Being able to play jazz on the Bulgarian kaval has always been one of my goals. I do realise how abstract the word “jazz” has become in the last few years. What I mean by this is playing jazz like the great masters such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Hubert Laws and many others from that period.
I started entirely by myself without even knowing what to begin with. No one ever did it the way I wanted to do it on my instrument. So I had no one to “steal” from. The most natural thing for me was to start learning solos by ear and then by heart because that what I did with Bulgarian folk music. To be honest it didn’t really make any sense in the the beginning. I was able to play the solos and the melodies but I didn’t understand anything. Then I started notating the solos and later analyzing them. Of course if you want to analyze a solo properly you’ll have to gain a lot of knowledge about theory. So I read quite a few books about that until I was completely able to understand what the players I analyzed did.
Here’s a transcription that I did of one of the greatest flutist in Jazz history – Hubert Laws. This solo is my favourite flute jazz solo. The lines are so precise, the timing is so great. Even the difficult changes of John Coltrane’s tune – Moment’s Notice seem to be super easy when H.Laws’ plays them.
His amazing playing was a huge inspiration for me. So I decided to transcribe that solo and try to play it on the kaval. I spoke in previous articles about the disabilities of the Bulgarian kaval. It’s a semi chromatic instrument which means some of the notes are missing. Check out THIS article to learn more.
The tempo is pretty fast and playing such difficult melodies, using almost the whole range of the kaval is extreme and nearly impossible. Off course that made it even more interesting for me. So I transcribed it.
Below you can find the transcription. I made it available for everybody online. Also, a video of me playing that solo in the original tempo. You can listen to the original recording HERE.