Tag Archives: bebop jazz

How to Study The Bebop Language – 4 Great Approaches

In this video, I am going to talk about the Bebop Language, what that means, how to study Bebop Language. So I will go over some of the different ways you can practice and study to get this language into your ears and your playing.

Learning to play Jazz usually starts with being curious about how to get a certain sound that you have heard on a recording. And once you start exploring jazz you probably become aware that it is, in fact, a complete musical language that you need to understand and internalize. In the same way, you have internalized other languages like for example rock or blues.

This video is not a lesson going over what bebop is, it is an overview of the different ways you can study bebop and learn that language.

Content

0:00 Intro

0:29 Jazz or Bebop As A Language

0:55 “What Is Bebop Language”

2:11 Should You Learn Bebop? (And Why?)

3:09 Studying Bebop

4:28 Listen To The Music You Want To Learn

5:13 Analyzing Transcriptions

6:37 Transcribing Solo – The Most Efficient Way?

7:29 Composing – The Underrated Tool

7:38 Composition is a part of the Bebop Tradition

8:36 Like The Video? Check Out My Patreon Page! dd Bebop Embellishments to your playing!

Here’s a new lesson on how to work with bebop embellishments and other ways of adding variations to bebop or jazz lines.

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This Is Not Bebop, But It Is A Great Coltrane Solo

It is not surprising that a Coltrane solo isn’t bebop, but it is interesting to figure out why that is the case. Understanding what types of licks or melodies are typical for a style of music is a really good description of what is going on.

The solo that I am talking about in this video is John Coltrane’s solo on the F blues – Take the Coltrane off the Coltrane/Ellington album from 1963.

In the video I am presenting an analysis of the solo with a focus on the melodies, there placement and function in the form and not only the notes that are being used. I find that it takes a more detailed view to understand a solo than just what scales are being used.

Let me know what you think?

A few thoughts on this Coltrane solo Analysis

As always music is not an exact science so this solo has a lot of traits that are really not bebop sounding but it still contains examples of normal bop lines and chromatic passing notes etc. So clearly Coltrane is rooted in that tradition even if he is moving away from it.

I am going to talk about this using three examples from the solo but it can be a good idea to check out the whole solo. There are a lot of transcriptions online so you can easily find that and listen to the solo.

Some of the things that are different are about the choice of sounds, but in my opinion it is more about how the sounds are used and the melodies than what scale. I am curious what you think?

Melodies without direction and not playing blues

What is interesting about this first part of the solo: He doesn’t play the 3rd of the chord at all for the first 8 bars, that is very different from bebop where everything is tied much more closely to the chord. Here the melodic statement is very strong and fairly long but it is intentionally vague. If you play the melody it could fit on a Cm blues just as easily as a F blues which is not really going to be the case for a Parker or Stitt solo. There is a Wes solo that does this as well and Wes would often sit heavily on the “II” sound on a V chord.

The 2nd 4 bars is a development of the first 4 but then moving with the chords, still not playing the 3rd of the chords.

So this is really about what note he isn’t playing and it becomes even more clear when we don’t have the piano comping.

Unresolving Tensions and Angular melodies

This example illustrates how the approach is much more modal. Coltrane is very often playing melodies that fit the chord but are not really functional and moving forward towards the next chord.

This is clear in the first bars where there is first an angular statement just using an F7 arpeggio. In fact using the 2nd inversion F major triad which Coltrane seems obsessed with in this solo.

A great example of how the emphasis is on sound rather than function is the Altered dominant in bars 3 and 4 of this example. Here there is a clear altered or tritone sound and the b5 is really at the center of the line, but the line is not resolved. It stops before changing and the statement on the Bb7 is unrelated to the altered line.

The last part of this example is demonstrating how the chords are interpreted. The statement on the Bb7 is turned into a motief that is moved down in half steps to give us an Am7 Abm7 Gm7 progression.

Another thing that shows how this is less functional is that the final II V is replaced with C7 Bb7 in the song taking away the main cadence of the Jazz Blues.

