Mixing Blues phrasing and melodies with Jazz chromaticism and harmony can give you some really great dom7th lines. In this lesson I am going to go over 5 examples and some exercises to help you get started exploring this.
Scales and Arpeggios for Jazz Blues
All the examples in this lesson are on an F7 chord. I also kept the material in the position around the 6th fret.
To be able to mix Jazz and Blues we of course need to have the material to play both Jazz and Blues in this position. For that we need an overview of the essential scales and arpeggios. Since we are mixing two genres we need to get the tools to play each of them.
In the Licks I can then easier explain where we are pulling the different parts from.
On the Jazz side of things we need is a scale for the F7 chord. Since F7 is the dominant of Bb major that would be a Bb major scale:
And then it is also important to know the chord tones of the F7 chord, in other words: The Arpeggio:
For the blues we can get away with one simple scale, namely the minor pentatonic scale:
This position for the pentatonic scale is not the most common, but still has some great blues options!
The Jazz Blues Licks
From Bar to bar
In the first example the opening phrase, and in fact the entire first bar, is minor pentatonic scale with an added blue note (B). The second bar is coming more from the mixolydian sound but then using slides to keep the bluesy feel.
What is often the case with these more bluesy sounding lines is that they tend to make less use of extensions and rely more on resting or resolving to the notes of the basic triad.
Is it blues or passing notes?
The second example is direcly going in to the mix and we don’t get a part that is clearly on thing or the other. The first part of the lick also uses the Blue note, but now as a more jazzy row of chormatic passing notes. It then continues with somthing that in this context sounds like F7 arpeggio material.
In the second bar we get a descending scale run from D to A with a lower passing note added before the A. The phrase concludes with a diatonic 6h skip up to the root. A melody that is very common to Blues and Country.
Triplets and triplet phrasing are part of shuffle and blues phrasing. Much more so than most bop language. In the 3rd Lick I am starting with a triplet phrase that is using the leading note to the 3rd and then continuing with a melody outlining an A dim triad. From there it descends down an F7 arpeggio with an added passing note between the root and the 7th. This is a bebop cliché that some people have even made scales out of.
In the second bar we have a variation of the 6th interval, this time from the b7 to the 5th and from there the scale moves down the triad to end on the root.
The first part of example four could be interpreted as F major pentatonic but you could also think of it as a Dm7 arpeggio.
The second bar is a phrase constructed from a repeated double stop idea. Double stops are an integral part of blues repertoire(Think Chuck Berry). This phrase is somewhat reminiscent of a Wes Montgomery phrase from Smokin’ at the Half note.
The phrase above starts with an arpeggio run that ends on and emphasizes the 7th of the chord. In the second bar it continues with another double stop and a descending pentatonic scale run. This is resolved to the major 3rd and then skips up to the root, a very typical blues phrase.
Very often in Jazz Blues phrasing you will find that the blues phrases are resolved. Since Ab and Bb both are notes with some tension over an F7 it often works better in a jazz context to resolve them (mostly to the 3rd(A))
Putting together the Jazz and The Blues Phrases in your practice
I hope you can use the 5 examples and the thoughts on how to mix the two genres that I presented here. I think it is important that you quickly start to practice mixing your skills. So you have to both be able to play Jazz and relate what you do to the changes. At the same time you need to also develop some blues phrases and techniques. The final goal is tu fuse this and play Jazz Blues Phrasing using slides, hammer-on and pull offs etc.
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Take it your Jazz Blues playing further!
If you want to explore more of what I do when soloing and how I mix jazz and blues you can check out this WebStore lesson. It contains a transcription and analysis of a 4 chorus solo and explain how the melodies are written and what melodic or harmonic devices are used.
You can also check out the other blues lessons: https://jenslarsen.nl/prodcut-category/blues/
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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:
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