)

Improvised solo by Doug McKenzie


This is a transcription of a live played improvisation. It is difficult, especially in rubato passages ,
to notate the rhythm accurately. Best to look at this youtube video to see the original annotated video
on my website http://www.bushgrafts.com or on YouTube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98J-s0b55MQ

D 9 ( # 11)/F # D 9 ( # 11)/F # # D 9 ( # 11)/F #


j C/G C/G
#
C/G

4 b b b #
#
The intro is played freely ......

&4 #
. 3

? 44 J # # #
The whole tone scale ..

C/G D 9 ( # 11)/F # C Maj9 E 7(# 9) A 7alt

b #
4

& b

3
#
? # # n
The chords 'back-cycle' to
approach the D7 chord

D 7( #111) E b 7(# 9) D 7( #11)


b
b b # n

7 'Side-slipping' the whole chord.

& # a #
b b .. #
? #
b # n #
5

.
J
6

D m9 G 7alt

#
9

& ww # b n n # n # N n n
# b
b # n
'Falling-off' again - this time


from the 9th(E), to the 7th (C)

? # n
'Falling-off' the 7th(C) to


the 3rd (F#) chromatical y



E b m9 A b 9
C Maj 7


6
C9 G 7sus G 7alt Now in tempo - very slowly.

& b b b n
11

b # # # ..
n b .

? b n
One of the many turn-around possibilities - I, bIIIm, bVI7, V


b b
D 7(# 9)
b #
E 7altA 7alt D 7

b b
14

& J # #
#
# n #
6
The 'back-cycling' again.

? #
Upper chromatic neighbours target each chord tone in turn

j
b

j
D m9 3
C Maj9/G
3 G 13

b n
#
17

& b

# n J
? J # n . j
3 3
J .
F #7

6

j
C 13 F9

# # #
20

&
b # # #


? # J j


#

j j j
3 3


22

&


3


J #
?

Close position block chords- inversions of F6 chord


3 3
b
3

'Take The A Train' - Page 2


F # dim G 7( b 9)
D9
j D m9
j
3


25

& j # ... # # n b
.
b #
All are inversions of the chord

? #. b n
J J
J
3


D 9 ( # 11)
# ...
C Maj 7
29
#
& www
#
ww

Last 8 bars - back to rubato
.
? w #
w
w
D m9 G 7alt

b # # n n b n # n n #
3


33

&
b # n n b # b n n n

? b n #
A diminished chord shape is moved as a 'constant structure' with the melody.


3
A b7
6
C9 A 13 G 7alt

& b # #
35

b n # n

? b
b
Another turn-around possibility - I, VI7,bVI7,V
C Maj 7 G 7alt C Maj 7 E7 A7

b n j # n
37

& #
# n n
#
Now in tempo ....

? n


'Take The A Train' - Page 3
E b9 D 7( #11)

D7
39
# j
& # ... #


? # j b #
J b

G 7( b 9)
D7

D m9 G 7sus
j
b
&
41



? # n J

F #7 E 7/G # G 7( b 9)
6
C9 D7 G 7sus
43
j j
& # # n # n # n
n b
.. #
? . # n
# J n J



C Maj 7
45

&
b
?
b


#

D7
47

& #
#

3

? # #
J j #

'Take The A Train' - Page 4
G 7sus G 7(b9b13) G 7(#9b13)
49

j b j
& j b b .. b b
.
? j
J

E b 7( b 9) G b 7( b 9) A 7( b 9) C 7( b 9) E b 7( b 9) G b 7( b 9) A 7( b 9)

b A b A A n
C 7alt

b N b
51

& b b b A b n
# b
A N b
b
? b J
b n


Kr rK b n b n
Kr rK n
b n b
.

b n

Over the modulation to F Major on the bridge, instead of a straight C dominant chord,I have taken a 7b9 shape


b n b
F6 C7 F Maj 7 F m6
53
J b
& J
b
j b j
? j
.

E b m7 b n b n b n .

