The Beatles – Honey Pie

Buried deep in the depths of The Beatles White Album is the fun little track entitled Honey Pie. And buried deep within that is a horn section consisting of clarinets and saxes playing a beautiful jazz-era-inspired accompaniment.

It was very difficult to hear all of the parts from the original recording, so there’s an element of guesswork in my transcription. But regardless, it works and it sounds beautiful.

Without ready access to a clarinetist, these charts have been arranged for (cup muted) trumpet, alto, and tenor sax. We recorded this is a Virtual Collaboration, with musicians from across 4 continents. Audio engineering by Jean Michel Durand and video editing by Shawn Hare.


The Beatles - Honey Pie - Trumpet Clarinet Sax charts. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Be sure to check out my other transcriptions of music by The Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr!

PS: I finished and published this post from the Blue Note, Manhattan, while waiting at the bar to see trumpet player Nicholas Payton. So excited, just had to tell you…


Victoria Bitter VB Commercial

To some, the Victoria Bitter (VB) beer commercial (advertisement) is almost a second national anthem. It’s iconic and truly Australian, invoking for many a vivid recollection of that hard-earned thirst that needs a big, cold beer, since 1968. As a TV commercial, this catchy tune was recorded by the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying John Meillon’s spoken voice. It has been in our ears for over 50 years, and it’s always reassuring to know it’s there.

Last month I hiked the Kokoda Track through the rugged jungle of Papua New Guinea, and for those 8 exhausting days, I longed for an icy cold beer. And so, once the VB commercial tune was stuck in my head, on repeat, it stayed there for the entire trek. There was simply no stopping it.

During those hours of mentally processing the theme, I transcribed the whole thing in my head. So when I returned home it was a relatively simple matter of getting it out of my head and onto paper.

I’m in the process of recording this arrangement with great musicians on strings, horns, and rhythm section. But that’s likely to take a while, so in the meantime, I thought I’d unleash my transcription here.


Victoria Bitter VB Commercial Score&Parts Strings Brass Rhythm Section. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.


Kool & the Gang – Night People

How did I miss this song, back in the golden days of disco? This was fun to transcribe, play and record.

I collaborated on the BandLab platform this time. Check the link to the Project (below) for details and perhaps some insight, if you’re not familiar with BandLab.


Kool & the Gang - Night People - trumpet chart. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Be sure to check out my other Kool & the Gang transcriptions!


Phil Collins – Something Happened on the Way to Heaven

My horn section transcription of this work, originally recorded by The Phenix Horns [sic] (also known as the EWF Horns) with Phil Collins.

This was a lot of fun to play and record (and very rewarding to finally nail it).


Phil Collins - Something Happened on the Way to Heaven - Trumpet Tenor Sax. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.


Aretha Franklin – Think

Here’s my transcription of Alan Rubin’s trumpet part for “Think”, accompanying Aretha Franklin for The Blues Brothers soundtrack.

I’ve recorded this as part of a “virtual collab”, with all instruments recording individually on our respective corners of the globe, and then mixing the lot in together to form this consolidated collaboration. I plan to post the finished product here when available.


Aretha Franklin - Think - Trumpet

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.


Kool & the Gang – Love Festival

My first transcription recorded on the Bandlab platform (audio only; video is not yet offered on Bandlab).

A fun and funky piece from Kool & The Gang. How had I not heard this before?


Kool & The Gang - Love Festival - Trumpet Sax charts. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.

Be sure to check out my other Kool & the Gang transcriptions!


Housekeeping… Cleaning up Dead Links

When I started this blog I almost always followed a routine of posting each of my trumpet transcriptions along with a link to a video demonstration of me playing it. Most often that was a link to a collaboration video, comments, and other resources at the Bandhub site. But when Bandhub went offline in mid-March, all of those links (some 200-odd) from my blog went dead. 💩

I didn’t want this to be a blog full of useless links, so I’ve spent the last month tidying-up all of those dead links to Bandhub, mostly replacing them with links to Bandhub videos published on YouTube. Where I found my co-collaborators had shared videos I linked to those, and where I couldn’t find any traces I uploaded the videos to my YouTube channel. In some cases, where I was especially pleased with what I saw and heard, I embedded those Bandhub/YouTube clips into the blog post.

There was a number of videos that I did not upload or link to. Usually, this was because the collaboration was only partially completed before Bandhub closed, or the backing track (in all its copyrighted glory) was still embedded in the video. In those instances, I’m simply not including a video demonstration of my transcription.

Currently, this blog is receiving 150-200 visitors per week. So I felt it was important to keep the house in order for them.

And I’ve got a number of completed transcriptions drafted and ready to publish, once my co-collaborators record their parts and the videos have been finalized. So stay tuned, there’s more to come.


Chicago Collaborations

While the Bandhub music collaboration community was online I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play and record some music from the great band Chicago. Further, I got to play it with some of the very best musicians on “the hub”.

