Category Archives: Lesson

Kenny Burrell – You Want To Be Using Blues Like This

Kenny Burrell is famous for his use of Blues in his jazz solos. This solo is no exception, but the lines he plays here really showcases a very sophisticated way to use both Blues and Rhythm in a Hardbop solo.

I think that his playing on Broadway has examples of his vocabulary that showcases the blues influence, but also the swing and the bebop influence. The rhythms he uses are complicated but have a natural flow and he is not shying away from altered chords or tritone substitutions in this solo either.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:16 Kenny Burrel: Rhythm and Blues (and bebop)

0:43 Example 1 – Blues Phrases on The Tonic Chord

0:48 Analysis

1:22 The Cmaj7 – F7 trick That Charlie Parker Also Uses

2:07 Example 1 – Slow

2:14 Example 2 – Arpeggios And Bebop Lines

2:18 Analysis

3:20 Example 2 – Slow

3:27 Example 3 – Blues Scale = Altered Dominant?

3:35 Analysis

5:15 Example 3 – Slow

5:46 Example 4 – Tritone substitution

5:50 Analysis

6:55 Example 4 – slow

7:01 Like The Video? Check out my Patreon Page.

Check out my lesson on Grant Green:
https://jenslarsen.nl/grant-green-how-to-bridge-bebop-and-blues/

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Jazz Comping – Intervals is the (Beautiful) Simple solution

A great approach to Jazz Comping is to not only rely on chords but also use intervals as a way of conveying the harmony. Using intervals is an easier way to leave more space for the rest of the band, so it also works well if you play with a piano player.

In this video, I am going to go over some of the ways you can work with intervals and demonstrate how this works on the Jazz Standard All The Things You Are.

Finding intervals for Jazz Comping

If we first take a look at the first chord of All The Things: Fm7.

The note that we want to have in there is the 3rd and then add another note and check out the intervals we get, as shown here below:

Notice that I am not trying to find all options, just exploring and experimenting with what I think might work.

Voice-leading intervals

As an example, we can now look at how to voice-lead the different intervals on Fm7 to the next chord Bbm7. This could be done as shown in example 2.

In some of the examples I am adding extra movement between the two intervals. This is not too difficult when working with intervals so it is a good idea to already experiment with that option.

Counter melodies and polyphony

The final bars contain a few examples of several voices moving. In the last bar the voices are also moving in the opposite direction.

Playing the song with the intervals

When I comp like this I am not always staying completely clear with all chords, but I am trying to get an over all flow that makes sense on the song.

In this example I am keeping it simple by not having to many moving melodies and playing one or two intervals per chord.

Making an improvised Counterpoint as an exercise

You can turn the voice-leading part of this into a small counterpoint exercise that sounds like the one in the example below.

You can hear in the video how this example has a lot of moving voices, keeping one voice static while the other is moving around more.

Adding some rhythm and a little more Jazz Feel

Besides working on this with playing long notes and sustained sounds, you also need to work on using the intervals while adding some jazz rhythms.

An example of this is shown here below where there is also a focus on rhythm, not only moving voices, notes and extensions.

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Jimmy Raney – This Is A Great Way To Make Beautiful Lines

Jimmy Raney is one of those guitarists who can start something as a blues lick and then turn it into a II V I line in another key while playing a 3/4 pattern over a 4/4 meter.

It is always a good idea to have strong concepts to work with when you are soloing and in this video, I am going to look at one aspect of how Jimmy Raney improvises.

This may seem like an idea that is almost random, but the way he repeats phrases and melodies, sometimes within one line really makes his lines solos sound great, and analyzing
this and working on doing this in your own playing is not a waste of time.

Content

0:00 Intro

0:50 Lick #1 – Making Lines with Repetition and Odd-Note Grouping

0:57 Analysis

1:15 What I love about the later Jimmy Raney Albums

2:46 Lick #1 – Slow

2:53  Lick #2 – Stay Off The Beat on a Blues

3:02 Analysis – Shifting Motifs in a line

5:35  Lick #2 – Slow

5:46  Lick #3 – Chromatic Enclosures as a motif

5:54 Analysis

7:15 Across the Barline – delaying resolution

7:46  Lick #3 – Slow

8:25 Lick #4 – Sliding into the Blues (with Polyrhythms)

8:29 Analysis

9:56  Lick #4 – Slow

10:02 Lick #5 – from Blues to Altered Dominants

10:08 Analysis – Decoding a brilliant shifting idea

11:22  Lick #5 – Slow

11:32 Like the video? Check Out My Patreon Page!

