Tag Archives: jazz

Jazz Turnaround – How To Get Started

The Jazz Turnaround or I VI7 II V is a very common and useful progression to learn after you have checked out some basic II V I lines. In this video I will go over some basic material to use on a Turnaround: Jazz Chords, Scales and Arpeggios and then demonstrate how to solo over the form with this.

The lesson includes some exercises as well to get you more familiar with the chord progression, arpeggios and scales and get it into your ears and fingers.

The Progression and some Basic Jazz Chords 

The turnaround I am going to focus on in this lesson is a Bb major I VI II V. I have chosen to use altered dominants for the VI and the V chords.

A good place to start when learning a chord progression is to play the chords. Here are the chords both as diagrams and as notation:

It is important to play the chords and get used to how they sound, and for any progression you want to solo on you also want to be able to play the chords.

These voicings are fairly basic versions with a root.

Scales and a position of the neck

When you are starting to work on a progression then you want to keep scales and arpeggios in one position. If you have to move around the neck to cover the chords while soloing then it is going to be very difficult to play any logical sounding melodies.

I am going to cover the turnaround using the 6th positions.

The Bbmaj7 and the Cm7 are covered by a basic Bb major scale:

The  G7 altered scale is the same as the Ab melodic minor scale. In this position that is this scale:

And finally the F altered or Gb melodic minor:

Arpeggios – Diatonic and altered dominant

The basic arpeggios for the Bbmaj7 and Cm7 are easy to come up with. The altered dominants are a bit more tricky. Here I am using m7b5 arpeggios from the 7th of the chord.

Decoding the Arpeggio choice for the Altered dominants

The altered dominants don’t have a straight diatonic arpeggio. In Ab melodic minor the diatonic chord on G is a half diminished chord. One way of dealing with that is to look at a G7alt chord voicings as shown below.

The top part of that chord is an Fm7(b5) chord and this means we can use that arpeggio as a good arpeggio for G7alt since it gives us a

F Ab B Eb = b7, b9, 3, b13

Exercises on the Progression

When you are learning a progression it is really useful to do some exercises that follow the changes and help you not only familiarize yourself with both the chords and the scales and arpeggios you need to improvise over it.

In the video I also demonstrate how to do similar exercises with the arpeggios and two examples of the never-ending scale exercise.

Improvising using Target Notes

One of the best ways to approach soloing over changing harmony and to have melody lines that flow naturally from one chord to the next is to use target notes.

Using target notes in your solos is to choose a note in advance and then try to play a melody towards that note. This way of constructing lines is very useful because if you have that in your system you will always play melodies that are moving towards something and not sound like you are trying out how notes sound or that melodies are moving at random. By choosing target notes that are related to the chords it is also a very powerful way to really spell out the chords.

The Target notes for this progression

The Target notes are chosen to be really clear so they are very indicative of the sound of the chord and not repeating notes from the last chord.

An example of a line using the target notes is shown below. Notice how I am using the target notes on the 1st beat of the chord and making a line that really points to that target notes.

Taking the Target note strategy further

If you want to check out some more material on Turnarounds and target notes then you can also check out this webstore lesson where I am using that approach on the Rhythm Changes.

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You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Turnaround How To Get Started

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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10 Awesome Ideas for Better Jazz Licks You Should Know

It’s not all scales and arpeggios when it comes to guitar jazz licks. This video is showing 10 ways to come up with new licks using different ideas that are not all based on the notes. This can really open up your vocabulary and make your solos more interesting and I talk about methods working with dynamics, melodic direction and rhythm.

Some of the examples are also borrowing techniques from artists like Jim Hall, Bill Evans and Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Content:

0:00 Intro

0:49 Lick 1 – Shifting Patterns and Parts

1:43 Variation on Lick 1

2:05 Lick 2 – Melodic Direction and using the range of the instrument

3:06 Lick 3 – Accents, Dynamics and breathing life into your 8th note lines

4:13 Lick 4 – Extended arpeggios as a means to get a larger range

5:30 Lick 5 – Chromaticism and Bebop – Add the jazz flavour

6:36 Lick 6 – All the “other” arpeggios

8:13 Lick 7 – Across the bar line – Don’t be tied down by the bar lines!