Super-imposed Pentatonic Scales

Coltrane doesn’t really use normal blues phrasing a lot in this solo and here he does use Fm pentatonic in a way that is really typical for everybody who came after him. I think it is important to notice that using Fm pentatonic on a Blues in F is something that is quite rare with the bop guys. Pentatonic scales are not really a part of bebop in the way they are used as a sound here.
The blues phrases of Joe Pass and Charlie Parker are quite different and much more a mix of major and minor.

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Why Coltrane is not bebop

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5 Easy Ways To Sound Like Bebop on a C7

The most important part of sounding like jazz, whether you play in that genre or in another, is probably to have some Bebop as a part of your playing.

This video is going to demonstrate 5 easy bebop licks on a C7 chord in a very position and quickly connect it to a scale and an arpeggio. I will go over how you can add some bebop flavour and chromatic phrases to your playing in this position.

Learning and adding to your vocabulary

Finding practical and playable solutions is essential if you want to learn something like the jazz language and this video should give you some easy to apply examples and ideas. This is also how I work and have worked with learning new material.

Keeping Bebop simple: Chord, Position, Licks

The examples I am going to cover are all found around this chord, which is C7 in the 8th fret:

which is closely related to this arpeggio.

And in that position you could think of this C7 or F major scale: 

I find that this is an area of the neck that is a good starting point if you want to add something new to your C7 vocabulary because it is very close to the chord and the Cm pentatonic scale so we have an overview already.

Chromatic Passing note idea 1

This first example is adding a chromatic note on the top E string. The melody is adding a note between the 9th and the root. From there it is a descending scale run ending with a C major triad.
Notice how the end of the phrase is no on the beat which is also typical for bop lines.

More Chromaticism and a bit of Blues

In this example I am using a longer chromatic run on the B string. On this string we already have 3 strong C7 notes: 5,13 and b7.After a short bluesy phrase with those the lick is descending from b7 to 5 in halfsteps again reconnecting with the chord by playing a descending C major triad at the end.

Pivot arpeggios and arpeggios from the 3rd

This example uses two really strong bebop concepts. First this way of using an arpeggio inversion where I am using Em7b5 in first inversion but starting with the high note and then skipping down. If you want to check out how George Benson uses this I have that in a video here.

The other example is adding a chromatic note between b7 and the root which is also extremely common.

Two note chromatic approach

Here the chromatic approach is two notes and inserted between F and E in the beginning of the lick. The rest of the line is using an Em7b5 arpeggio and ends on the root on the high e string. Again ending on the 1&

Encircling: Diatonic above, chromatic below

Encircling a chord tone with a chromatic note and a scale note is also a very common bebop melody. This example is first encircling the 5th(G) with A and F# before it continues with first the arpeggio from the 5th: Gm7 and then a C7 arpeggio.

A few closing Bebop remarks

Besides the devices I talked about in this video it is also important to remember that bebop lines are based on the chords your are playing over. This means that you want to use those chord tones as target notes and as start and ending points of your melodies when you are improvising.

If you want to explore more bebop and especially focus on the phrasing then I have this WebStore lesson with some exercises for that:

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5 easy ways to sound like bebop on a C7

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Amazing Bebop – How to play like Sonny Stitt

If you want to learn Bebop then there are few people better to check out than Sonny Stitt. In this video I transcribed and analyzed two bebop licks from his solo on Au Privave from the Stitt plays Bird. These great licks are fantastic examples to learn from and contain some solid ideas you can add to your vocabulary.

How to Learn Bebop 

Often when you work on learning bebop all your solos are just up and down scales and arpeggios. Stitt has some beautiful ways to add variation both melodic and rhythm that I will try to explain in this lesson.

On a side note it is also worthwhile checking out this album because Jim Hall is playing on it as well.

Sonny Stitt Bebop Lick #1

This first example is a clear example of how he isn’t only running up and down . The first bar is really a descending melody with D, Bb, A, G and F. But he breaks up that movement by adding a lower chord tone: D. This is similar to some of the ideas that George Benson used in the All The Things You Are line that I talked about in this video: Why George Benson lines are Amazing

On the C7 Sonny Stitt uses triplets as a variation for the 8th note lines. First a chromatic run from the 3rd(E) to the 5th(G) and then a descending C7 arpeggio.

The line ends with a short scale run from A to F.

