Tag Archives: Blues

Blues With Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert

This is a duo with Bruno Pelletier-Bacquaert a French/American Jazz guitarist living in San Francisco.

I came across one of his videos and we decided to make thsi small collaboration.

I hope you like it! Check out:

Hope you like it!

Don’t sound the same all the time – Minor chords

It’s important to not get stuck in one sound on a chord. If you can play something with a different sound each time that chord comes along. You keep surprising the listener. In this video I am going to go over three different sounds on a minor chord, so scales and sounds. This works really well on a tonic minor chord as in a minor blues, or summertime or invitation.

In the video I am going to go over 3 different approaches to a tonic minor chord. For each one I will demonstrate a comping and a soloing example for each sound. I will try to not talk about the different notes in the sound but also a bit about phrasing and devices that are commonly associated with this sound. This is often just as or more important than the notes.

Melodic Minor

The Melodic minor sound is really the meat and potatoes sound of tonic minor since bebop. It is a very nice strong sounding scale that actually doesn’t really have any avoid notes.

The character notes of the scale is the major 6th and major 7th.

To get this sound across we can make good use of m6 and mMaj7 chords like this:

And the line that I wrote to illustrate this sound is this:

The melodic minor sound is such a huge part of the “modern jazz sound” that we can easily use some of the melodic devices associated with that. In the line above it is first a DmMaj9 arpeggio followed by a line constructed by individual upper structure triads: G, Faug and Em. The line ends on the 9th of the chord to keep a more open ended sound. Notice the use of larger intervals in the triads.

Dorian

Dorian is probably the most commonly used on a minor chord since Miles Davis Kind of Blue in the 50’s. It is since then also included in compositions like Joe Hendersons Recorda Me or Wes Montgomery’s Four on Six.

The Dorian scale is of course the 2nd mode of a major scale so D dorian is the same note material as a C major scale.

Since all of the examples are D minor they are pretty much the same except for the 6th and 7th of the scale. In Dorian we have the combination of a major 6th and a minor 7th. The comping example I am using the same trick that Wes uses in four on six. Playing a II V and use that as a tonic Dm sound:

In the line I am a very common device associated with more Coltrane/McCoy Tyner era modal jazz: Stacks of 4ths. Stacks of 4ths or Quartal harmony entered jazz with Kind Of Blue and became the foundation for a whole period of Coltranes music. 

The core of the Dorian sound in this case is the 6th(or13th) against the b7 on the minor chord. This note removes the line from being a II V to becoming a minor sound.

The line is constructed with first a stack of 4ths from the root D. Then it continues with a Dm triad inversion that then temporarily emphasizes the 13th(B). It then continues with a Dm7 arpeggio before it again rests on a B.

If you want to see more examples of m13 chords you can check out this lesson: The Minor Chord You Never Use

The Blues

A sound that we often use but never really think of as something separate is the Blues. The blues is of course mostly by defined by a way of phrasing and a feel defined. Which is therefore important to keep in there. For the rest we would characterise by this 6 note scale: 

Since blues is often more associated with dom7th chords in terms of harmony it is difficult to really get it across in chords if the song isn’t in a blues feel. In the comping example I chose to borrow some dorian sounds and try to phrase it in a bluesy way.

The line is in terms of notes really a simple Dm7 line with an occasional Ab as a leading note. In the blues it is clear that it is much more about phrasing and melody. The typical blues phrases emphasizes the beat and has the chord tones on the beat. The phrasing uses dynamics and is using a lot of slides or legato techniques.

Get your sounds together

I hope you can use these examples to get started using different sounds over minor chords. If you check out one of Wes’ solos on four on six you will find examples of all of the sounds. This is in fact the case for a lot of solos on minor chords.

Check out how I use it

If you want to see some examples of how I use these different sounds you can check out this lesson:

Summertime – Tonic minor options – Solo Lesson

If you want to download the examples I went over here you can find the PDF here:

Don’t sound the same all the time! – Tonic minor scales

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.

