Here’s Mike Stern’s solo over ‘Green Dolphin Street’ from the ‘Four Generations of Miles’. A couple of things to note straight off the bat – on this record this tune is played in Eb as Miles played it, not C as it is in the Real Book. Also, there’s not much of a Latin feel in the A section and by Stern’s solo the whole group swings straight through.
Onto the solo – Stern is on good form, and there are quite a few great licks spread through the 3-and-a-bit choruses. Particularly noticeable is what I’ve started calling the Mike Stern arpeggio: it first appears in bar 21, and analyzing it over the F7 chord it is played over it contains the 7th, 9th, #11th and 13th but is usually played descending starting from the 13th and resolving onto the 13th again at the end. This arpeggio fits really nicely under the fingers and lends itself nicely to the fast ascending lick beginning in the latter half of bar 52. This lick sounds intimidating until you realise that it’s just the aforementioned arpeggio with the top note moving up the Eb major scale until it reaches the B natural over the G7alt chord in bar 58. This arpeggio is a real Mike Stern trademark and can be seen in his playing right back to his early days with Miles (check out the long lick beginning at 6:28 on ‘Fat Time’, from the ‘The Man with the Horn’ album).
It is worth mentioning that in bar 77 the lick Stern is playing is rather unclear in its rhythmic phrasing and also its note choice – I’ve notated the lick as i’m hearing it on the record, but of course use your ears over the transcription, particularly with regards to some of the more unusual groupings I’ve written. Because of the heavy chorus and delay used as well it was also quite difficult to pick out some of the inner voices in the chords from bar 93, however the voicings I’ve written will work fine even if they aren’t the exact ones Stern is using.