Here are my absolute favorites from those collaborations…

Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon


Feelin’ Stronger Every Day

Questions 67 and 68

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

I’m so grateful to have been able to play with these great musicians, including James Wilkas (vocals, sax, keys), Bob Bernstein (drums), Clay Whisenant (bass), Juan Ignacio Saba Veloso (vocals), VanGuy2015 [who won’t reveal his name] (vocals), Chris Heaps (guitar), Joe Mendicino (guitar), Tom Ferazza (trombone), Mike Pinto (drums), James Erickson (guitar). And for the sake of completing the credits, Gary Badger (trumpet, flugelhorn).

My sincere thanks to Marcelo Birnbach and Pablo Osinaga too, for creating and maintaining the Bandhub platform and collaboration community, for as long as it was able to keep beating. This kind of thing was only possible because of their fine work.


The Village People – Y.M.C.A.

That iconic trumpet introduction… You’re out somewhere and you hear it start. People look at each other and smiling, thinking “are we really gonna do this?” The answer is always “YES!” Even at the start of a Green Day concert I once took my daughters to, with the entire Green Day audience at full voice and the YMCA dance moves.

Anyway, towards the end of Bandhub’s time online I notched up 400 recordings. To mark the milestone I decided to throw a Bandhub party, inviting community participation from many of the friends I had made there. This transcription and recording were the results, including an impromptu wah-wah trumpet solo to fill in the instrumental chorus.

My sincere thanks to Alberto Rossi for this fine video edit!


Village People - Y.M.C.A. Trumpet Trombone Sax Violin score and chats. Transcribed by Gary Badger -

Transcribed by me and free for you to use.

What do you think? Please leave a comment and let me know.


My EPIC Bandhub Collab Collection

I enjoyed three fantastic years collaborating with others to make music on Bandhub, until its recent sad demise. For the uninitiated, Bandhub was an online music collaboration community where I made > 400 recordings, making music with people from across the planet. After my early days of hanging out there, initially assessing the lay of the land and understanding potential, I did my very best to test the boundaries of Bandhub by organizing and creating collabs that I thought would be “epic”. My quest to engineer epic collabs had me trying to record performances that differentiated themselves from others.

Here’s a collection of the collabs I organized that I’m the proudest of because:

  1. They were truly unlike others on Bandhub;
  2. My wonderful Bandhub buddies and co-conspirators trusted me and totally bought into my unusual ideas, with lots of feel-good moments; and
  3. Most of these collabs were transcribed by me. I’m relieved to say that charts were available for the others, so transcribing wasn’t always necessary.

Gonna Fly Now (Theme from “Rocky”)

We recreated the original 1976 Hollywood recording, doing our very best to capture the energy and excitement of that ground-breaking soundtrack. The transcribing, arranging, and project management consumed an entire Xmas break for me. Bringing the team together and seeing the adrenaline rush of excitement as this built, was truly special.

Download my transcription: Gonna Fly Now (Theme from “Rocky”).

Chuck Mangione – To The 80’s

My tribute to my musical hero, Chuck Mangione. I love this one because it was challenging to transcribe Chuck’s solo by ear, and even more challenging to play it in the flugelhorn high register. But I really tip my hat to my good buddy James Wilkas for his magnificent tenor sax solo, incorporating much of Chris Vadala’s fine work into his own.

I’d never known anyone to cover this tune before, so it felt like a rare, untapped opportunity. To top it off, I was honored to learn from Chuck’s niece that Chuck himself saw and heard the video!

Download my transcription: Chuck Mangione – To the 80’s.

Joe Cocker – The Letter

Our careful recreation of Joe Cocker’s live performance, at a time when we had all the right people at the right time to pull it off. This is super-tight!

A beautiful memory too of our superb backing vocalist Gea, who we tragically lost recently. This song and recording will always remind me of her. I loved it before, and I love it even more now.

Download my transcription: Joe Cocker – The Letter.

Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Opening Theme)

There’s a recurring theme of dumb ideas taking hold and blossoming into something big. This one came about, not surprisingly, while enjoying the Life of Brian opening cartoon sequence and admiring the trumpets in this Goldfinger parody. Then, after convincing Claire she should sing and perform the unorthodox lyrics, she absolutely stole the show!

Download my transcription: Monty Python – Brian Song.

Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger

Hot on the heels of Life of Brian, we found momentum and enthusiasm to stretch things further and pull together the original theme song that inspired it. We stretched to bring in French horns and even real timpani. Leveraging Brendan Champion’s Free Horn Charts, the amazing Ynping tweaked the string orchestrations to create an epic string section. Finally, Claire once more dug deep to pull off the most extraordinary Shirley Bassey-esque performance. Very proud of this one!

Hunters & Collectors – Stuck On You

Given that I’d rarely ever played with strings before a few years ago, it sure says something about the talent of my friends to see violins feature so heavily in my Epic Collab Collection. This time, my very good friend Amanda Tse plays some truly beautiful, heartfelt violin lines as we play this stripped-back Australian rock ballad.