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings

Playing chords on a jazz progression can be quite complicated, and the voice leading, the extensions and alterations makes us forget about making music. Using triads for chords is a very practical and easy way to play full chords and still have a lot of flexibility to interact with the rest of the band. This lesson is going over how you find triad voicings for a C jazz blues and also demonstrating what you can do with the voicings you find using melodies and inversions.

Basic triad voicings

To demonstrate how easily you can use the triads as chords in a blues I have written out a chorus of voicings in example 1. I play the chorus in the videos, and you should notice that I don’t use the simple rhythm that I’ve written, but interpret that freely. I am however only using the voicings in example 1.

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings - ex 1

The way I find the triad voicings is quite simple and an approach that is almost always coming back in both comping and improvisation lessons:

A C7 chord consists of the notes C E G Bb. If we take away the C we are left with the notes E G and Bb which spell out an E diminished triad.  This way of looking at the diatonic triad found on the 3rd of the chord is how I find most of the triads.

The only exception in this lesson is the dom7th(b9) chords. Here I take an common C7(b9) voicing: C E Bb Db and if we take the C away we are left with the notes E Bb Db, which is infact an inversion of a Bb diminished triad. The conclusion is that we can use the diminished triad found on the 7th for dom7th(b9) chords.

I have written out the reasoning on the guitar with first a C7 and then a C7(b9) voicing in example 2

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings - ex 2

So now that we can find triads for all the chords we can of course also invert them.

In this lesson I have kept everything on the middle string set (D,G,B) just to keep it simple and also because that is the place where they are the most effective.

In example 3 I have written out the chords with inversions:

C7 – Edim

F7 – Adim

Dm7 – Fmajor

G7 – Bdim

F#dim – Ebdim 

C7(b9) –  Bbdim

G7(b9) – Fdim

Em7(b5) – Gm

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings - ex 3

The only one that takes a little explaining is the Ebdim triad over the F#dim(7) chord. Since F# dim is F# A C Eb the one note that is in both the chord before and the chord following it is the C, so I leave that out and have: F# A Eb Which is an inversion of and Ebdim triad.

I left the A7 and the Gm7 voicings for you to figure out by yourself, it’s a good exercise!

Adding melody to the triads

Now that we have triad voicings for all the chords we can start working on adding melodies. I think my approach to this is really simple, for each of the triad inversions we can use the voicing and also use the neighbouring notes in the scale to make melodies. If you look at the first bar of example 4 you can see that I am using an E dim triad over the C7 but then changing the melody from G to Bb and A. A similar idea is used over the F7 where the A top note is replaced with a G in a melodic movement.

To work this out you need to be able to work out what scale fits the chord and you need to be able to play that scale on the B string.

To list some examples of which scales I use:

C7 – Fmajor (or C mixolydian if that works better for you)

F7 – Bbmajor

Gm7 – Fmajor

C7b9 – F harmonic minor.

F#dim – G harmonic minor

Em7(b5) – Fmajor

A7 – D harmonic minor

The final example is a blues chorus with some rhythmical and melodic variations added. If you work your way through it you should be able to figure it out without too much trouble.

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings - ex 4

I think the chorus in example 4 is so busy that it is almost a solo, but it will work as a comp example, and it also demonstrates a lot of the options available with this approach.

I hope you can use the material I went over here to get some flexible and effective voicings into your vocabulary. If you want to check out more on triad voicings you can check out my lesson : III VI II V I with triads

If you want to check out some mote chords and learn some drop2 voicings you can also check out my WebStore lesson:

F Blues Comping Etude #1

 

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

C Jazz Blues with triad voicings

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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.

 

Bb Jazz Blues – The Basics

When playing over a progression like the Bb jazz blues you need to be aware of certain things and be able to play different things so that you have the material you need to really improvise following the harmony of the blues: The Chords, the Scales and the Arpeggios. I have also added a transcription of a chorus of me soloing over the blues as an example of using the material covered.

