Lester Young’s “Fine and Mellow” solo is one of my favourites. It’s the sound and feeling that draw me in. This is one of the first transcriptions that I had ever attempted in high school, and it has stuck with me since.
To me, the solo is all about nuance. There aren’t that many notes, and it is only a chorus long, but Lester gets to the point. Pure beauty!
If you’re going to learn this, make sure you have the melody firmly planted in your head. It’s important, otherwise you’ll miss the subtleties in the vibrato, rhythmic variety and the emotive qualities that Lester Young brings to this bandstand.
Check it out on Youtube.
Here’s the version for tenor sax.