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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Improvising over a 12-bar blues with jazz changes

Sorry for my long absence between postings. I've been busy, which in this business is a good thing.
I've had a few nice recording sessions and some nice gigs with a variety of people. Played with vocalists Tracey Dey and Vincent Wolfe as well as the Bob Cary Big Band just to name a few.

I've transcribed 12 bars of a blues solo that I played and will discuss a few points about it. The music and video are below.

One approach that works very well is to use the #4 or b5 over a 7th chord. If you use it on an offbeat it helps add spice and chromaticism to your lines. If you notice in bar 1 I use the E natural which is the #4 or b5 of Bb. I place it on the and of 1 which creates a nice spring board for the rest of the line. I also use the b7th of Bb to the b7th of Eb going into the second bar which helps establish the new chord.
*note the E played on beat 4 of the first bar should be an Eb.....sorry about the copy error.
Another approach that works well over minor 7th chords is to use the maj 7th on an offbeat again adding spice and chromaticism. That's part of the minor bebop scale anyway but we'll talk about that a bit later.

Play through the 12 bars at a slow tempo and then when you feel comfortable try playing along with the video. Always use a metronome!!!

*click on sheet music once to enlarge.