In this lesson I have made 4 choruses of exercises: The chords, the scales that go with the chords. The arpeggios that are the melodic version of the chords and finally a solo chorus which demonstrates how you might use the other exercises when playing over the Bb blues.

To keep it simple I have kept all exercises in one position so that if you go through the exercises you should begin to have a tool set to improvise over the Bb blues in that position.

The chord voicings

To improvise over a song you probably need to be able to play the chords so you can hear the harony and how it moves. In the following example I have written out a set of voicings to play the Bb Blues.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 1

You’ll notice that I in general don’t write out which extensions I use, so I write out the basic type of chord and if whoever is playing a chord he can fill in extensions to his own taste. This is common practice in Jazz in general.

The Scales

In the 2nd example I added a scale to each chord. The way I am playing the scales is that I start on the root and run up to the 7th, this gives you a bit of time to switch to the next chord. This way of applying scales to a progression is the same as you’ll find in Barry Harris exercises. It is a nice way to add the scale in a musical way so that you hear how they spell out the harmony.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 2

The Bb7,Eb7,Cm7 and F7 are easily understood in terms of where they sit in the key, since it is all mixolydian or dorian.

The E dim scale is in fact an F harmonic minor from E to E. You can see how I arrive by this by looking at it from the Bb7 scale:

Bb C D Eb F G Ab Bb

If I need to fit an E dim in there then an easy way to do that is to replace the D with a Db and the Eb with an E:

Bb C Db E F G Ab Bb which you can write out from F to recognize that it as an F harmonic minor scale.

For the G7(b9) you need to look at it as a dominant resolving to Cm, which tells us that we should use a Cm scale for it. In this context the (actually in most contexts) that means using the C harmonic minor scale. You can use this approach to determine what scale you should use for any auxiliary dominant.

The Arpeggios

When playing over changing harmony the best way to really follow the chords is of course to use the notes of the chords in your solo. Therefore it is very important to be able to play the chords of the progression as arpeggios. In example 3 I have written out the arpeggios in this position.

To make it easier to connect the different arpeggios I have written them out in a similar range which means that I don’t always start on the root of each chord.

You should practice the arpeggios like I’ve written them out, but you would get a lot from also improvising over the progression just using the arpeggios.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 3

When you solo over the progression the target notes you choose to make lines that clearly reflects the harmony.

The solo

As an example of how you can use the material I have written out a short improvised solo on a Bb blues.

Bb Jazz Blues - The Basics ex 4

I hope you can use the exercises and the materials to get started improvising over a Jazz Blues progression. You can check out some of my other lessons on Blues, arpeggios and target notes for more ideas.

Take You Jazz Blues Skills Further

Do you wan to see how this information can be put to use and look at how you can expand on it as well? Then You can also check out my Bb blues solo lesson with a 4 chorus transcription + lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

 

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Get The PDF

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Bb Jazz Blues – The Basics

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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.

 

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy

Making your jazz comp sound more blues can be a great way to vary how you interpret songs. There are several jazz standards that are great to interpret with a blues feel.

In this lesson I am going to take a part of a progression from a jazz standard and give some examples of how you can play the chords so that it sounds and feels like blues.

The Blues is a huge part of Jazz, and it is a useful if not essential skill to be able to integrate this feel into your comping. This lesson is going to give you three approaches to make comp ideas sound more bluesy. I am going to demonstrate it using the first part of the standard “There is no greater love”

Some chord voicings

To make the examples we need some chords. In example 1 I have written out 5 voicings for the first 4 bars of “There is no greater love”

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy ex 1

You should notice that for both the Eb7 and the Ab7 I am using a #11, so they are Lydian dominants since that is what fits best in this key.

