The Blues – Part 2 – Soloing

Hey Jazz Guy..

How can I make my blues soloing more jazzy, to fit the jazz-blues chord changes?Blue and Bored in Birmingham

Dear Blue and Bored,

The best way to become accustom to the shift in language is through listening. Particularly by listening to older jazz (bebop and hard-bop) you will get a good feel for the harmonic vocabulary and rhythms. Ex. 1 Comes right from the bop book and includes several stylistic devices that are important. First of all, the main rhythm is eighth notes. There are several places where triplets are used, especially on ascending and descending arpeggios (m 4, 12). Secondly, chord tensions such as the b9 (m 4, 8, 10) and approach notes to chord tones (m 1, 2, 6, 12) are an important part of the jazz harmonic system. Notice also that the majority of the notes are either chord tones or approaches to chord tones. These approaches can be diatonic or chromatic (m 8). Lastly, the fingering listed in Ex. 1 is important because of the articulation required to make the phrases sound correct. To practice, play through the example slowly to hear the harmony. Listen to guitarists that are coming from the blues, such as Grant Green and Kenny Burrell and you’ll be on your way to a much jazzier blues experience.

The Blues In-Depth

Now that you’ve read the article and tried it out, here are a few things to keep in mind related to shedding this hard:

— The articulation is extremely important. Make sure you follow the fingering correctly, and then when you move on to other practice examples, apply the same fingering techniques. One thing to note, is the older the player the less the 4th finger will be used. So if you’re playing bebop phrases, you really wont use the 4th finger much. Remember to think diagonally, across the guitar, and that will help you acheive the horn-player articulation.

Listening to as much of this kind of playing is what will make you great. Find as many variations on the jazz blues as you can, both chord changes and soloing and practice them. Transcribing is great, but try to write your own examples because that will really confirm your knowledge of the style.

— Modern players approach the blues quite differently, so I recommend you start with the older cats, and work your way up, so you can understand where all the music is coming from.

Shed hard, and send in your questions!!

jazz guy

Link to PDF Example: HJG – Jazz Blues Soloing

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Categories: Harmony, Specifically Soloing

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