Tag Archives: blues jazz

This Jazz Blues Solo is Perfect And Nobody Is Talking About It

Like me, you probably transitioned from playing some sort of Blues or Rock into playing Jazz, and often one of the first things that you “get” when listening to Jazz and that makes you explore the genre more is Jazz Blues. For getting that sort of crossover sound then I think this solo is the best there is, the perfect storm, and I never hear people talk about it which I find super weird.  It is the perfect mix of Bebop lines and Blues Licks and it is much more dynamic than most Jazz, but I’ll explain that along the way.

I was talking about this with one of the students in the Roadmap course the other day, and that made me think of this solo which really nails what Jazz Blues as a sound is and it is an Amazing solo! Certainly one of my favorite Jazz guitar solos of all time, and probably my favorite Joe Pass solo. It is a great song to demonstrate what is Blues and What is Jazz because it has clear elements from both and Joe Pass mixes that up and uses it in an amazing and creative way while also demonstrating just how incredible his range is with the music both in tempo, technique, sound, and harmony. Some of it is about the notes, but there is a LOT more going on.

There is a lot of real blues in this, with minor pentatonic stuff already from the rubato intro:

This is really all Blues scale stuff and using that sound. But he goes into some bop lines quite fast afterwards. Side note: I think the first part he is playing with his fingers and not with a pick, it is a little bit like you can hear the finger mute the string before it sounds which is different from playing with a pick, with a pick it is faster, almost instant.

Joe’s Blues & The Album

The song is off the “Intercontinental” album from 1970 which has Joe playing in a trio with drummer Kenny Clare and bass player Eberhard Weber.

Weber, is for me, much more associated with modern ECM stuff, so to hear him in this setting playing on an album of mostly standards is a bit funny, but he plays great on it! I have talked about how this is one of my favorite Joe Pass albums, if not just my favorite album. As far as I can tell, they didn’t rehearse anything and just spend a day in the studio with Joe calling tunes, which makes this album even more mind-blowing.

B-roll: Viking guitar teacher – “Learn Joe Pass” “go practice” + tape with Joe’s Blues

I was introduced to this song as homework, which was sort of scary. My teacher copied a tape of it and told me to go learn it. At the time I hadn’t really been listening to Joe Pass that much, I had been checking out Wes, Ulf Wakenius, Scofield, and Pat Martino,  not so much a choice on my part, it was just what people told me to listen to, since this was before the internet, so I couldn’t google it

This solo was really different from the other Jazz Blues things I had heard.

Most of the time when I had heard Jazz Blues then it was a LOT faster and a lot denser, more 8th note based, like Parker playing Au Privave.

And at those tempos then the solos are much more bebop lines and most of the time the emphasis is really on the Jazz side of things with phrases weaving through the changes.

That is not how Joe’s blues works though, there’s a lot more space in there.

The Sound – Archtop and Polytone?

But first, let’s talk a little bit about the sound, I think Joe’s sound on this album is a great traditional Jazz guitar sound. I always imagined that he used his ES175 into a polytone on this album, but I don’t know if it was that guitar and what amp was there, though it does have a polytone vibe to me, it could just as easily be fender tube amp or a music man. I am not even sure if Polytone amps existed in 1970?

There is also quite a bit of reverb on the guitar, and, to me, that sounds like a plate reverb, not an amp spring reverb, which you may already know that I don’t really like. As far as I know, most Polytones don’t have a reverb, so it is likely that it was a plate reverb given that it was recorded in 1970 before digital reverbs.

I am curious what you think he used, and you can hear it all quite clearly in the intro before the rhythm section comes in. Let me know if you have a suggestion, or maybe you know what he used.

Leave a comment to let me know!

Jazz Guitar Has NO Dynamics

Jazz guitar as an instrument actually suffers a bit from not having a very wide dynamic range, compared to drums or a trumpet. In this song, then the rhythm section is really playing as if they are in your living room, so the bass is really loud in the mix, and the drums playing only brushes is really just supplying a clear groove for Joe Pass to lock in with and float over, and because the drums are very soft then Joe Pass has an easier time using the dynamics of the guitar to the full extent.

I don’t know if you have thought about that, but traditionally,  Jazz guitar trios were often softer than bands with horns, and you can tell that they often are still a bit more in the chamber ensemble corner when they play. Like if you listen to Julian Lage trio, or Gilad Hekselman

Both, modern guitarists, who really embrace this and are very good at using dynamics and colors in their playing, while also being really different.

If you listen to Julian Lage on Nocturne then you can probably hear that if the band was louder then his soft call-response would just disappear, or have to be so loud that it wouldn’t come across as comping the melody.

And that is also how the rhythm section works behind Joe Pass giving him room to really get the contrast out between loud and soft and using chords and single-note lines. Let’s look at some of those types of phrases he is using, and how that is as much about rhythm.

Mixing Up Blues and Bebop

Most Jazz solos will stick to the subdivision of the groove, which is usually 8th notes, but for a slow blues like this that really is more like a ballad then you can do a LOT more and Joe Pass almost uses all the options!

He has phrases that are using 8th notes as this part from the beginning:

But since Blues is more fluid on top of the groove he also uses that in some of the phrases mixing 16th notes and triplets into it, more open but also sort of going for the Blues feel.

And then a few beats later he plays double time phrases:

And we didn’t even get to the IV chord in bar 5 yet!

Another really nice harmonic trick that he uses a few times is to turn the Am7 in bar 9 into an A7, and then us notes from the G blues scale to make it sort of an altered sound and then stick to the blues sound on the D7 that follows.

That is really giving you an A7 with a b9 and a #9 when he uses C and Bb over the A7 it is like a phrase you can hear in two ways at the same time.

Another nice variation with the rhythm is where he uses straight 8th notes on top of the swing groove

Harmonizing Blues Licks

Of course, there are also some really great phrases, harmonizing melodies, and mixing chords with single-note lines.

A great example is this really simple 3-note Blues phrase that is harmonized on a G7:

and then repeated on a C7

First using G7 and Ab7 chords and then the same notes but now using C7 and Db7 chords and he is using some of the same chords and a G pedal note for this simple but very effective part of the solo


Wes Montgomery!

Another guitarist with incredibly strong melodic ideas who is a a master of using chords in his solos is Wes Montgomery. If you want to know more about his playing, then check out this video that talks about both his singl note lines and his chord solos.

3 Reasons Wes Montgomery Is Amazing And Worth Checking Out




Get the PDF and GuitarPro on Patreon:

You can get the PDF and GuitarPro files on Patreon here:    

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

Sign up for my newsletter – Get the II V I Ebook


Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

Join 12000+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

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.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Twitter Google+, or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts, and releases.


5 Jazz Blues Licks in F

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.


Bluesey triplets

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.


Double stops

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.

Get a free E-book

If you want to download a Free E-book of 15 II Valt I licks then subscribe to my newsletter:

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.

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

You can also check out the other blues lessons: https://jenslarsen.nl/prodcut-category/blues/

Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better 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.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Instagram,Twitter Google+ or Facebook to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.

WebStore Lessons

Or check out all the products: WebStore