Bluesy Riffs

Blues is very riff based music. You probably already know a lot of the standard blues and boogie riffs on guitar that I play in the videos.

To add this to a progression like There’s No Greater Lover you need to make short melodies that you can repeat through the changes and the melodies need to be very rhythmical in the sense that they convey the groove of the tune. We are trying to communicate the feel not creating rhythmical tension on top of the rhythm section.

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy ex 2

The melody in example is a 4 note quarter note melody, so it states the groove of the song and I have chosen a melody that is quite easy to move around the changes in a natural way. Mainly because it is the same melody for two chords and then again for the next two chords.

Since the comping approach is more about being a part of the rhythm section groove than being colour on top I also make a variation in the 4th bar. This is because that helps conveying the form of the song, this is similar to how you will hear drums set up the transition to the next part of the song form.

Riffs with repeating chords

In example 3 you will find a riff that is repeating the same chord and once in a while changing the melody note. This riff doesn’t really have a melody, but since the comping is pretty full and a lot of the subdivisions are played it is a great way to really make it clear that it is a for example a shuffle feel.

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy ex 3

The melody is really simple since it is only two notes and then I am playing most of the 8th notes so that it is very clear what the feel of the song is.

Chromatic slides

Another thing that is part of the blues is the leading notes and the blue notes. Since we are not playing an actual 12 bar blues it is difficult to really emphasize the blue notes. We can however use leading notes or leading chords as blue notes that we then resolve. One way to do this that also uses a bluesy phrasing is to slide from a leading chord up to it’s resolution.

In the example I am sliding up from a half step under the chord.

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy ex 4

The construction of the riff is really basic, for each chord I am also using the same voicing a half step under it and slide it up to resolve.

Putting the approaches together

As a small etude I have used these ideas together in example 5.

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy ex 5

That was some ideas on how to make comping sound more bluesy. I hope you can use it in you own playing and that you can transfer the ideas to the songs where you need them.

You should check out my lesson on making Jazz lines sound more bluesy if you want to investigate further: Making Jazz Lines Bluesy

And you can of course also check out the Blues comping lesson in my webstore: F Blues Comping Etude #1

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Making Jazz Chords sound Bluesy

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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 Bb Jazz Blues licks

Blues and Jazz are two genres that share the same roots and have a lot of things in common. You can make some really great lines by mixing things from Blues and Jazz.In this lesson I am going to look at 5 licks that do that and talk a bit about how they are constructed and how you can make lines like that.

The Key, the Chord and the Blues scale

The core of this lesson is of course the 5 licks that contain some of the characteristic melodies, phrasing and techniques found in Blues mixed with arpeggios, extensions and chromatic passing notes that you find in Jazz. The result are lines that will fit in both a Jazz and a Blues context, and you can probably put them to use in a lot of jazz standards as well.

All the examples are in the key of Bb, so they are thought from the Bb7 chord. Bb is a very common key for a Jazz Blues, there are numerous famous jazz blues themes in Bb, think Tenor Madness or Blue Monk.

The backdrop of the Bb7 is the Bb mixolydian or Eb major scale:

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 1

Since we are using the basic Bb7 chord then the arpeggio of that is also useful:

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 2

But since we are playing blues the Bb minor pentatonic is also a useful place to look for melodies.

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 3

In this lesson I am assuming that you know what a BB7 is and how to play over it and is somewhat familiar with arpeggios, chord tones and a minor pentatonic scale.

The 5 Jazz Blues licks

We are going to look at some licks that make use of Blues phrasing and scale and some jazz lines. In general blues lines can be both in the chord (so mixolydian) or strictly blues from the minor pentatonic scale. Blues with also contain leading notes, but the melodies tend to be based more on the basic chord notes (the triad maybe the 7th) than extensions which gives them a more rooted sound.

In the first example I am walking up the arpeggio from the 5th to the root and from there we get a typical blues cliche that is using an Eb/Bb like suspension with double stops. From there the line continues with a jazz line that starts on the 5th(F) and skips up to the 9th(C) from where it descends adding a chromatic passing note and finally comes to ret on the 5th.