F Maj 7 D7

b n b N
& .
56

J

? b j b # #
b

A b 13
B b/A b

jn j
G 7alt C Maj 7

b ... j
59

bb
3

& j
.. J # n b jb n
3 3

. b n
. b n n
? b n b b n

b . #

'Take The A Train' - Page 5
#
j
C Maj 7 D 7( #11)
#
j
& b J
62

#


b
3

? J j # #
b

G 7( b 9) E b m9
6
D m9 D m7 C9

b
65

& .
J n b b b n

b # n
? b n b n b

Turnaround - I, i , II7, V

G 7( b 9)
6 6
D7 B9 C9 C Maj 7

j j b
# # # j n
68

& n
# J
j .
? # n j j ..
J J

D 7(# 9) D 7( b 9)
# D m9

# n b b j
n j
71

& # j# a a # b n
3

b3
# j
? # .. #




n
J

G 7sus G 7alt G/C E b m7/G b D m9 G 13 ( b 9)

j . b n
74

& n n .. b b #
b #
n
? . b. J j
J J
The 'cry me a river' lick over an altered dominant chord

'Take The A Train' - Page 6


D 9 ( # 11)

#
C Maj 7

j
# ...
77

& J
a
? # #


D m9 G 7sus G 13 ( b 9)

j j j
80

& #
. j
3


n b
? b # n
J b # n j j j j

3

J
3

F #7
G 13 ( b 9)
F Maj 7 Cb 7( 13)
b
6

j
G7 C9 C 13
j j # n n
#
83

& b n # J
b
b b
?
# # n n

Gb 9
C 13 ( b 9) F 9
6

j
6 6 6
F Maj 7 C7 F9 F9
j b bb b #
86


& J b n

b
? b b
J

D 9 ( # 11)
j
D m9
89

&w # ww w # ww
J
? .
b # b # n
J J J J
'Take The A Train' - Page 7
F/A G 7(b9b13) C Maj 7

j j
92

& b b n
# #
J
?
J J
J J
D 7( #11)
j
D m9
#
# # nn
95

& #
#


? j # a #
J

G 13 ( b 9)
6
G7 C9 G sus G 7(b9b13)

b b j
98

&
Tremolo in RH (E Major triad)

...
. b b
b n j
Melodic line played in left Hand under RH tremolo

? .. j
3

.
.
D 7( #11)
j A b dim
C6 B dim C6 D dim C D m9 A 7alt

j
& # # n b a
101 3

j ...

b n . #
3
? J . b # # n b # .
J J
J The classic 4 bar big band figure - in 4 part drop 2Chromatic
harmony scale
3 from Root (D) down
3


Up the C major scale - dim chords on non-chord tones

# a
D m9 D m7 G 7alt

# J J n J J b #
104

& J J
J # n
..
? #.
3
n j N

'Take The A Train' - Page 8
6

j
C9 A7 D7 G 13 C6 B dim C6 D dim
j
& j
107

b # b . n j
# # n
. # # . n n ..

..
? .. .. # . n . j
J J J
A b dimA 7alt #
j D 7( 11)
C6 F

w Kr
b J
110

& # # ww #
Tremolo - (an E major triad) Tremolo continues

b w R
. # #
? b J b
J J
C 7( b 9) E b 7( b 9)
6 6
D m9 G 7(#11b13) C9 C9

b j b b b
113

& n b
#
n b b
?
J .
A7 C7 F #7 F Maj 7

.

116

& # b
b
? . # j

# .
F #9 F G m7 A bdim F/A D 7( #11)

..
119

& .. b b j j
n b #

# # n n b

? j b n #


down
# # b n b
'Take The A Train' - Page 9
D b7
j D m9
D m/C #
D m7/C G 13

j
122 D m7

& # n .
n .. n b b b n

# b # n
? n
J b

D 7( #11)
6
C9

. j
125

& www # ..
w
.
? # ..
J J

I call this a D 'Whole Tone chord' with

# # b
every note of the scale (LH - C,D,E and RH F#,G#,A#)
D m7 D m7 G7

b n # n
128

&
..
? . b n # n

A b7 D bMaj 7
6
C9

b b bb
131

& # / / / /
b b
?
The classic ending - with a twist! Slips up a semitone to Db!

b b b
b # b
b b
C 7( #11)
#
# a
& #
134

b
3

?
3

'Take The A Train' - Page 1 0