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Jazz Licks on a Maj7 chord – How To Sound Like Bebop

Learning the rules of a jazz language like Bebop can be a really useful way to study and internalize that sound. In this video, I am going to use some Jazz Licks to cover some of the techniques and how you use them on a Maj7 chord. The 5 examples will show you how you can use Chromaticism, Arpeggios, trills and octave displacement on a maj7th chord.

Jazz Lick #1 – Cowboy Bebop?

When playing bebop we often think about long rows of 8th notes. But it is important to break up that flow to keep it interesting. This example starts with an 8th note triplet which is a chromatic run. This is already adding a different feel fromt the beginning.

From there it continues with a C major triad. The Triad is a great arpeggio to use on a Cmaj7 chord. Charlie Parker plays major triads all the time. From the triad the melody skips up to the 6th(A) and via a chromatic passing note ends on the 3rd(E). Notice how the line is ending on the 2&. This keeps the energy higher than ending on a beat or even a strong beat.

Jazz Lick #2 – Bensons favorite Maj7 lick

This example is build around another 8th note triplet idea. This 8th note triplet is using a Cmaj7 arpeggio. Playing arpeggios as triplets is a very common device in bebop, it really helps target and emphasize the 7th of the arpeggio which is also the top-note. From the target note the line descends in half steps down to the 5th(G)

This example is a favourite of both George Benson and Charlie Parker.

From the G the line concludes with an approach to the 3rd and skipping up to the 6th.

Jazz Lick #3 – Barry’s Recipe

A very useful way to both construct your own lines and understand lines that you have transcribed is to see them as scale melodies with added detours. Barry Harris often constructs lines in his workshops in this way.

This line is essentially a scale melody in bar 1, but with an added chromatic approach between the C and the B.

The 2nd bar is using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, Em7, and adds an exciting skip from C to G, ending on 4&.

Jazz Lick #4 – Octave Displacement on a Maj7

Octave displacement is another way to break up the direction of a melody. The idea is to have a melody is moving in one direction and then move a part of the melody an octave up or down.

In this example I am using Octave Displacement to change a Cmaj7 arpeggio and in doing so create a more surprising melody in the first half of bar 1. This is also know as the Honeysuckle Rose lick, since it is in that melody.

The line continues with a descending 1st inversion Am7 arpeggio followed by a trill. Trills are another way to add embellishments to a line that breaks up the flow of 8th notes in a nice way.

In this case the trill is a part of a skip down to the lower G and from here the line concludes with an Em pentatonic melody.

Jazz Lick #5 – Putting it all together!

The final lick is making use of most of the devices discussed in the first 4 examples! Try to have a look and see if you can spot what is used where.

More Bebop lines and Bebop Embellishments?

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Jim Hall – Ingredients Of The Best Solos

Jim Hall is famous for his very melodic and musical solos. In this video I am going over some examples from his solo on Poor Butterfly and talk about how in many ways I think this is the perfect medium swing solo. These examples show you how he keeps changing his lines with ideas involving rhythm, harmony and note choice. I especially like how he re-interprets some cliché lines and makes them much more interesting and surprising.

Content:
0:00 Intro
0:49 Example  1 – In The Groove, In The Harmony
0:58 Analysis
2:32 Example  1 Slow
2:45 What to learn from these examples?
3:19 Example 2 – Double-time lines with Interesting Rhythms
3:26 Analysis
5:32 Example  2 Slow
5:41 Analysis
5:46 Example 3 – Re-inventing a Cliché
7:28 Analysis
7:35 Example  3 Slow
7:55 Example 4 – Using The Blues (Like You Should)
8:02 Analysis
9:56 Example 4 Slow
10:06 Paul Desmond and Jim Hall – Great Collaboration
10:29 Example 5 – Triplets and Adding Chords to the Lines
10:34 Analysis
11:39 Example 5 Slow
11:45 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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2 5 1 – How To Solo with Diatonic Arpeggios (the most important approach)

You Need to be able to improvise over a II V I or 2 5 1 in Jazz. In this video, I am going to show you how you can get started improvising over this progression using the scale and the diatonic arpeggios in that scale.

