Tag Archives: jazz blues licks

5 Jazz Blues Licks – How to use Transcribed ideas

In this video, I go over 5 longer Jazz Blues Licks that incorporate different ideas that I took from transcriptions of great guitarists such as Grant Green, George Benson, Charlie Parker(not really a guitarist, but he wished he was), Wes Montgomery, and John Scofield.

These examples really highlights how I work with material that I have transcribed, and most of them are in fact in videos I have done on these artists.

How I use transcribed licks

For me using larger chunks of a solo from somebody else was never really working. I always preferred to work with small phrases or even the concept behind a phrase and then use that to make my own version of that idea.

In these examples, I am mostly using small bits and pieces of other guitarists licks. This is mainly because the relation to the original would maybe be too unclear.

Grant Green and his great triad lick

This first example uses an opening phrase that is quite common with Grant Green. He uses this 2nd inversion triad in both Miss Ann’s Tempo and I’ll Remember April.

For the rest the line is using some of the great ideas that we use in Blues influenced jazz with the sliding leading notes and especially approaching the 3rd from a half step below.

Another typical jazz line is the use of the G augmented triad to help pull towards the C7.

George Bensons Major Blues Genius

A comment on my recent video on George Benson went on and on about how his use of major pentatonic lines was dreadful. A very strange idea since most of the guys (like Parker and Coltrane) use this sound a lot. And besides that I can’t imagine not wanting to be able to play Blues phrases with the soul of Benson.

The quote in this phrase is in the middle of the line. It starts in bar 2 and continues into bar 3. In the original(in F) he playes the upbeat in quarter notes. Here I turned that into 8th ntoes.

The phrase in bar 4 is a Parker line similar to one of his lines in his original version of Billie’s Bounce.

Kenny Burrel and Wes Montgomery

The first phrase (another major pentatonic 🙂 ) is from Kenny Burrell. The descending 6th at the end is really beautiful. On the C7 I am using a double stop trill that you can hear both Benson and Montgomery use. Wes plays a whole chorus in No Blues off Smoking at the Half note with this phrase. Here I am putting it on the IV chord rather than the I where both Benson and Wes use it.

Scofield’s Amazing Arpeggio Ideas and slides

This example is beginning with a lick that is not exactly taken from a Scofield solo but is more “in the vein of” The way he uses different types of legato techniques to create a really nice flow is beautiful, even if it is a little tricky to play.

The phrase in bars 3 and 4 is more of a direct quote from Scofield but the 2nd half is my take on developing the original as a motif. Here I take the opportunity to also turn it into a more altered sound.

Imitating Wes is always worthwhile

This example is a take on a Wes line from his (unbelievable) solo on Four on Six off the Smoking at the half note album. The original is on 4 bars of G minor, but here I have taken it to G major keeping the basic shape and changing the notes around.

What to take away from this lesson

I think these examples describe how I work with material that I have transcribed. Some of the examples I might really play in a solo and some that I might work with while practicing to develop them into more personal takes on the lines.

Developing your own material is important (and fun) so I’d suggest you do the same.

Supercharge your Blues playing!

If you want some more jazz blues examples then check out this WebStore lesson:

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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!

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.

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

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

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

5 Bb Jazz Blues licks

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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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