Learning the rules of a jazz language like Bebop can be a really useful way to study and internalize that sound. In this video, I am going to use some Jazz Licks to cover some of the techniques and how you use them on a Maj7 chord. The 5 examples will show you how you can use Chromaticism, Arpeggios, trills and octave displacement on a maj7th chord.
Jazz Lick #1 – Cowboy Bebop?
When playing bebop we often think about long rows of 8th notes. But it is important to break up that flow to keep it interesting. This example starts with an 8th note triplet which is a chromatic run. This is already adding a different feel fromt the beginning.
From there it continues with a C major triad. The Triad is a great arpeggio to use on a Cmaj7 chord. Charlie Parker plays major triads all the time. From the triad the melody skips up to the 6th(A) and via a chromatic passing note ends on the 3rd(E). Notice how the line is ending on the 2&. This keeps the energy higher than ending on a beat or even a strong beat.
Jazz Lick #2 – Bensons favorite Maj7 lick
This example is a favourite of both George Benson and Charlie Parker.
From the G the line concludes with an approach to the 3rd and skipping up to the 6th.
Jazz Lick #3 – Barry’s Recipe
A very useful way to both construct your own lines and understand lines that you have transcribed is to see them as scale melodies with added detours. Barry Harris often constructs lines in his workshops in this way.
This line is essentially a scale melody in bar 1, but with an added chromatic approach between the C and the B.
The 2nd bar is using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord, Em7, and adds an exciting skip from C to G, ending on 4&.
Jazz Lick #4 – Octave Displacement on a Maj7
Octave displacement is another way to break up the direction of a melody. The idea is to have a melody is moving in one direction and then move a part of the melody an octave up or down.
In this example I am using Octave Displacement to change a Cmaj7 arpeggio and in doing so create a more surprising melody in the first half of bar 1. This is also know as the Honeysuckle Rose lick, since it is in that melody.
The line continues with a descending 1st inversion Am7 arpeggio followed by a trill. Trills are another way to add embellishments to a line that breaks up the flow of 8th notes in a nice way.
In this case the trill is a part of a skip down to the lower G and from here the line concludes with an Em pentatonic melody.
Jazz Lick #5 – Putting it all together!
The final lick is making use of most of the devices discussed in the first 4 examples! Try to have a look and see if you can spot what is used where.
More Bebop lines and Bebop Embellishments?
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