The examples are a 2 5 1 in C major, a scale position and the diatonic arpeggios in that position. Then I am going to give you some examples of lines using the basic arpeggios of the chords but also a few other very useful suggestions. Then I am going to add the triads in there, and in the end, you have a lot of material to work with from this very basic approach.

This is the most important part of how I improvise. Having a set of arpeggios that work for a chord in a progression is a great way to have lots of options when you improvise. So you learn to think the chord but you have 8 or 9 different arpeggios that you can use when you are improvising.

The 2 5 1 chords and scale

One of the most important and common chord progressions is the 2 5 1, sometimes written with Roman numerals as II V I.

In this lesson I am going to focus on how to improvise over this progression in the key of C major.

First let us look at how t play the C major scale and then the chords contained in there.

Building Diatonic Chords in C major

If you build diatonic chords in a scale then you stack thirds in the scale. In C major that would be:

C major : C D E F G A B C

Stacking 3rds:

1 C E G B = Cmaj7

2 D F A C = Dm7

3 E G B D = Em7

4 F A C E = Fmaj7

5 G B D F = G7

6 A C E G = Am7

7 B D F A = Bø

How to play these chords is shown here below

As you can see I have added numbers to each of the chord signifying the degree in the scale.

This is how to understand the 2 5 1 progression. A 2 51 in C major is shown below:

Practicing and Playing Diatonic Arpeggios

The next thing to check out how to play the arpeggios of all the chords in the scale. Playing each of the chords within the scale is shown here below.

Of course there are now more chords and arpeggios than we need, but that will become very useful later.

Putting the arpeggios in the Progression

The first logical thing to practice now is to take the arpeggios throught the progression. That is what is shown here below:

Making Great Licks with Basic Arpeggios

Already just using the arpeggios, so the basic chord tones of each chord. You can make some great licks:

Really using Arpeggios (so not just playing the arpeggios..)

When you check out solos from famous Jazz Artists you will notice that their lines are not only consisting of the arpeggios. The melodies are a mic of scale notes and arpeggios, but the arpeggios are on the heavy beats and work as a frame to hold the melody together.

An example of this is shown here below:

The most important Other arpeggio

Now that you know the arpeggio for each chord and can work on incorporation it in lines that also mix it with the scale. We can haveea look at the next arpeggio to check out which wil almost always work in a line: The arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord

For the progression we have these arpeggios:

Dm7: Arpeggio Fmaj7

G7: Arpeggio – Bø

Cmaj7: Arpeggio Em7

Practicing this on the progression becomes this exercise:

Making lines with the Arpeggios from the 3rd.

Now with two arpeggios for each chord you can make a lick like this:

And mixing it with the scale then something like this is possible

Adding the mighty Triad!

One of the strongest melodies we have is triads. The diatonic triads as arpeggios in the scale is shown here below.

Finding triads for the chords

There are several triads that fit with each chord.

For a Dm7 you can use the three below.

Notice that if you have a Dm7(9) arpeggio: D F A C E then you have all 5 notes that make up the 3 triads.

The same approach applied to G7 is yielding these 3 triads. So a triad from the root, 3rd and 5th.

And finally we have the C, Em and G for Cmaj7:

Using Triads in a 2 5 1 Lick

Putting some of the triads to use in a lick could give us something like this:

If you want to explore more ideas with Arpeggios and scales in the key of C major then check out this lesson based on a solo on the Strayhorn tune Take The A-train:

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Pat Martino – How to Play Powerful Bop Lines

Pat Martino is famous for weaving long beautiful bop lines through chord changes with surprising twists and turns.

In this Pat Martino Lesson, I am going to analyze a few examples from his solo on the Benny Golson tune Along Came Betty and show you some of the building blocks he uses and how he is a master of using those building blocks in a musical way in his solos.

The fast lines and fantastic flow through the chord changes are really what Pat Martino is known for and this double-time samba version of Along Came Betty is no exception. In the lesson, I analyze some of his phrases or licks and talk about how they are constructed and what we can learn from them.

