Tag Archives: Joe Pass

Joe Pass – How to Make Bebop Melodic

Joe Pass is in many ways the definition of solid hard bop and a great place to go if You want to learn to play some melodic lines over chord changes. In this Joe Pass Lesson I am going to break down 4 lines from his solo on There is No Greater Love off the Joy Spring album.

They are really great examples of how to improvise over chord changes and sound like jazz. And You can also learn how there is more to it than just hitting the right notes or playing the right arpeggio. The examples in this video are great for learning some melodic hard bop lines and understanding some of the things you can do to make your bebop solos more melodic. And of course they also demonstrate some of his style and techniques.

A great Joe Pass Lesson book

There is a reason that I keep recommending his Joe Pass Guitar Style book to all my students.
If you want to check out the book you can do so here: http://amzn.to/2l2WzuU (This is an affiliate link so you support the channel by using it to purchase the book)

Check out some of my previous lessons on Joe Pass

Another lesson disccusing the great lines of Joe Pass in a rhythm changes solo. This solo is a duo with Danish Bass Player NHØP playing Oleo. Joe Pass Rhythm Changes lines: Here

Joe Pass is also known for his incredible Chord solos and solo guitar work. This lesson discusses how he interprets a theme and adds fills: Joe Pass Chord Solo Technique: Here

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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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Favorite Jazz Guitar Album Recommendations From YouTube

One of the most important ways to stay inspired and motivated to keep on playing and practicing is to check out new Jazz Guitar Albums or Jazz Albums. The main way that I get introduced to new music is from recommendations so I thought it would be a fantastic idea to ask a lot of Jazz YouTubers what their favourite Jazz Guitar Album is and get some great recommendations.

Since I expect that you guys are probably also interested in some good music, so I made this video!

You should check out these channels if you like my videos. These are the people I check out on YouTube when it comes to music and Jazz Guitar!

I would like to thank Brent, Bob, Rick, Nick, Chris, Jacob, Ben, Levi and Sean for being a part of this video. I am really grateful for their help and recommendations!

Let us know what your favourite Jazz Guitar Album is!!

Brent Vaartstra – Learn Jazz Standards – https://www.youtube.com/user/Learnjazzstandards
Bob Reynolds – https://www.youtube.com/user/bobreynolds
Rick Beato – https://www.youtube.com/user/pegzch
Nick Homes – Jazz Duets – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqimxUbWsE26KSpx2_OcmmA
Chris Zoupa – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5A0eJ-bgtJddy0rG_prVog
Quist – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEXDaXzYhqYdLCQ3Ce7U2Og
Uncle Ben – https://www.youtube.com/user/BenEllerGuitars
Levi Clay – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCySQog_SBfX4-CnR2hWVBOQ
Sean Daniel – https://www.youtube.com/user/seandaniel23
Jens Larsen – https://www.youtube.com/jenslarsen

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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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Joe Pass on Rhythm Changes – 3 Solid Bebop Strategies

I guess there are two things you need to study if you want to learn Jazz Guitar: Rhythm Changes & Joe Pass! So it makes sense to check out a Rhythm Changes Joe Pass Solo! To most people, and certainly if you ask Mike Stern and John Scofield, Joe Pass is where they went to learn Jazz Guitar.

His technique and swinging bebop phrasing is a bible of information for learning to play jazz, both in terms of the notes and melodies but also in terms of phrasing and swing feel. In a similar way Rhythm Changes is where you really start learning many of the things you need to know in order to play Jazz: Improvising over chord changes, playing 8th note lines, turnarounds. In this video

I am taking a look at a few phrases from Joe Pass’ solo on Oleo off the Duo album “Chops” where he plays with Danish bass-player: Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen.

Hope you like it!

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This is How Joe Pass Plays Amazing Solos

Joe Pass is a giant of Jazz Guitar! In this Joe Pass Lesson I will go over how he turns Li’l Darlin into a chord solo masterpiece. Especially with a focus on how makes fills with chords and voicings and how he harmonizes the melody.

The Joe Pass Lesson on Chord Solo analysis

This video analyzes the first part of the Li’l Darlin theme and breaks down the way the melody is harmonized with block chords and how Joe Pass embellishes the other parts of the song with fills and passing chords. It is a great example of a master guitarist at work on a medium swing tune.