9:19 Lick 8 – Space and Great Rhythms (Like Jim Hall)

11:04 Lick 9 – Blues in Funny Places (Courtsey of Joe Pass)

12:31 Lick 10 – Triplets and Modern Rhythmical Jazz Phrasing

14:20 Do you have a great idea? Share it in a comment!

14:43 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page

Bluesette – Backing Track – Playalong – Jazz Waltz – 147 bpm

Bluesette is probably the most famous Toots Thielemans song and certainly a jazz standard. Such a great take on a 3/4 Parker Blues with a few extra twists!

This is a great progression! A Belgian version of the Parker Blues and also in 3/4. I guess that is the Belgian part of it?

This song has a very nice way of travelling through a lot of keys and still end up home in a turnaround. Certainly one of my favourite waltzes, probably no 2 on the list 😀

Here’s my solo on the track:

 

Here are the changes:

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.

 

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales

The II V I is one of the most common and important progressions in jazz. So playing over a II V I is a necessary part of being able to play jazz. One way to get started with this is to use pentatonic scales as a starting point. In this lesson I will give you 3 pentatonic scales to use over a II V I in C, talk a bit about how you use them and give you 3 lines using the pentatonic scales.

The II Valt I Progression

The progression I am going to talk about in this lesson is a II Valt I in the key of C major. The progression can be seen here:

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 1

For each of these chords we can choose a pentatonic scale that will work well to convey the sound of this chord.

For the Dm7 chord it’s failry easy, a D minor pentatonic is a Dm7 with and added G so that gives us this “standard box” Dm pentatonic

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 2

The tricky chord in the progression is the G7alt, since G altered is the same as Ab melodic minor we only have one “normal” minor pentatonic scale: Bb minor. I chose not to use a Minor 6th pentatonic like I talk about in this lesson:  Minor 6th Pentatonic scale Because I wanted to keep it a lesson on material that I expect you already know (which is a bit less likely with a min 6th pentatonic). The scale can be played like this:

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 3

For the Cmaj7 I am focusing on getting the entire upperstructure of the chord (an E minor triad), since the only pentatonic scale in Cmajor (it contains Dm, Em and Am pentatonic scales) that has a B is the Em pentatonic I am using that on the Cmaj7.

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 4

Now that we have three pentatonic scales placed on the same part of the neck we can start making some lines with the scales.

II V I lines with pentatonic scales

In some of my other lessons on improvising over specific progression with arpeggios like this one: How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios I am talking a lot about what notes to target when making a line that goes from one chord to the next. In this example the scales are very different (much less that the arpeggios that are 50% the same notes every time) so it is less important to hit specific notes at the beginning of a bar. That said it is still a cadence and the lines will be stronger if you aim for the E or G on the Cmaj7 to make the resolution to the tonic clear.

The first example is fairly basic in that it is trying yo use some ways of playing the pentatonic scales in ways you are probably already familiar with. On the Dm7 I start out with groups of three notes with a pull off to make it easier to play. The G7alt line is first a descending run in the scale followed by an ascending run which ends in an encircling of the 5th of C(G).

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 5

The second example is making heavy use of the “diatonic” chords in a pentatonic scale. If you stack 3rds(so every other note) in a pentatonic scale you get a set of structures mostly containing stacks of 4ths. I talk about this in detail in this lesson:  Diatonic chords in the pentatonic scale. These structures are great for solos and that is what I am using in the 2nd line.

On the Dm7 istarts of with a stack of 4ths from the D on the 12th fret. After this it descends down the scale and encircles the Eb in the Bbm pentatonic scale. The same structure moved up a half step is found in the Bbm pentatonic scale which is how I start the line on the G7alt.  After this it skips up to a high f and descends down the scale. The line then resolves from Bb to the 7th(B) of Cmaj7. The line on the Cmaj7 continues with another stack of 4ths and descends down to the final 9th(D) of C.