Download my transcription: Hunters & Collectors – Stuck On You.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band – The Floral Dance

Yeah, this is where it started to get silly and included fancy dress. I had this idea that we could pull off a full brass band performance in the British style with just four people. Ably assisted by my very good friends Craig Catarinich, Andrew Mayes, and Ross MacDonald, we made a very good attempt at it. Sadly, we ran out of time and the opportunity to fill out the lower brass instruments, but there’s enough here to show that it could be done.

Herb Alpert – Behind The Rain

Cheesy late-70s funky disco taken too seriously; this piece was just itching to be hammed up and some trumpet ego exercised. But there certainly are some jazzy chords and dramatic accents to capture attention.

What I liked the most about this collab was that none of my collaborators were even the slightest bit aware of this stuff, but took a leap of faith and trusted me with it anyway. The result far exceeded my expectations.

Download my transcription: Herb Alpert – Behind The Rain.

No Nonsense – Hawaii Five-0

Too silly? Naah. Australian ska band No Nonsense released a vinyl EP entitled Around Tuit, late in the 1980s. This unique arrangement of the Hawaii Five-0 theme was on the B-side. This was a chance to have some fun with friends on a theme…

Download my transcription: No Nonsense – Hawaii Five-0.

Woody Herman – The Golden Wedding

I traveled interstate with my webcam and recording equipment to record my Dad playing this clarinet solo as well as the rest of the reed section. The one and only recording of Dad and I playing together, so we did it in style as a full big band.

A very special memory, with an exclamation point at the end when Dad nails the last note of his clarinet solo and then turns to me with a look of surprise as if to say “Please tell me you got that!”

Sting – Fortress Around Your Heart

A moment in time when I knew that we had the right people to capture a credible version of this, one of my favorite Sting songs, closing out his 1985 album Dream of the Blue Turtles. Except, of course, that Branford Marsalis’ brilliant soprano sax parts are played by me on trumpet, as best I was able.

Wonderful hints of Sting can be heard in vocalist Jason Osborne’s performance, while the sound of the original recording was totally nailed by Chris Carli (guitar), Neil Davidson (keys), Ross MacDonald (drums), and Luciano Baêta (bass and video production).

Download my transcription: Sting – Fortress Around Your Heart.

The Streets of San Francisco

Transcribing and recording this complex beast had long sat in the too-hard basket. But I felt that if I could untangle the tightly woven horn parts then I stood a good chance of the other musicians being able to nail the rhythm section parts. As it turned out, once on paper the horn parts weren’t that complex after all! Too many good things to say about this one…

Download my transcription: The Streets of San Francisco.

Cantina Band – Star Wars (Jazz Edition)

I heard this on YouTube and simply had to copy it. Who else do you know who has attempted a serious recording of this tune?

Village People – Y.M.C.A.

The beauty of the Bandhub community was that it was just that; a community of people. I pulled together 25 of my favorite people to help me celebrate my 400th Bandhub collab, just weeks before the kiss of death was put on Bandhub. This is a pretty fine level of community participation!

Download my transcription: The Village People – Y.M.C.A.

Don Ellis – Princess Leia’s Theme

A unique jazz-influenced arrangement of John Williams’ classic theme as recorded by trumpet virtuoso Don Ellis. I pulled together a 34-piece Bandhub orchestra to play charts that I transcribed by ear. I love the way that this arrangement builds from very little to a major musical climax, before quietly slipping away into a galaxy far away. Too many musical highlights here for me to single out any one of them over another.

Download my transcription: Don Ellis – Princess Leia’s Theme.

The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island

A practical joke backfired on me, and before I could blink my good friends made a meal of this cheesy jingle. But it caused us to consider, and really pay homage to, the studio musicians who are called upon to play silly ditties but do so with complete professionalism. So as we played, this was another case of “ridiculousness, taken seriously”.

Download my transcription: The Ballad of Gilligan’s Island.

Carpenters – Superstar

I’ve never had the slightest interest in the Carpenters and their music, although that sometimes puts me at odds with other people (including one I’m married to!). But when my friend Ynping was interested in singing the lead vocals and transcribing strings, this was an opportunity not to be passed up. French horns became flugelhorns, and an oboe became a soprano sax. But we were still able to blend the instruments and vocals (lead and backing) beautifully to closely mirror the Carpenters’ original.

Download my transcription: Carpenters – Superstar.

Happy Birthday, MzMieux

I saved this one until the end of my Epic Collab list. It’s like no other collab, and it serves as a reminder that it was the people that made Bandhub so special. Knowing that Claire’s birthday was on the horizon and that she has so many warm friendships across the planet, I organized this surprise party for her. Bandhub allowed “unlisted” collabs so I was able to track down a bunch of special people and record this secretly for weeks in readiness for the big day. Then, overnight on the morning of her birthday, I published it.

“Surprise” would be an understatement. “Shock” and “disbelief” were more accurate after Claire casually logged on around 4:30am and was hit with that. 🙂