Sonny Stitt Bebop Lick #2

The 2nd example uses a lot of similar ideas. On the Gm7 the low D is again used as a note to insert into the melody and break up the scale run. This happens twice and at the end of the Gm7 line he also adds a chromatic approach to the D.

The C7 line also makes use of the low D, but is for the rest using two arpeggios that work really well over a C7: Bbmaj7 and Eø. Both are played as ascending 8th note triplets.  I this case Stitt is suspending the resolution of the C7 and continue into the F bar with a chromatic encircling of the C, so the resolution isn’t until beat two of that bar.

The rest of the F7 line is a descending melody built around a Dm triad and flowing into another encircling of the Bb. From the Bb the line ends with an ascending Bbmaj7 arpeggio.

Applying this to your own playing

For now I will focus on adding the idea of adding notes to descending scale runs on the Gm7.

The first part of Example 3 here below is a Gm7 scale (or F major if you will) and in the 2nd half I have added lower chord tones to the descending scale run. In this example I find that it works better to use the Gm triad as lower notes, so that is what I have used. You can of course experiment and discover what you prefer. 

Example of using this concept in your own playing

The example here below is using the D pedal point idea on the Gm7. As you can see it can be placed differently in the bar without loosing its effect. I am using the low D twice on the Gm7.

The C7 line is first an ascending Eø arpeggio played as an 8th note triplet. From there it is a descending chromatic run ending up with an enclosure of the A on Fmaj7.

Adding the same idea to the dom7th chord

Adding the same type of idea to the V chord in the II V works as well. Here the Gm7 line is similar to the one above except the D,C,Bb is replaced with a chromatic passing note phrase: C B Bb. 

On the C7 the phrase starts with a descending scale rund and then adds the lower G between the D and the C. From the C I use the passing note again and then skip down to a G to approach and resolve to the 3rd(A) of F. 

Bebop lines and their construction

If you have followed any of the classes of Barry Harris then you are probably familiar with the idea of writing lines like this where you have a scale run or an arpeggio and then you add embellishments to it in the form of extra notes, chromaticism etc. This way of thinking is a great way to describe the language which is why I use it here as well.

If you want to play lines like this then it is very useful to work on construction them in this way and get the ideas into your ears in that way.

From Bop to Bach: Forward motion and Target Notes

If you want to take a closer look at one of my solos with my analysis you can check out this lesson which also includes some thoughts on how to construct solo lines, but then using forward motion and target notes:

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Amazing Bebop – How to play like Sonny Stitt

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Bird Blues – How to play and Understand the Chords

Bird Blues or Parker Blues is one of the most important Chord Progressions if you want to understand bebop. Charlie Parkers reharmonization of the 12 bar form is both an insight in how Bebop players love playing moving chords and also an insight on how reharmonization and chord progressions were going to change after bebop.

In this lesson am going to go over two sets of voicings to play the Parker Blues and also discuss how the progression works compared to a normal 12 bar jazz blues.

Getting to know Bird Blues chords and how they sound

A good place to start if you want to understand a chord progression is to play it. Having heard them and being able to play through the harmony in time makes it a lot easier to have an idea about what is going on.

In the example below I have written out the chords using the method and exercises that I cover in my lesson How to Play Jazz Chords

As an aid in playing the chords I have also included these diagrams:

Analyzing the progression

The Bird Blues or the Parker Blues progression is best understood against the 12 bar blues. This is not strange since it is a reharmonization of that, very well known progression.

The Maj7 chord

The first thing that stands out is that the first chord is a Maj7 chord and not a dom7th.  Whenever you play a blues all the main chords in there are dom7th chords, so you would expect an F7.

In fact there are more explanations for this. In earlier jazz than bebop the Blues was played with triads or 6th chords so they were not yet dominant chords. Parker actually will sometimes play the major scale of the tonic on a blues. An example is Cool blues which also does not have a IV in bar 2.

Another plausible explanation was that in bebop it was common to disguise the original progression by changing the chords slightly. Ornithology is an example of this where an Ebmaj7 is turned into an Eb7.

Bebop Back cycling

A defining charateristic of bebop is that the focus is to play the movement of the chords. Bebop is full of chains of chords that don’t stand still and continue to move. The progression in bars 2-4 is an example of this. The original blues progression might have a Cm7 F7 in bar 4. The Dm7 G7 and Eø A7 are just adding a movement to point towards those chords and therefore also point to Bb7.