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 6

The final example starts off with another structure found in the pentatonic scale: a minor triad. In this example I play it as an open voiced D minor triad. From there the line continues with a stack of 4ths that encircles the #9(Bb) on G. From there the line descends down the scale and then skips to play a stack of 4ths from the lower Bb. This resolves scalewise to the 3rd(E) of Cmaj7. The first for notes of the line on the Cmaj is a sort of blues cliche in an E minor pentatonic, followed by a stack of 4ths from A and finally resting on the 3rd of Cmaj7.

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales ex 7

I hope you can use the information and the approach I discussed in this lesson to make lines with pentatonic scales. This approach can easily be used as another option to put to use in later choruses of a solo, which is how I mostly use it.

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

Soloing over a II V I with Pentatonic scales

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.

Rootless Voicings – Part 1 – Triads

Starting to use chords that doesn’t have the root as a bass note can be tricky in the beginning. In this lesson I want to demonstrate how reducing some voicings gives you triads and how you can practice and use that in comping. I am also suggestion a way to expand the melodic possibilities with the triads.

 

Chords without root bass notes

When you learn guitar you are taught a lot of chords that all has the root as the lowest note. Most of the time you are also taught to orientate by the root and thinking of the rest of the chord as a visual or physical shape on the guitar. This way of thinking about chords makes it fairly easy to learn chords but makes them less flexible and also makes it hard to play chord voicings that do not have the root as the lowest voicing.

In example 1 I have first written a fairly standard set of II V I chord voicings, and then written the same voicings but without the bass note. You might notice that the 2nd set of voicings consist of an F major triad, a B dim triad and an E minor triad. You can also try to play the example and hear that they will still convey the movement of the II V I.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 1

The theory is fairly simple: If Cmaj7 is C E G B, then without a C it is E G B which is E minor.

Since we can use these triads to play each of the chords we can also use their inversions,so that will give us 3 rootless voicings that we can apply to any of the chords diatonic to the major scale.

If you are familiar with my lesson Jazz Chord Survival Kit You will notice that example 2 and 3 are those drop3 and drop2 voicings without the root. This way of thinking about them makes it easier to keep the root in mind without actually playing it. In the beginning I found that to be a huge help.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 2

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 3

Example 4 is then the root position triads which, as I show in the video, you can also see as derived from a set of voicings, but some of them you might not be using that often.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 4

In examples 2-4 I have written the chord name above the chord that this triad is used for. It can be very useful to keep them in mind when practicing this through a key.

Basic Cadences and other exercises

The first thing to check out is probably this simple set of II V I voicings with the triads.  There are several options in terms of voice-leading this, but I like these. When you play them try to relate each voicing to the root.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 5

To create a bit more options in terms of variation of the melodies we can create with these voicings I made example 5. The idea is fairly simple, the highest note, also called the melody, of the chord is suspended with the diatonic note one step above it. If you take this through the scale with the 2nd inversion triads you get the following exercise.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 6

In the video I play the same exercise for the two other inversion, you should try to figure them out for yourself, that is an important step in becoming more free with the triad voicings and be able to make more different sounds with this material.

I cover this more in depth in my lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Triads  if you want to take this further.

Using Rootless voicings

To give you an idea about how you can use the triad voicings and exercise 6 I have made 3 examples with a few different common progressions. You should try and play the examples and try to see what voicings the triads are derived from.

The first one is applying example 6 to the first part of example 4, so a melody on a basic II V I in C major.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 7

The second example is a II V cadence to A minor. the E7 is using A harmonic minor, so it has a b9 (and a b13, but that’s not in this voicing) You can see some more info on using harmonic minor on dom7th chords in this lesson: Minor II V I cadences

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 8

The third example is a III V II V I in C. Again using the technique of suspending the melody note with the diatonic note above. The A7 is resolving to Dm so the extensions used are here also from the D harmonic minor scale: a b13.

Rootless Voicings - Part 1 - Triads - ex 9

I hope you can use the exercises and examples to start using or expanding your use of rootless voicings.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here you can do so here:

Rootless Voicings – Part 1 – Triads

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.