Content:

0:00 Intro
0:24 Building Blocks for lines
0:43 Example #1 – Amazing Pickups
0:54 The Form and the double-time feel
1:40 Analysis of Example #1
2:16 Arpeggio Motifs and Build Up
4:00 Example #1 – Slow
4:23 Example #2 –
4:28 Analysis – Using Motifs to play changes
6:45 Example #2 Slow
6:55 Example #3 – Continuous 8th note melodies
7:04 Mixing Melodic minor and Dorian
8:58 A quote from Parker (or George Benson)
9:49 Re-using the same line?
10:17 Example #3 Slow
10:36 Example #4 – Cross Rhythms
10:43 Cross-rhythms and PPolyrhythmswith 8th notes
11:02 The Martino Honeysuckle Rose Variation
11:42 The Polyrhythms
12:47 Example #4 SLow
13:02 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

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5 Charlie Parker Licks – This is How To Play Bebop Blues

If you want to study Jazz Blues and learn how to play solos that really mix Bebop lines and Blues licks then one of the best sources has to be Charlie Parker!
In this video I am going to go over 5 Charlie Parker licks from him and this is fantastic material for playing changes and getting that mix of bebop lines with blues phrasing.

The Licks are also great examples of how to create melodic ideas that last several bars and connect several phrases which are also why Parker clearly was a genius innovator in Jazz.

The Most Famous Charlie Parker Lick – Opening of the Solo

This first example is an opening phrase that Parker uses in both Now’s The Time and Billie’s Bounce. The first part is really just an F major 2nd inversion triad with some chromatic approach. This is followed with a more bebop encircling and trill. From here he runs down an F major pentatonic scale and repeats the root in a dotted quarter note rhythm.

The lick really starts with a blues phrase and then morphs into a bebop line to go back to a repeated simple rhythm.

Parker really bringing the Blues

Where the first example is somewhere in between the blues and bebop, this is more directly Blues phrasing and melody.

The core idea is a motif that is repeated and developed through the first 4 bars. The basic motif is a major pentatonic line.

The first repetition is changing the A to an Ab. This way of marking the transition from F7 to Bb7 is quite common for Parker. The idea is to play an F major phrase on F7 and then repeat or develop that phrase but play it in F minor on the Bb7.

Keeping the b7 untill we need to move on

Another typical Parker choice is to delay the b7, the Eb over F7 in this case, until the song is moving to Bb7. This is clear here where the Eb does not appear until bar 4.

Charlie Parker’s Riffs

Bebop is as a style famous for long lines and surprising twists and turns. But Parker certainly developed from the swing era checking out people like Lester Young and Coleman Hawkings. And Charlie Parker does play riffs as well as bebop lines.

This example is a clear example of a riff. A simple motif that is repeated and developed in a basic way through the changes.

The main motif is a basic F major melody build around an F major triad. The development is also following the F major -> F minor that I alread mentioned, and the riff stays pretty in tact and true to the original phrase.

Start in Blues and end in Bebop

This shorter example demonstrates how Parker starts with a basic Blues leading note lick and connects this to a Bebop trill and F7 arpeggio to get the best of both worlds.

Blues Phrasing and Bebop Phrasing

One of the traits of Blues phrasing is sliding or bending to notes. In Jazz, we mostly do this with sliding. In this example, you see a beginning which is starting with sliding to the 5th. The first part of the phrase is more blues based. Using basic chord tones from the triad, being rhythmically free. The part of the phrase on the F7 is using a trill followed by a scale run that is a very typical Bebop phrase.

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John McLaughlin – How To use Atonal Ideas on the Blues

John McLaughlin has a very unique approach to soloing. In this John Mclaughlin Lesson, I discuss his approach to soloing using a mix of Blues, Jazz, and atonal shifting melodies. This lesson is on McLaughlin’s solo on the Jazz Blues “No Blues”, a 12 bar blues by Miles Davis.

This solo clearly demonstrates some strong melodic ideas that are used in creative ways and also some really interesting 8th note lines. Often when John Mclaughlin improvises he uses 8th note lines that shift out of the tonality and are more chromatic than chord related.

The recording is from a concert with Joey DeFrancesco on Organ and Dennis Chambers on Drums.