For me Joe Pass was the most important influence when it came to chord solos. Both learning from his chord solo book and playing transcriptions of his solos was essential in getting the vocabulary and the skill to make melodies with chord voicings.

If you want to check out the Joe Pass Chord Solo Book I studied you can do so via this (affiliate) link: http://amzn.to/2kk2zei

You can of course also check out my article on the top 5 books I have worked from while studying Jazz: https://jenslarsen.nl/top-5-jazz-books-learned-lot/

Or the list of albums that has this album included: https://jenslarsen.nl/top-5-classic-jazz-guitar-albums/

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Jazz Swing Feel – How To Get It Right (And You Want To)

How to Swing and how to work on your swing feel. Swing feel is the elusive part of Jazz Phrasing that we can’t really describe and tell you how to work on. Most of the time it is hard to understand and work on. In this video I am going over how to hear, practice and understand different types of swing feel and use this to improve your playing.

Examples of Jazz Swing Feel in recordings

In the video I am referencing some recordings by Jazz Guitarists that you can check out as examples of different types of swing feel: 

Joe Pass Stompin at the Savoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AglV3X5EjQ

Pat Martino https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kEdoHGmDwU

Wes Montgomery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmUUi6wGwRA

Content:

0:00 Intro

1:07 What is Swing-Feel?

1:20 Sub-division, notation and different interpretation

1:55 We can’t really write it down and there is no one perfect solution

2:23 Train you ears, Hearing rhythms

2:51 3 Examples of different swing feel

3:06 Joe Pass – Slow Medium

3:37 Pat Martino – Medium Up

3:56 Wes Montgomery – Medium

4:20 Check out the complete tracks for a better impression of the feel

4:32 Ways to work on Swing-Feel

4:40 Imitate solos and really nail the phrasing

5:08 Experiment with what you can play

6:03 Who is your favoirite when it comes to swing feel?

6:31 Like the video? Check out my Patreon Page!

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Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

Chord solos have been a part of the Jazz Guitar skill set since the 50’s  and 60’s when players like Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery used it in their music. A Chord solo is a harmonized melody line, so you don’t only improvise a melody, you also harmonize it by adding chords to it.

This might seem a little scary to start working on, but if what you want to work on is harmonising melodies. One of the simplest melodies you can harmonize is a scale, so in this lesson I will take an F major scale and show you how you can harmonize it with both some chords and some progressions.

This material I will also put to use in some chord solo licks that I have written over a turnaround in F.

The Scale

The scale that I am using for the exercises is this segment from the F major scale. It is on the top two strings because then it is easier to put a chord under it. In the exercises I might choose to move notes between the strings depending on the chords and voicings.

Right hand technique

For me it is easier to play the chords with enough control if I use my fingers on my right hand. You can of course do this with a pick or with your thumb. Just make sure that the melody is clear when you play. It is quite common for students to focus only on the chord and forget that it is actually a melody with some chords under it.

The first exercises – Harmonizing the scale with one chord

To start with we can take the F major scale and harmonize it with an Fmaj7 chord. That is shown here below in example 1

Notice that I often use the same chord for several melody notes. This is purely to make it practical and easy to play. Another point of interest is the Bb. This note does not sound good over an Fmaj7, so I harmonize it with a Gm7. You can do several things in terms of choosing chords or even just changing the Bb to a B and play a Fmaj7(#11). What you end up doing is a question of the context and your taste.

In example 2 I harmonize the same scale with a Gm7 chord.

Here again I am using the same “chord” over several notes. The difficult  note is in this case an E. I opted for a Gm13 voicing, but you could also use a C major triad or Am7 passing chord.

You probably want to work out your own versions of these exercises for a few of the chords in F major, so I, II, IV, V, VI and maybe also try it on some harmonic minor or altered scales for some of the common dominants like C7 and D7.

Harmonizing the scale with a progression

Once you can get through the scales with one chord at a time then you can start using a progression so that the chords change along the melody. This is getting you a step further in being able to play chord solos.