 

Drop2 Voicings as Arpeggios

Drop2 voicings can be a great way to add some melodic structures that already by themselves have a huge range and since they are basically an arpeggio, they are also easy to insert in to melodies. In this lesson I’ll try to given some tips on how to practice and use drop2 voicings like this and also some examples of how I use them in my own playing.

Using chord voicings as arpeggios

If you follow my lessons through the last year or so you have probably noticed that I like to take my chord voicings and turn them into arpeggios whenever possible. So you are probably not surprised that after lessons on Quartal harmony, shell voicings and open voiced triads I also had to make a lesson on how to use drop2 voicings in solos.

I am assuming that you are already familiar with drop2 voicings. Otherwise you can check out the lessons I’ve made on them here:

In this lesson I am keeping the amount of voicings down a bit by not spending too much time on the inversions, we will take the diatonic chords of a major scale on each of the 3 string sets, and go through them and I will use those in the example lines at the end of the lesson.

For the lowest string set here’s the diatonic chords of a G major scale.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 1

And on the middle string set we get this set of C major arpeggios

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 2

And finally on the top set you get F major in diatonic chords:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 3

The way I play this is strictly alternate picking which (to me) has a Steve Morse idea to it since it is alternate picking with one note per string. It is for this alone a very good technical exercise  to go through the 3 previous examples. And if you need some other exercise to get better at playing them then go check out some of Steve Morse etudes and examples, they are also anyway worthwhile.

Since I use one arpeggio in inversion in the examples I’ll just show how you can take a voicing and play through the inversions. The voicing I use in the examples is a D7alt voicing. As you can read about in this lesson: Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 3 We can use a Cm7b5 to make a D7(b9,b13) voicing and from that we can make a D7(#9,b13) voicing which has the inversions that are shown here below:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 4

It may be useful to realize that sometimes a voicing may be really difficult to play as a chord, but quite trivial as an arpeggio (and the other way around can be the case too of course).

Lines using Drop2 voicings

As I mention in the video, the fact that you play the notes one by one makes it possible to use lower versions that I normally would when playing chords. The first example is demonstrating that quite well, starting with an Am7 Drop2 voicing as arpeggio from the 6th string. After that the line continues down the scale and on the D7 up an Ab7 Drop2 voicing from which it descends and resolves to the 5th(D) of G maj7

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 5

In the second example I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, so I start off with a Cmaj7 voicing from the 6th string. This is something I’ve noticed I do alot when listening to recordings of myself. From there the line continues up via an Am pentatonic run and from there it makes a sort of pivot arpeggiation of a D7 alt voicing, which is the one I talked about in example 4 above. The line continues with an Fm pentatonic fragment and resolves to the 7th(F#) of Gmaj7.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 6

The final example is not using a drop2 voicing on the Am7 chord, but a more standard Cmaj7 arpeggio followed by a pentatonic scale fragment. On the D7alt I am using an EbmMaj7 voicing and from the top note of that the line descends down the scale to the 4rd(B) of Gmaj7. The EbmMaj7 voicing could be interpreted as one of the approaches from this lesson:  The Altered Scale: Three Approaches.

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios - Ex 7

I hope you can use the exercises and examples I went over here to make your own lines with drop2 voicings. As I mention in the video it is a device that I use a lot when I want to make lines with a big range, which the lend themselves very well too since they have a 10th range.

Since I didn’t make any examples with inversions I could do that in a later lesson? Let me know if you are interested in that.

If you want to download a PDF of the examples I went over here you can do so here:

Drop2 voicings as Arpeggios

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.

Rhythm Changes – Part 1

In this series I am going to start working on some approaches for improvising over Rhythm Changes. In this first lesson we are going to keep it very basic and lay a foundation that can be expanded in later lessons and also help you deal with this many chords in a high tempo.

Rhythm Changes

The rhythm changes progression is infact the chords of the Gerschwin standard “I got rhythm”. SInce the late swing era it has been used as a chord progression that a lot of new melodies have been written on. It has almost the same status as the 12 bar blues as a form and language that one has to master as a Jazz Player.

