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Artist’s Choice: Steven Bernstein on Great Brass Solos on Vocal Songs

Where intuition, fearless virtuosity and restraint meet

Steven Bernstein

Playing a brass solo on a vocal song is a unique situation. The art of these solos is to conjure the melody without aping it, compliment the timbre and phrasing of the vocalist, and elevate the song to a new level. Adding the beautiful mystery of an improvised solo creates a new dimension within a lyric-based song. These situations are also unique in that they take place in a recording studio, usually with the soloist hearing the music for the first time, and require a special blend of intuition, fearless virtuosity and restraint. This is not meant to be a list of the greatest or most iconic solos in the vocal genre; rather, these are solos that have meant the most to me and inspired me over the years.

“The St. Louis Blues”

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