In example 3 I have used a II V I VI(7) to harmonise the scale: 

So here we get a bit in trouble with the Bb on an Fmaj7 again, but here I solve it by making it a B. In that way I am able to keep the Fmaj7 there, since it would be problematic to just sub the chord for another chord.

Example 4 is harmonizing the scale with a I VI(7) II V:

This get’s us into trouble already in the first bar. The F and D7 chords are fine, but we end up with a Gm13 and a C7sus4 because there we have the E and the F as melody notes. For the rest it is quite easy to go up the scale. In the last bar we have an E over the D7. While this is possible a D7 in this context would really ask for an Eb. I could have changed the note but opted for a Dm7(9) chord. Another option would have been to use an Abdim chord.

Chord solo licks!

To demonstrate how I come up with chord solos I have written three examples of chord solo licks. They are all on a medium I VI II V in F major because that is a common progression especially in the types of pieces where you might play a chord solo.

If you want to check out some more examples you can also check out this Chord Solo on a Blues In F

Scale runs and chord economy

In this first example I am starting with a scale run over the Fmaj7. This is moving from the A down to E harmonized with two different chords. THe D7 is using the same C,F# tritone with first an Eb and then an F in the melody.

On the Gm7 I am using an ascending scale run from D to A. On the D and F I am using a Bb triad. The E is harmonized with a C major triad which is also easy to play. The last chord is a C7 altered. and is really just using the same voicing but first leaving out the top string.

Motif chord solos

The next example is using a simple motif and then first playing it on the I VI progression. Then it is repeated on the II V. The motief is a really simple repeating melody. The first part is harmonized with an Am7 voicing where I can change the top note. The dominant is taken care of with drop2 dim chords. On the Gm7 I can repeat the exact same idea as on the Fmaj7 but then 2 frets lower. The melody is varied on the C7 where I use a chromatic Db7 passing chord before I resolve to Fmaj7 

It is important to take care to make strong melodies when playing chord solos which I hope to illustrate with this example.

A great trick for harmonizing larger interval skips

In the last example I start out with a a  scale run on the Fmaj7 up to the #9 on D7. From there I it moves down to the Eb and then skips up to an Bb over the D7. This is achieved by using the same voicing but just adding the Bb on a higher string. This is a great smooth way to deal with the skib from Eb to Bb.

On the Gm7 I am using a simple melody consisiting of A and G which is harmonized with the same chord. The C7alt is a repeating note and chord which then resolves to Fmaj7. 

Conclusion: Make your own exercises!

So what you have to remember with this material is that you will learn the most if you make your own exercises that use the voicings you are comfortable with and you know the sound of. This will also help you figure out how to go through the scales and solve the problems that give, which is also very helpful!

Chord Solo transcription and Lesson!

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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Best exercise for jazz guitar chord solos!

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Join 600+ Other Jazz Guitarists 🎸Join us in the Facebook Jazz Guitar Group Community: http://bit.ly/InsidersFBGroup

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics then please let me know. Leave a comment on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you are searching for.

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Top 5 Jazz Books that I have learned a lot from!

“What books or methods do you recommend for learning jazz” is one of the questions that I get all the time on my videos and on social media. Everybody is looking for good Jazz Books!

I usually don’t really answer the question because for me books have been one of many ways I have studied and I have never worked through a method from cover to cover. There are many aspects of learning jazz and absorbing the information, and taking it from a book is only one way and not the path you can use for learning a lot of things.

That said there are of course books that I have had a lot of fun with and learned a lot from. In this vlog I will try to talk about some of them and also talk about what I have learned and how I have used them. This way of approaching the usefulness of a book is often overlooked in my opinion.

The Jazz Books

Charlie Parker Omnibook

https://geni.us/F6iNG9u


The Charlie Omnibook is a must for checking out Bebop! You just can’t go wrong with that one!

Kreutzer Etudes

https://geni.us/92fUueT


I have learned a lot from figuring out and practicing these etudes. This book is about making music with your technique but also about using your fretboard knowledge to be able to play them in the first place.

Ted Greene – Modern Chord Progressions

https://geni.us/xoLK


Ted Greene could make music like no one else with chords. His use of different types of chords and always making the harmony flow in a great melodic way is certainly worth a study!