Chromatic II V Cadences

On the IV chord I have written  two chords:  Bb7 and Bbmaj7 this is because Blues for Alice, the blue print for this type of progression has a Dom7th there, but two other famous variations: Freight Trane and Bluesette both use maj7 chords on the IV.

The progression from IV to the II in bar 9 is a long row of II V chords descending chromatically.

Moving from IV the song goes to IVm which is a very common tonal progression. In true bebop fashion it here appears as a II V or IVm7 bVII7. And where you would expect a tonic chord you get the II V a half step below: Am7 D7 which is then followed by a II V in Gb: Abm7 Db7.

When playing this it is about descending II V’s and it is more parallel harmony than anything else, how ever you could also interpret it as a reharmonization of IV IVm I bIIIdim:

Bb Bbm F/A Abdim that is reharmonized as Bb Bbm7 Eb7 Am7 D7 Abm7 Db7.

This way of reharmonizing a dim chord to a II V is also what happens in Just Friends.

The final cadence and turnaround

As you can see the final cadence and turnaround does not differ much from a standard blues. On ooccasion the V chord will be replaced with the tritone II V so Dbm7 Gb7 instead of C7. For the rest there is not really anything to talk about.

Bebop Comping: Drop2 voicings

One of the most important voicing types when it comes to bebop is Drop2 voicings. This is true both for piano and guitar. Here under I have written out a basic chorus of drop2 voicings on the Parker Blues that you can work through when comping on this form.

You can of course also check out more on drop2 voicings in my study guide:  How to Learn to Play Jazz Chords – Study Guide

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Bird Blues – How to play and Understand the Chords + Diagrams

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Bebop Guitar Licks With Powerful Arpeggio Hack

One thing that is very typical for Bebop Guitar licks is how they use pivot techniques on arpeggios to get some beautiful melodic large intervals into the line. In this video I will show 4 examples on using pivot technique in jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour and give you a way to use this in your own solos.

The II V I Progression

The examples in this progression are on a II V I in D major, so that’s Em7, A7 and Dmaj7. In the licks I am using an A7alt, mostly to have some variation in the sound going through the lick.

Bebop Guitar
II V I cadence

The Gmaj7 arpeggio and the inversions

The examples in this lesson are all using a Gmaj7 arpeggio and it’s inversions on the Em7 chord in the cadence. I will use the Gmaj to demonstrate how to use the different inversions with the pivot technique to create some solid jazz licks with a strong bebop flavour.

1st inversion and 1st example.

This 1st example is starting with the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 1st inversion has G as the first note which makes it nice and clear on the Em7.

The idea behind the pivot technique is that the highest note of the arpeggio is played first, then the melody skips down to the lowest note to ascend back up. This is a very common melodic device in bebop guitar.

The A7alt part of the line makes use of the same technique but here it is with a 1st inversion BbmMaj7 arpeggio in the first half of the bar.

Bebop Jazz Lick
Guitar II V I jazz lick

Repeat the success from the 5th

The 2nd example uses the 3rd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The arpeggio is again placed in the beginning of the line and is now chained together with a quartal arpeggio. On the A7 the first part of the line is a descending pattern played through a Gm7b5 arpeggio. The line then resolves to the 3rd(F#) of Dmaj7. 

Mixing scales and arpeggios

The 3rd example starts with a scale run from the root. The 2nd inversion of the Gmaj7 arpeggio. The 6th interval is found between the B and the D. The A7 line is chaining an A augmented and Eb major triad.

Even from the root

The root position arpeggio is different from the rest since using the pivot here does not yield a 6th interval, but instead it is a 7th. In this example the Gmaj7 continues into a quartal arpeggio from E. The A7alt line is two inversions of a Bbsus4 arpeggio, a line that I actually transcribed from Michael Brecker.

Pivoting yourself! True Bebop Guitar

The four examples in this lesson should give you some ideas on how to start using arpeggio inversions in this way when making your own lines. It probably will still take a bit of work to get it to really sit in your playing but as you can probably tell that is probably worth the time!

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Arpeggio Inversions

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