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 4

Leading notes are a part of the Blues language aswell as jazz, even though it is used a bit differently. The 2nd example starts out with leading notes to the 3rd(D) and uses that before it resolves to the root. From there it continues with a melody taken from the Bb blues scale, which is the minor pentatonic scale with an added b5(E). The minor pentatonic line is finally resolved to a 3rd and from there we get a small line ending the melody on the b7(Ab)

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 5

The third example is a line derived from the good old Chuck Berry Boogie Woogie pattern, but not used as a melody an octave higher. It then continues down the arpeggio in bar 2 and ends with an encircling of the 3rd and a 6th skip up to the root.

The melodies that skips a 6th up or down are very common to the blues. Usually the melody will skip between chord notes. If a melody skips like this in Jazz it is much more likely to be resolved in stepwise motion in the other direction. This is somewhat a type of melody that is much more common or even specific to Blues.

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 6

Patterns of 3 notes are common in both styles, but the repeating 3 note pattern idea is much more common in Blues (think  Chuck Berry again). In the 4th line I start out with a 3 note motief that is played twice befor the line continues down the minor pentatonic scale to the root. From there it goes on with a leading note line connectinfg the 9th to the 3rd and the the first 3 note motief that now resolves to the 5th of Bb.

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 7

In the last example I am starting of with a line that is basically a jazz line that is played with blues phrasing. First half of bar 1 is a D dim triad and from there the line continues with a part of an F minor pentatonic scale. The 2nd haf of the line is again using double stops and using the cliche chromatic movement of a minor 3rd interval from the 3rd and 5th to the b7 and 5th.

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks - ex 8

I hope you can use my examples to get started making your own Jazz Blues lines and explore that way of playing in your own improvisations!

The best way to work on the material I went over here is to take the examples and trying to make them into my own lines. One way is to start with a part of one of the examples and make a different ending. Another approach would be to take a part of a line and compose 10 new lines that use that part.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks

You can also check out my Bb blues solo lesson with a 4 chorus transcription + lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave 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 want to hear.

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.

 

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues

Most students learning jazz are working on the harmony and the scales and trying to hit the right notes. This is of course very important but often you find yourself realizing that you need to develop your rhythms so that you don’t only play endless streams of 8th note lines.

In this lesson I am going to go over one exercise that you can do to help develop more rhythms and quickly get them into your playing.

 

The exercise

If you are trying to learn a new arpeggio or a scale you are not immediately going to try to play it all over the neck in the middle of a tune. You are more likely making smaller goals so that you first learn the arpeggio in one position, maybe only one octave and then later more positions while trying to make lines with it and using it over easy progressions.

The same approach can also be applied to a rhythm. To make it easy to learn we take one rhythm at a time. Learn the rhythm, practice making lines with it over one chord and then try to play with that rhythm through a simple F blues.

The 1st rhythm

The first rhythm, shown in exampe 1 is a really simple 3 note pattern. The first thing you want to try is to just play the rhythm on the guitar. Once that feels comfortable you can expand it so that you start working on making melodies with the rhythm. Start with one chord and take it from there. If you need to slow down or even to stop between phrases that is ok, it is part of the process.

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues ex 1

Once you have the rhythm under control and can easily play it and can make lines over a chord in time with this rhythm you can take it through a progression that you are familiar with.

In example 2 I have written out an improvised chorus over an F blues that I played using the rhythm. You can hear the solo in the video.

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues ex 2

Of course the next step after being able to play through the F blues with this rhythm is to try to open up so that you don’t use the rhythm all the time but still try to use it and get it to sit well in the rest of your melodic ideas.

The 2nd Rhythm

The same of course goes for this second rhythm, so first get comfortable with playing the rhythm and working on making lines over one chord at a time.

