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#94 How To Play Grover Washington Jr's Sax Hook On Just The Two Of Us (Featuring Bill Withers)

sax hall of fame Nov 01, 2020

On this week's free online saxophone lesson you'll be learning a real smoochy classic from Grover Washington Jr, and that's his iconic 1980 sax hook from Just The Two Of Us featuring Bill Withers. This was originally released on Grover's album Winelight. Whereas last week's Native New Yorker Brecker solo was a real killer, this one should be much more manageable if you're a beginner on sax. 

Be sure to pick up your free PDF sheet music transcription for Just The Two Of Us here, which has got the sax hook written out for alto AND tenor. Here are the Q&A topics covered in this lesson, with video time stamps (min:sec). Clicking on the time stamp will take you straight to that portion of the video on YouTube (in a separate tab). Full Time stamps for the video and a complete transcript are available at the bottom of the blog.

 

Who plays the sax solo on Just The Two Of Us by Grover Washington Jr and Bill Withers? (0:50)

  • the sax solo on Just The Two Of Us is played by American tenor saxophonist Grover Washington Jr
  • Grover Washington Jr was known was his funky, soulful sax work, famously heard on his track Mr Magic
  • Grover Washington Jr is also known for his soprano sax playing
  • he was a forerunner of the smooth jazz movement

 

Is it hard to play the sax hook on Just The Two Of Us? (0:50)

  • the sax hook on Just The Two Of Us is quite easy to play if you're a beginner on sax
  • it's easier if you play it down the octave on tenor

 

What are the notes for Grover Washington Jr's Just The Two Of Us sax hook? (2:25)

For full fingerings, get your free PDF sheet music transcription for Just The Two Of Us. These are the notes for each phrase.

* = second octave, ** = third octave

__ = a longer note

  • phrase 1 - tenor (2:50): D**  C*  Bb*  G*  D**  C*  D**__
  • phrase 2 - tenor (3:02): C*  Bb*  Ab*  F*  C*__
  • phrase 3 - tenor (3:33): Bb*  Ab*  Gb*  Eb*  Bb*  Ab*  Bb*__
  • phrase 4 - tenor (3:46): Ab*  G*__Bb*__F**___


  • phrase 1 - alto (2:50): A*  G*  F*  D*  A*  G*  A*__
  • phrase 2 - alto (3:02): G*  F*  Eb*  C  G*__
  • phrase 3 - alto (3:33): F*  Eb*  Db  Bb  F*  Eb*  F*__
  • phrase 4 - alto (3:46): Eb*  D*__F*__C*___

 

Where can I find a backing track for the Just The Two Of Us hook? (5:00)

  • there's a backing track that you can play along to, here!

 

So that's it for this week, I hope you enjoy learning this famous sax hook. Don't forget to get your free PDF sheet music transcription for Just The Two Of Us here, lovingly transcribed as always for tenor and alto. Until next week, keep practicing smart and I'll see you later! 

Jamie :-)

 

Video Timestamps

0:00 - intro performance

0:19 - intro and titles

0:50 - about Just The Two Of Us

1:53 - how to get your free PDF transcription for Just The Two Of Us

2:02 - how to get your free one hour masterclass

2:25 - the notes

2:50 - PHRASE 1 BREAKDOWN

3:02 - PHRASE 2 BREAKDOWN

3:33 - PHRASE 3 BREAKDOWN

3:46 - PHRASE 4 BREAKDOWN

3:53 - putting it all together

4:36 - FULL PERFORMANCE

5:00 - JUST THE TWO OF US BACKING TRACK

5:27 - outro

6:43 - outro music and bloopers

 

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m pro saxophonist Jamie Anderson and you’re watching Get Your Sax Together. I sax up your Sunday every week, with free online saxophone lessons teaching you great technique tips, player profiles and breakdowns of your favourite sax solos. On today’s lesson you’ll learn how to play Grover Washington Jr’s iconic sax line from Just The Two Of Us featuring Bill Withers.