Rhythm changes is a 32 bar AABA form where each part is 8 bars. The bridge is a chain of dominants leading back to the tonic, and the A part is a series of turnarounds and a short visit to the 4th degree. In this lesson I am only going to work on the A part, and especially show how to deal with the many chords while soloing and still be able to make some music.

You probably know the A part as this progression.

Rhythm Changes - part 1 - ex 1

The Trick

The key to negotiating this many chords in a high tempo is to simplify the progression so that only the essential chord movements remain. In this case that means that I VI becomes just I and II V becomes just V. If you think this you are still playing the basic harmonic movement of the song and you have a bit more space to breathe while doing so.

The reduced progression would look like this.

Rhythm Changes - part 1 - ex 2

As you can see I already added the arpeggios in the example. All arpeggios are in the 6th position which is a good place to start for a Bb rhythm change in terms of having fairly simple arpeggio and scale fingerings.

The idea of simplifying the progression is not new, I have heard this from several teacher one of them being Barry Harris, and if you check out descriptions of Parker you will find examples of him doing exactly that while playing on this type of progression.

To practice the arpeggios and make sure that you really know them in and out, I suggest you try to play them over the progression as I’ve written out in example 2 above here, but also that you work on connecting them in the way I’ve written out in Example 3. The idea is that you startthe 1st arpeggio and when you played a bar of 8th notes you change to the note in the next arpeggio that is the closest to the one you are one now. This way you not only practice the arpeggios, but also how to think ahead and have an overview of how the next arpeggio looks before you play it.

Rhythm Changes - part 1 - ex 3

Adding the rest of the scale

Since the Bbmaj7 and the F7 arpeggios have two common notes (F and A) it is a bit difficult more difficult to improvise clearly through the progression only using the arpeggios, because it is harder to pick a note to play that makes it easy to hear the chord change. In my lesson on soloing over a blues the difference between the chords is bigger and this is a lot easier.

That said it is still worth while to do this and work on it since it is going to develop you ability to make clear melodies in situations like that with diatonic harmony, and most tunes are tonal so this applies to most songs. I give an example of a solo only using arpeggios in the video.

To make this a bit simpler I chose to here alos add the rest of the scale, so that we have seven notes to use instead of just the four notes of the arpeggios.

Since this lesson is on rhythm changes which is a bit more complex progression than a 12 bar blues I assume that you already know the scales and the basic arpeggios, otherwise you can check out and download charts here: Arpeggios and Scale charts

One way to practice the scales on the progression is to play them from root to seventh for each chord, that fits nicely in the bar and makes it easy to turn our simplified progression into a scale exercise. This is by the way an approach that I learned from American Jazz Pianist Barry Harris, you should check him out! His workshops are very good and he is the real deal when it comes to bebop!

Rhythm Changes - part 1 - ex 4

So now that we have some scales and arpeggios to use on our progression we can start looking at some of the lines you can make with that.

A Rhythm changes solo

In the video I play the solo that is written out in example 5. This is an improvistaion on the first 2 A’s in a rhythm changes form. As I explain in the video I had first written an example, but later decided that it would be better and more realistic if I improvised one and transcribed it, which is what I then did, and what you see under this.

Rhythm Changes - part 1 - ex 5

The lines are for the most part using the arpeggios and a few times also using some of the scale notes as diatonic passing notes. For the first 2 bar phrase I am using the motif of a third, on the Bb, the major 3rd and the root and on developing this on the F7 using first the 5th and 3rd and then later the root. The line then continues to use the root and 7th to create some tension that is resolved to the 3rd(D) of Bb on the 4 and.

The same idea of introducing a motif on the Bb and resolving it on the F7 is used in the next two bars, again using Bb and D over the Bb chord and then using the root and 3rd on the F7. The character of the melodies that I make has more of an emphasis on rhythm, which is natural since we don’t have too many extensions or alterations to use.

In bar 5 and 6 the introduction of the Ab on the Bb7 makes it easy to hear that chord, and just making lines with the arpeggio of this chord in this context gives it a nice bluesy flavour. The line on the Ebmaj7 is simply the arpeggio played descending from the root to the 3rd.