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues ex 3

When first taking it through the blues it can be a good idea to play one bar and then take a break to hear the melody that you play in the next bar so that they are somehow related. This is of course not only useful for playing with this exercise but is soemthing you might want to work on in general to get better at playing solos that have a larger context and is not only a bunch of notes strung together over some chords.

In example 4 I have written out the chorus I improvised with this rhythm.

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues ex 4

To demonstrate how you could take the two rhythms and try to use them more loosely in a blues I improvised a chorus where I am using the rhythms but not so strictly, so that they are allowed to melt into the rest of the solo in a natural way.

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues ex 5

In my experience this a very direct and easy way to work on rhythms and also to not only work on an aspect of your playing but also still work on making music at the same time which is why I use this approach with a lot of different topics when I practice and when I teach.

I hope you can use this exercise to develop your rhythms and rhythmical ideas.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Rhythm exercise on a Jazz Blues

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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.

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy

For most people diving into jazz improvisation the focus is first on harmony and note choices, and much less on how you phrase the melodies you make. Since blues is a part of the roots of jazz and is used very frequently by jazz players it is a good place to start to add some variation in phrasing.

In this lesson I am going to go over how you can use some techniques and melodic ideas to give basic jazz lines a more bluesy flavour.

 

Jazz Guitars and phrasing

Since I am approaching this from a jazz point of view I chose to use techniques and concepts that are easy to execute with heavier strings, since that is standard on most jazz guitars. That means that I am not concerning myself with vibrato or bending, but trying to go over the sort blues of phrasing you’d come across in a George Benson or Kenny Burrell solo.

The approach I will go over here is a good way to further what I already covered in many of the lessons on improvising with arpeggios like this one:  How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios. This approach should help you get another sound out of the same lines by applying fairly basic phrasing ideas.

The progression I am using for this lesson is this II V I in C major:

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 1

Since I really wanted to demonstrate how powerful phrasing is as a tool I chose to make lines only using arpeggios. The arpeggios I am using on the progression are found in example 2:

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 2

Notice that I decided to keep the arpeggios in the same position and in the same range, even though that means that the G7 does not have a low root. This is mostly because it is important to have all the material covering the same range and to keep the arpeggios compact and not too many notes.

Phrasing techniques

The three techniques I am going to cover in this lesson are all shown in example 3, one bar for each one.

The first idea is to create a dynamic difference with legato. Most of the time when we work onn legato we try to make the notes equal in volume, but since they naturally have a difference in volume you can also use that aspect to add dynamic contrasts within an improvised line. This is utilized in blues phrasing in this lesson but is a fairly standard part of jazz guitar phrasing in general.

The second idea is to slide up to a note. The sliding sound is probably a sort if substitute or emulation of bending (which is an emulation of bottleneck playing). In this case it is not important (or even really audible) where you slide from but just that the slide is easy to hear.

I often get remarks from students who think of the slides as chromatic leading notes. I don’t really consider them as such mostly because they are played as grace notes and you can’t really hear what pitch they are. This is shown in the second bar of example 3.

The third concept is more melodic than technical in nature since it is the use of repeated notes. Repeated notes are somewhat taboo in mainstream bop phrasing but since Blues is a style that often is centered around a smaller pool of notes it is much more common to repeat notes, and doing so in a jazz line can also be a wat to invoke a blues feeling. This is of course also depending on how you do it, One Note Samba does not sound like a blues…

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 3

Examples of Bluesified arpeggio lines

The examples I made are all using arpeggios and are examples of how you can make a very “jazzy” approach in note choice sound more bluesy.

The first example is starting off with the root on the Dm7. Blues phrases are mostly not really up in the extensions and are a bit more living near the basic triad of the chord. Something which you will see in the different examples. From there the line is utilizing both pull offs and slides before it via the 7th(C) oof Dm7 moves to G7.

