Miles Davis Yardbird Suite Solo Transcription

Transcription of Yardbird Suite Solo Improvisation by Miles Davis and Lucky Thompson, with sample mp3 and brief analysis.


Miles Davis, one of the most innovative Jazz musician in history. Here is the short clip of Miles Davis and Lucky Thompson solo over this jazz standard Yardbird Suite.


 And here’s the transcription in PDF format,


Quote from Genius Guide to Jazz,

“Davis understood that the space between the notes was sometimes just as important as the notes themselves. But he also understood that too much space between the notes, and people would think that the concert was over and go home… “

The first 16 bars of the solo is by Miles. We can see the amount of space left in between his lines. he is attempting to build a more melodious solo, instead of trying to execute as many killer licks as possible within the chord changes. This is something many jazz students fail to do nowadays.


A very common jazz chord subsitution technique is applied in this clip.

  • We can substitute a ii7-V7-I chord progression with a iv7-VIIb7-I


Dm7 -> G7 -> C becomes Fm7 -> Bb7 -> C

This can be observed many times in the chord changes of Yardbird Suite.

To take this technique one step further,

  • We can construct solo ideas based on the Fm7 -> Bb7 chord tones over a Dm7 -> G7 progression

Here is one example found from the transcription


The extra Ab, Bb and Eb can also be thought of as the flat 9th, raised 9th and raised 5th of the G7 chord.

Like always, have fun and enjoy….. 🙂


  • Rod

    Reply Reply October 4, 2007

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  • Dave Battler

    Reply Reply July 8, 2009

    What a great site and thanks for the transcriptions of Yardbird suite. I taught guitar for many years but gave it up for a regular job to support my family and after 30 years have started playing again . There is so much more material available now and it’s fabulous . Thanks and Bless you all. Sincerely Dave

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