Tag Archives: Bill Stewart

Bill Stewart Solo Study no. 2

Artist: Scott Colley
Track: Airegin
Album: This Place

For my first ever solo study on this blog I wrote about the importance of addressing your weaknesses. If you consider playing in 5/4 an area in need of development, try working through the solo below. By learning the material inside-out you may find you start to gain a grasp on a time signature that can often seem baffling.
Listen to the tune here.
The solo starts at 0:28

  • The tune has an 18 bar ABAC structure (A = 4bars B = 6bars C = 4bars). Listen to recordings by Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis and memorise the tune.
  • As always Stewart is taking inspiration from the melody of the tune. Sing the head as you listen through and notice how and when he’s using the melody for inspiration.
  • Listen to how he plays groups of 2 that go over the bar line (from bar 8)
  • Notice how Stewart often avoids accenting beat 1 to create rhythmic ambiguity (a difficult skill to master in unfamiliar time signatures).



Airegin Page 1
Airegin Page 2

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Bill Stewart – Solo Study

Artist: Pat Metheny Trio
Track: Questions & Answers
Album: Trio Live 

How do you practice? A piece of advice I hear alot is ‘concentrate on your flaws’. But how many of us really commit a good portion of our time to our deficiencies? As they say, If it sounds too good in the practice room, you’re practicing the wrong things!


The Last Waltz
Recently i’ve been addressing one of my weaknesses – playing in 3/4. 3/4 differs from its compound counterpart 6/8 in that its felt with a three-in-a-bar feel ( rather than the 6/8 two-in-a-bar feel). 4/4 and 6/8 are musically compatible in that a fast 6/8 or 12/8 can feel like a slow 4/4 subdivided in triplets. Conversely 3/4 can feel like a bar of 4/4 with a beat chopped off. This means playing over the bar line or using cross-rhythms can feel stunted or counterintuitive. I started searching for examples of a swung waltz that had an unbroken continuous quality and came across the track below. Bill Stewarts playing here has exactly the kind of brimming, fluent delivery i’d been hoping to achieve. The next couple of travel days around Europe were spent transcribing and learning this great solo.


Listen to the track here. The solo starts at 6:00 mins.


  • Be aware of the way Stewart closely follows the structure of the tune during his solo. The structure is a 56 bar AABA (A = 16 bars B = 8 bars)
  • Sing the tune whilst listening through. Notice how he plays the B section with a distinctly different feel, mimicking the tune
  • Notice the three-over-two phrase split between the snare and kick drum (Page 1, Line 7)
  • Listen to how he plays groups of 4 that move across the bar line (Page 1, Line 10, Bar 4)
  • Stewart commonly uses the 4/4 swing ride pattern (Page 1, Line 7, Bar 3 onwards) which also moves across the bar line. N.B. Get comfortable with this and you can eventually begin to use your regular 4/4 vocabulary whilst holding the original 3/4 meter in your head
  • The rolling singles (Page 4, Line 5 onwards) have a nice dotted feel but these require some quick hands


Question & Answer Transcription Final1

Question & Answer Transcription Final2Question & Answer Transcription Final3Question & Answer Transcription Final4

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