The G7 line is fairly straight forward with only a slide to the 3rd on beat 1. On the C I also use the slide to the 3rd and add an extra two note tag to the line.

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 4

In the 2nd example I am using two very characteristic blues ideas on the Dm7: Both repeating notes and groups of three notes, in this case the 3 note group starts with a slide to the 5th(A) and then repeating the 7th(C). I blues you find groupings like this often but almost never used to create a polyrhythmic effect like anoter meter on top of the one being played.

The G7 line starts off with a triad bases pattern that is then moved up to the upperstructure of the G7.  The line finally resolves to the 3rd(E) of C maj7. On the tonic it continues with a melody descending down the arpeggio and adding a slide to the 7th(B).

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 5

The third example is using the pull offs on the Dm7 and then moving on to the 3rd(B) of G7 which is played with a slide. It continues on the G7 with a triplet rhythm that has a repeating note. This to me is really a typical blues phrase to my ears, The triplet is used to create melodic tension that is resolved to the 3rd(E) of C which is approachedd with a slide. On the Cmaj7 the line continues with a skip from the root to the 3rd. This 6th interval is also often something you would find in a blues phrase.

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy ex 6

I hope you can use some of these ideas and strategies to work on your own phrasing skills and that it can help you create more variation in your solos by using a sound that you probably already have a feel for.

If you want to study the examples away from the video or article you can download a pdf here:

Making Jazz lines sound bluesy

You can also check out my Bb blues solo lesson with a 4 chorus transcription + lesson:

Bb Jazz Blues Lesson 1

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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Developing Basic Comping Rhythms

Most people are struggeling to find good way to develop their comping, and especially coming up with good rhythms to support a soloist in an interesting and varied way. In this lesson I am going to take a simple rhythm that everybody needs to know anyway, and I am going to show you how to develop that into more interesting rhythms.

If you play in any kind of ensemble you are probably spending more time comping than soloing, but at the same time it is ironically also a skill that most people doesn’t work too much on. This is ironic both from the point of view that we spent the most time doing this and also that if you can comp well you are asked to play much more often.

The Rhythm that I am using as a starting point in this lesson is the Charleston Rhythm. This is a good first choice to start with since it has two notes one on the beat and one off the beat, so you have a sense of the swing feel even with just these two notes..

The way I approach making variations with the Charleston rhythm you can actually do with any rhythm that you come across. Since I am concerned with rhythm in this lesson and not the voicings I’ll leave the discussion of the voicings out. I have a lot of lessons on melodic aspects of playing voicings and on different times of voicings you can check out.

The first example is the basic Charleston Rhythm through a 12 bar blues in C.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 1

Once you can take this rhythm through the progression yourself (using your own voicings and with some freedom in making your own melodies) Then you can start working on the first variation.

Basically what is happening is that I am starting with two 8th notes instead of a quarter note, and then I took that through the Blues progression.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 2

When you can do this you can start working on the next variation where I add n 8th note on the 2 of the bar.

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 3

So in this way we have 3 different rhythms that we can use on the C blues. Note that in all three examples I am not using the 2nd half o f the bar, and I didn’t displace or leave out part of the original rhythm. Both quite powerful options to expand this even further.

Now that we have 3 rhythms we can start mixing them up over the progression. That would be this:

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms - ex 4

As you can tell I am trying to keep the voicings and melodic ideas very simple in this lesson, you can always  make this more or less complicated when really comping, when you are working on the rhythms you should probably try to keep it simple.

I hope you can use the examples I went over here to get some new comping rhythms and also as an approach to take any rhythm you already use and make variations on it and get more out of it.

You can download a PDF of the examples for later study here:

Developing Basic Comping Rhythms

If you want to see more examples of how I comp and what sort of ideas I have for comping then you can also check out these two lesson in my webstore:

Drop 2 voicings on All The Things You Are

F blues Comping Etude (3 choruses)

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make thme fit what you want to hear.

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