Joe Pass – Guitar Style

https://geni.us/nTYWH

Learning bop language is a tricky business on guitar, but who better to learn it from than Joe Pass?

Mick Goodrick – The Advancing Guitarist

https://geni.us/Ht5H4y

The ideas and methods illustrated in this book are a huge part of my playing. In this book it is a good thing that most of the material covered you have to work out yourself.

The honourable mention:

Joe Pass – Chord solos

https://geni.us/2iBeP

Again Joe Pass is the one we turn to when you have to learn something really difficult. This time it is chord soloing!

Drop 2 voicings – Part 1 – Jazz Chord Essentials

In this lesson on Drop2 chords I want to demonstrate a set of voicings that are fairly easy to play on the guitar and very useful for playing chords with extensions. I also want to talk a bit about how you approach playing chords in terms of interpretation of chord extensions, substitutes, connecting or voice-leading the chords. Hopefully it can help you learn and construct some new chords, and I hope it also helps you find new ways to play songs you already know and expand your ability to play chords freely.

What is a drop2 voicing

You might have heard the term Drop2 voicings before, and it is more or less considered basic voicing knowledge for mainstream jazz guitar. Lot’s of Wes Montgomery solos use drop2 voicings and it is also a huge part of bebop piano and bigband arranging.

To explain why drop2 voicings are very handy on guitar try to play the first half of example 1.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 1

You should quickly notice that these basic inversions of an Am7 chord are very difficult to play and almost impossible to change a note in. Mainly because they are very stretchy to play.

The term Drop2 comes from taking the 2nd higest note in each one and drop it down an octave. This makes it possible to get the notes together in one position and yields the 4 voicings in the 2nd bar of example 1. As you can tell these voicings are much easier to play and much more flexible so that we can change notes in them (that will prove essential in later lessons..)

Basic Exercises

I chose to keep it simple and only work with the top set of strings. In the long run it can be very useful to also check out the middle set of strings and possibly the lowest set. A complete overview of the drop2 voicings can be found here: Scale charts and chord voicings

If you have checked out my lesson:  Jazz Chord Survival Kit  You know that in a major scale we have four basic types of 7th chords: m7, dom7, maj7 and m7b5. Here are the voicings for those 4 types of chords on the top string set:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 2

To get used to the sound of these chords and to get the voicings in to your fingers you should of course practice example 2 in all keys, but it can also be very useful to check out all cadences like I’ve written out in example 3:

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 3

This way of grouping the chords together in the order you are very likely to use them is of course also very handy. And important part of the cadences is also that I chose vocings that have correct voiceleading which in this case means that you just stay in the neighbourhood whenever changing to the next chord. You could consider doing the minor cadences too.

Another very useful exercise is to take the different drop2 inversions through a major scale as I have done in example 4. I only did two of the inversions, maybe try to figure out the last 2 by yourself. It should help getting to know major scales on the strings besides training the voicings themselves.

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 4

Putting it to use

As soon as you have a basic understanding and ability to play these voicings it is just as important to start working towards using them in real music. Below I’ve written out how I play the first 16 bars of Autumn Leaves with drop2 voicings. You should try to do this with a few songs as well. Autumn Leaves, Fly Me To The Moon and All The Things You Are could be good tunes to try because they cover a lot of chords from the same key(and some in more keys as well..)

Jazz Chord Essentials - Drop 2 voicings part 1 - ex 5

You could with this exercise of course try starting with each of the Cm7 voicings and then work out how to play the whole song, it will present you with choices because the guitar (like all instruments) have certain limitations for how low or high you want to go and then you should just try to find a practical and musical solution, that is how it works in a playing situation so that is what you should practice too.

In the next part of the drop2 lessons I’ll start working on how to add extensions and alterations to the voicings. I’ll also give some more practical advice on how to use the voicings.

I hope you can use the exercises to get started working on Drop2 voicings and that you can get it into you playing.

Check out how I use Drop2 voicings in this 3 chorus transcription/lesson:



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Get the PDF!

You can also download the PDF of my examples here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – Drop 2 voicings part 1

Jazz Guitar Insiders Facebook Group

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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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