Content:

0:00 Intro – John McLaughlin on No Blues
0:23 How He uses Pentatonics, Atonal melodies and Blues
1:00 Example #1 – Avoid the 1 – m6 Pentatonic
1:06 Analysis of Example 1
2:14 Example #1 – Slow
2:20 Example #2 – Pentatonic but not blues – Surprising Note Choice
2:25 Analysis of Example 2
3:56 Example #2 Slow
4:04 Example #3 – From Blues to Atonal Melodies
4:17 Analysis of Example 3
6:54 Example #3 Slow
7:35 Example #4 – Motivic Development
7:43 Analysis Example #4
8:45 Example #4 Slow
8:59 Example #5 – From Bop into Chromatic Atonal melodies
9:05 Analysis Example #5
10:38 Example #5 Slow
10:48 What is unique about McLaughlin
11:31 Like the Video? Check out my Patreon Page

More John Mclaughlin Lessons

If you want to check out one of my other John McLaughlin lessons then have take a look at this lesson analyzing phrases from his solo on Take The Coltrane:

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Beautiful Jazz Chords That You Never Played

Learning Drop2 and Shell-voicings is a great way to learn some systems of jazz chords and a lot of inversions all at once. But if you only think in systems you forget to explore what chords you can come up with that are not in those systems. That’s what I explore in this Jazz Chords Lesson.

In this lesson, I am going to talk about some of the guitar jazz chords that I like to use and find really beautiful which I don’t really hear people use a lot, probably because they don’t fit in the systems. And they are not even that difficult to play, so there is no need to not check them out!

Looking outside the systems

It is important not to be locked down by systems, also when it comes to learning chords. The Chords that I am using in this lesson are more aimed to be beautiful rich sounding chords. I mostly use them as sustained chords that I can leave there as a rich harmonic background for a soloist. They are not really intended for more rhythmical comp. When I do that I go for other chords and focus not on a single chord but as much on the movement.

Adding extra notes to a Dominant

The voicing that I am first going to show you is a chord that is really associated with the melodic minor scale. The first way to use it is as an altered dominant. In this case a G7(#9):

The Dm7 is a straight Drop2 voicing for an Fmaj7, which in this context is a Dm7(9). The G7 voicing is a basic 3-note G7 with an added #9(Bb) on top. This resolves nicely to another surprising voicing which is the Cmaj7. Here I play this with a G triad and a lower C (you can’t really call it a bass note).

Turning it into a Lydian Dominant.

In some ways this voicing works even better when you use it as a Lydian dominant. That is shown here below where I use it as a backdoor dominant in C major.

When used like this it becomes a Dominant chord with a #11 and a 13.

The Cmaj7 voicing is another rich chord voicing which has a 9th and a 13th. It is an Asus4 upper-structure and a B.

New Altered Options

This chord is another way to play an altered voicing and also have the 7th in the melody. The voicing in this case is a G7(#9): B(9), G(1), Bb(#9), F(b7). In the example I am moving the F down to a b13(Eb) and resolves it to the 9th of Cmaj7.

The Dm7 voicing is derived from a Drop 2 where the 5th has been replaced with the 11th and the root with the 9th.

The same voicing is also great for a Lydian dominant. Here it becomes a dom7th(13#11).

In the example below I am using it as a Bb7 in a backdoor dominant chord progression.

Bb7: Ab(b7),E(#11), G(13), D(3).

I am using the same voicing for the Cmaj7 as in the very first example.

Sus4 triads can be upper-structures too

This example is using three chords all based on upper-structures.

The Dm7 voicing is a Dm7(11) using a C major triad.

G7 uses an E major triad to create a G7(13b9)

C6/9 is made using a Dsus4 triad.

Why don’t you ever play a b5,b13 chord?

This last “bonus” example is a little different because it is a chord that you probably already know, but don’t use like this.

The Dm7 and Cmaj7 voicings are both drop2 chords.

The G7 voicing is a chord you probably know as a Db7(9) chord. Since Db is the tritone substitute of G7 we can also use this voicing as a G7.

That would give us this G7: B(3) Eb(b13) F(b7) Db(b5) – G7(b5,b13)

Explore more voicings

A great place to start exploring new sounds and voicings is to work with 3-note jazz chords. These are very flexible and great to use both as they are and as a starting point for adding more voicings.

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