The last two bars for the first A are first a Bbmaj7 arpeggio played as a triplet, and on the F7 the line is more C minor like, since we use a G and D along with the C and Eb.

The second A has a melody for the first two bars which is almost a sort of cascading arpeggio idea. First on the Bb from the 5th to the root via the 7th and then on the F from the 5th to the root before it resolves to the low 3rd on the Bb on the 4 and.

I leave out the any further melodies on the Bb and have a syncopated melody on the F7 which also uses a D as a diatonic passing note. The melodic idea here is to se syncopation to develop tension before this is resolved on the Bb7.

THe Bb7 line is a straight arpeggio idea that emphasizes the 3rd(D) and the 7th(Ab), which signals that we are moving to the 4th degree.

The line on the Ebmaj7 is much more scale based and consists of two encircling movements, of first the F and then on the D, delaying the resolution to the D so that it is used to mark the transition to the Bb.

The final line is a riff like melodic idea just thinking Bb, In a real improvisation on a complete chorus I might add more here to lead into the Bridge, but since I don’t have a bridge in this example I mad a sort of ending phrase. If you check out especially Parker themes on rhythm changes they often have a phrase like this at the end of the 2nd and 3rd A part.

I hope that you can use the ideas and exercises from this lesson to get better at playing rhythm changes solos and feel less stressed out by the tempo.

You can of course also download a PDF of the examples and the solo here:

Rhythm Changes – part 1

You can also check out the rhythm changes lesson I made what includes 2 full choruses, 1 using this approach and one chorus using more chords. It’s available here: http://jenslarsen.nl/product/rhythm-changes-solo-etude-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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Endless new ways to play the same II V I voicings

I made this lesson to bring an aspect of playing chords to your attention that there is a big chance you don’t think too much about, and which can give you a huge number of new ways to play progressions with the voicings you already know.

The progression and the voicings

What I will try to demonstrate here is how many different ways you can play the same set of voicings by arpegiating the voicings and not just playing them all together as a block.

In the lesson I will use this II V I and only these voicings:

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 1

As you might notice they are all Drop2 voicings. A subject I’ve already covered in previous lessons. You can check out the series here:  Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings – Part 1

If you are used to drop2 voicings you will probably agree that my choice is fairly straight forward.

Arpeggiate you voicings!

So usually we are trying to create melodies and use certain types of voicings to extend the range of sounds we have available while comping, but as I mentioned we can do really a lot by just arpegiating the voicings we already use.

 

Here are 5 examples to illustrate how easily you can vary the sound of one set of voicings.

The first example is quite simple, for each chord I play the voicing spread in two string sets so that you emphasize the sound of two of the contained intervals. On the Fm7 and Ebmaj7 chord that gives us a diatonic 7th and a diatonic 6th. On the Bb7 there are two 7th intervals.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 2

Another way to split the voicing is to have an inner and an outer interval set, which with the drop2 voicings gives us an inner 3rd and an outer 10th or 11th.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 3

So after a few systematical approaches we can also try to make more of a melodic statement by freeing up how each voicing is arpeggiated. In example four I am using the outer voices on the Fm7 and making a short melody with the inner 3rd. On the Bb7alt the chord is arpeggiated in a spread out pattern that almost suspends the sound of it. On the Ebmaj7 voicing I am splitting in strings sets in the same way as in Variation 1

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 4

The Fm7 line in variation 4 is first introducing the whole chord and then a melody with the inner voices. On the Bb7 the first part is the 2nd and 4th voice followed by an arpeggiation of the Dmaj7 shell voicing that is the top of the Bb7alt chord. The Ebmaj7 is played by first the lower 3 strings and then as an added melody later the top note.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 5

The final example is using a more traditional way of arpeggiating a chord on the guitar, followed by 2 string sets, which is another way to draw out more sounds within the voicing. Something that is often used in Brazilian guitar music. On the Bb7 the entire chord is first played before a string skipping arpeggio pattern is played. The line resolves to Ebmaj7 with a pattern that is first the Bb melody note and then the rest of the chord.

