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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rootless Pentatonic Scale

A nice Fall day here in Toronto. The weather has been very nice so far this Fall but I know Winter will be coming down the pike at some point. I guess there's not much I can do about it.

Recently picked up a great little amp called the Lunchbox Amp made by a company called ZT out of Berkley California. This thing is stunning! It weighs 9lbs and is the size of a lunch box hence the name. It's solid state which was a deterrent at first as I always use tube amps but I though that the portability counted for a lot. I must say that this amp is just great. 200 watts believe it or not and it sounds like a much bigger amp than it is. I thought I would say "this thing is so light and portable and it sounds pretty good" but ended up saying "this thing sounds fantastic and it's so portable". I've used it on a country gig at the Gladstone Hotel's Melody Bar which is a really big room and it filled the room with much to spare. I just placed a SM57 in front of it and ran it through the house PA. I used it on a few jazz gigs and it gets a beautiful warm jazz tone, again with lots of head room if needed and I used it on a blues gig and the overdrive on this thing sounds great. Buy one now!!!!!!!

I been listening to Ed Bickert's Trio on a recording called "Out of the Past" which is certainly does not sound like. Don Thompson on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. This is a great guitar trio record. All three are masters and to hear Bickert's tasteful, expressive, inventive comping and soloing is always a lesson for me. I love Ed Bickert and he is definitely one of my favourite guitar players. Also listened to Patsy Cline. What a great voice and such an important figure in the history of country music. Being a big country music fan there is always some country mixed in to my weekly listening. Must be my Calgary roots.
Also listened to Miles Davis' "Cookin" which was with John Coltrane on tenor sax, Paul Chambers on bass, Red Garland on piano and Philly Joe Jones on drums. Miles just signed with Columbia Records but still owed Prestige 4 records. Before anything could be released on Columbia Miles had to fulfill his contractual obligation to Prestige which he did in typical Miles fashion. He went into the studio and cut four records in just two days. These were Relaxin', "Cookin', Steamin',  and Workin' with the Miles Davis Quintet. These four recordings are probably my favourite jazz recordings ever. They are first or second takes, no rehearsals and just pure improvisation genius. Great tunes as well like "Surrey With the Fringe on Top" from "Oklahoma"plus "My Funny Valentine", Old Devil Moon etc.

Check out the lesson video. I talk about using the rootless major pentatonic scale (at least that's what I call it) over a blues. Works great over a soul/RandB,Ray Charles sort of blues. The scale replaces the root with the b7 resulting in 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and b7.

That's all for now.

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