Transcribe Night Train

This iconic sax solo from the first Back to the Future film holds a special place in my heart.

The first time I heard ‘Marvin Berry & the Starlighters’ I’d recently started playing the tenor sax and the bright, growling sound of the late Tommy Thomas just lit up my ears.  It was something I wanted to play, and soon.  It did take me a few years before I was able to comfortably play it and it contains some great blues language, some R&B cliches and a performance that always goes down well with audiences.

In the first part of this course I’m going to give you some tips on learning to ‘growl’ down the saxophone and the rest of the transcription is split into ten clips, so you’ve got 5 weeks, two clips a week, let’s get started!

Before we start, Alto players there are a few notes you won’t be able to play, tenor players there is a Altissimo G, so, (unless you can hit the Altissimo G) play these notes down the octave, (and Alto up an octave for the low concert Bb’s)


Lesson 1 – Growling and Clips 1&2

One of the features of Rhythm & Blues saxophone playing is the use of special ‘gimmicks’ to make an impression on the audience.  Rhythm & Blues was there to be fresh and different from the ‘Swing’ bands of the 1930’s and 40’s!

Lesson 4 – Altissimo Register

Getting the Altissimo register is difficult.  It requires a lot of work on your long tones, the correct embouchure and lots of practice.

Lesson 5 – Final Lesson

Thankfully clips nine and ten are very similar to clips 2&3 from earlier in the course so you shouldn’t have too many problems


Dan Forshaw

I'm passionate about creating inspirational experiences through music and other arts. A life changing experience under the influence of the music of John Coltrane lead to study in New York and London. My thesis was on the Theology of John Coltrane as expressed through A Love Supreme. I perform across Europe with various jazz groups and teach through my innovative website, I'm a total Apple Geek, Cricket, Rugby, F1 and Football fan and I'm learning to listen opinions before giving my own!