5 ways to play the same II V I chord voicings ex 6

As you can see there are a lot of possiblities to play even a simple three chord progression. If you are used to arpeggiating chords in different ways then you probably do not need to work on anything in a systematical way, but you can better just try to apply it while playing with others or when practicing a tune.

As always you can download the examples I used as a pdf here:

Endless ways to play the same II V I voicings

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. 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.

 

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios

I thought it was time to look at one of the basic core skills that you need to play jazz: Improvising over a II V I cadence using the notes of the chord. In this lesson, I will take a II V I give you some arpeggios and an approach to make melodies over the progression so that you clearly follow the chords. I also wrote a few examples of the licks using the arps to give you some ideas.

https://youtu.be/PyHXN3Vxhz4

When you play over progressions like a II V I, it is mostly expected that the solo you play is related to the chords that are under it. In other words, you need to hit the notes of the chord on the strong beats of the bar. A good way to measure that is to get used to hearing a solo with no background and if the solo is clear you can still hear the change of chord.

The easiest way to play something that sounds like the chord is of course to play the notes of the chord, so when you play on a Dm7 you use a Dm7 arpeggio etc.

The II V I and the arpeggios

A II V I is named from the degrees of a scale, so in the key of C major, the I is Cmaj7, the II is Dm7 and the V is G7. You can write out the scale and check my math 🙂

So in the key of C a II V I would be this chords:

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 1

If we play a C major scale in this region that might be:

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 2

If we play the arpeggios for each of the chords in this position we get this:

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 3

How to practice

The next thing that I suggest you do is to practice making lines that move towards a target note on the 1 of the next bar. The reason for this is that if you make lines that are moving towards something they sound much more logical and if you choose your target notes so that you clearly can hear the chord change you are practicing making melodies that are clear in the harmony and that are moving naturally from one chord to the next.

To start with you could try taking the 3rd of each chord as a target note:

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 4

When you practice you should probably spend time working out of time to focus on the melodic movement and to have an overview of the notes and partly in a medium tempo where you can still play the things you figured out without tempo. In the beginning this is probably a bit difficult, but once you get the hang of it you will develop a more natural flow to your lines.

II V I lines with arpeggios

So here are three examples I made with the 3rd of each chord as target note on the G7 and the Cmaj7.

In the first example I start with a sequence on the Dm7 arp before using the 7th and the 5th to encircle the 3rd of G. On the G7 it’s first a G triad and then an descend down the arp to finally resolve to the 3rd(E) of C. On the C it makes a similar line as the first part of the G7 going up a triad inversion and ending on the 7th(B)

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 5

The 2nd example is using what is essentially a shell voicing as arpeggio before it descends down the arpeggio to resolve to the 3rd of G7. The line on the G7 is first an ascending G7 arpegio and then back down to encircle the 3rd of C where it resolves. The line on the Cmaj7 is a Cmaj7 descending from E to G.

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 6

The last example starts of with a pattern on a 2nd inversion Dm triad before it descends down a Dm7 arpeggio encircling the 3rd of G7. The G7 arpeggio. On the G7 the line is basically a G7 descending arpeggio, first thorugh the G major triad and then the arpeggio from 3rd to 5th. On the Cmaj7 line is a skipping verison of a Cmaj7 arpeggio that you could see as a Drop2 voicing.

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios - ex 7

My examples are kept very simple, but this subject is something that you find a lot of very experienced playes return to when they are working on songs or just revisit to strengthen their basics.

To show how you might approach this a bit more freely I made this video using the backing track:

As always you can download the examples as a PDF here:

How to start soloing over a II V I with arpeggios

You can also check out my WebStore lesson on how to improvise over an F Blues:

If you want to practice you can download a backing track from Quist if you sign up to his newsletter here: II V I backing track  You should anyway check out his stuff!

I hope that you liked the lesson. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them here or on the video. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and feel free to connect with me via Facebook, Google+ or Twitter to keep up to date with new lessons, concerts and releases.