This is not only a Pat Metheny Lesson. It is also a short discussion and a practical example of how most things that we hear in great solos are not complicated scales or concepts, but much more masterful and melodic improvisations with basic scales and arpeggios.
In the solo I go over some fragments from the Pat Metheny How Insensitive live from the Secret Story live dvd. It is a fantastic solo.
The solo can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9SPR9eUIbk
And a transcription is available here: https://kupdf.net/download/pat-metheny-how-insensitive_598dfa35dc0d60e927300d1a_pdf
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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We Analyze Chords and Chord Progressions because it is very important to understand how the music flows and also to figure out what to play and how to play when we solo over it.
In this video I am going to take a well know Jazz Standard There Will Never Be Another You and use a step-wise method to analyze the a song. Understand the chords and the progression, and find out what scales go with the chords. This will go a bit beyond just recognizing the II V I’s and also help you really understand a lot of progressions in jazz.
As a musician I find that knowing and using music theory like this is really helpful when studying pieces and sight-reading charts. For me it helps me hear the music on the page, the changes and the color of the melody. For that Harmonic analysis is a very useful skill.
The 12 bar Blues is probably the most common song structure or chord progression in music! In this video I am going to analyze some of the common variations of the Jazz Blues and cover what you need to know to make have a strong chord progression adn chord substitution vocabulary for playing over a jazz blues.
I am going to talk about how the jazz blues can contain IVm progressions, #IV dim chords and also some other parallel II V options.
Hope you like it!
0:00 Intro – Jazz Blues – the most common progression in Western Music
If you are writing a chord progression or making reharmonization then you want to check out what options you have available in jazz harmony. This video is going through 60 chords and talk about how they are related to C major key and show jazz chord progressions that contain them.
I am also referencing chord progressions of jazz standards very often.
The chords that we find in a chord progression in almost any genre will more often than not contain chords that are not diatonic to the scale of the key. So the amount of chords in a key is bigger than the diatonic chords found in the scale, but how big?