[TITLE MUSIC]

If you’re a beginner on sax, alto OR tenor, this is gonna be a good week for you. This one’s about a hundred times easier than last week’s Brecker solo on Native New Yorker. Just The Two Of Us was released on Grover Washington’s 1980 album Winelight and features the vocal talent of soul legend Bill Withers. The song was subsequently released as a single in 1981 and won a Grammy Award for “Best R&B Song”. To keep it manageable, we’re just gonna learn the main head section of the song today, but it’s well worth transcribing the whole solo at the end if you love soulful saxophone. In fact, if you’re a fan, comment below with your favourite Grover Washington track. I’m gonna opening the bidding with Mr Magic, but I’d love to hear YOUR favourite. If you’ve ever tried to play along with Just The Two Of Us you might have struggled with your tuning, as the original recording is about 40 cents too sharp. However, you’ll be pleased to hear that if you keep watching, there’s a backing track for YOU to play along with, and it’s bang in tune! Good old F minor, right where it usually is. Before you learn this one, use the link below to download your free PDF sheet music transcription, which is written out for tenor AND alto sax. And finally, I know I always plug it, but be sure to go and check out my one hour Saxophone Success Masterclass, which is an awesome FREE lesson with me covering a whole load of stuff that will help you take your sax playing to the next level. Just use the card linked above, the URL below, or click the link in the description. Honestly, it’s well worth checking it out if you haven’t already.

[STING: The Notes]

I’ve divided this melody into four phrases, and what actually happens on the original is that it’s all repeated, except down the octave. This makes it pretty low for alto the second time, so I’d probably keep it the same both times. Also, if you’re beginner on tenor and the high F is too high for you, just take it DOWN the octave both times. Here’s the first phrase broken down, in slow motion.

[phrase 1 slow]

The second phrase is almost the same, but down a tone.

[phrase 2 slow]

If you get your free PDF transcription for Just The Two Of Us, using the link in the description, you might notice that Grover bends up to certain notes. If you wanna learn how to do these scoops, as well as every other note shaping technique I could think of, then go and check out the video linked on the card above now. Moving on then, the third phrase continues the step down pattern by another tone.

[phrase 3 slow]

Phrase four is a direct continuation of phrase three and it rounds off the melody.

[phrase 4 slow]

[STING: Putting It All Together]

Now we can put it ALL together. To remind you of another thing that I say every time - the chart is NOT the territory. By that I mean, don’t just learn the notes. Go and listen to Grover Washington Jr, and try and play along, matching his phrasing exactly. That one trick can really transform how good you sound. I’ll now play the whole solo, and after I’ve played it, the backing track will then run again for YOU to play along with. Remember you can change the speed of playback on YouTube. Just go to your settings for the video on your computer or phone and slow it down to 0.75 or even 0.5 speed until you learn it properly. There’s a one bar introduction, then we’re in. Have fun!

[PERFORMANCE]

[BACKING TRACK]

[STING: Before You Go]

So that’s it for this Sunday, I hope you enjoyed learning Grover Washington Jr’s famous tenor riff on Just The Two Of Us featuring Bill Withers. Don’t forget to pick up your free PDF using the link in the description, and if you wanna learn some more in-depth sax stuff go to Get Your Sax Together dot com, forward slash masterclass, to get your free one hour lesson with me. As always, thank you SO much for supporting me by watching these lessons, and I’m especially grateful to those of you who support me by buying me a coffee using the link in the description. You might have noticed there’s this virus thing around right now, and I’ve literally done five gigs since March. I know everyone in the world is adapting and facing challenges, but I can tell you it’s a pretty hard time to be a musician right now. Anyway, at least I’ve got plenty of time to make content like this for you guys, so it’s not all bad news! If you’re diggin’ the content, please give the video a thumbs up, leave me a comment, subscribe to the channel, click the bell icon to be notified when I upload new content and check out my Insta and Facebook pages. Once again, I have no clue what’s coming up for you next Sunday, but until then, practice hard, practice smart, and above all, enjoy your music. See ya later!

[ROLL END TITLES]

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