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.


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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