Wes Montgomery’s solo on Satin Doll

Here‘s a Wes Montgomery solo I transcribed about a year ago on the jazz standard “Satin Doll”. (scroll down for the solo.)

There’s all kinds of great jazz licks in this one.

I could write a 10 page essay on everything that I like about this solo but I’ll just mention 4 things here:

4 Wes Montgomery Ideas

1. I especially like the first 4 bars how he plays very simple in the pocket ideas based off just minor 9th chord tone ideas.

2. The major arpeggio idea that Wes end’s the A section on is very simple but very unique. (By the way if you want to learn more ideas you can use to solo over a major 7th chord check out this jazz improvisation lesson.)

3. The pickup approach pattern idea he plays leading into the bridge is just a wonderful connector idea to lead into a new line.

You should add that into your playing right now!

4. There’s also a great II-V-I lick on the first 4 bars of the bridge.

You can click on the solo and open it in a new browser window to print and/or study more closely.

If you enjoyed this transcription be sure to also check out this Barry Harris transcription on the jazz standard Green Dolphin Street.


  • Anonymous

    pardon my ignorance as a beginner but what do the symbols 11-V-1 stand for?

    • They actually stands for 2-5-1. In music theory we actually use roman numerals to describe these #’s. So, 2=II 5=V and I=1. These #’s refer to the chord #’s within the scale.

  • Joseramana

    Hey Seve, wich version of satin doll is the solo from?
    Only find the version from his trio on youtube and seems like its a different one???
    All the best, and thanks for some great music teaching man!!!

  • NickyB

    I cant find this particular recording either even after looking through wes’ discography for different recordings would love to hear this particular solo also to learn but if not ill go with my ears on the recording i do have

  • Marily Rodriguez

     Be cool to hear this particular recording.

  • Saunje

    You are a lifesaver. I really have vastly benefited from these lessons.

  • Gswilde

    Steve, I love all your lessons. How about one on turn arounds?