Author Archives | Hey Jazz Guy

Suspended and Spread Voicings

Hey Jazz Guy, I’m tired of the same old 7th chord voicings, can you show me something different and new? –Tired in Toronto Dear Tired, One of the best signs you are improving is when you become frustrated with what you know and start looking for something else. Two voicing concepts that have a modern […]

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Damage Control

Hey Jazz Guy, I’ve been experiencing pain when I play and don’t know what to do. How can I handle this without having to stop playing? –Hurting in Houston Dear Hurting, First of all I commend you for seeking help on what can be a very sensitive subject. Let me start by saying that I […]

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Coltrane

Hey Jazz Guy, I’m mystified by ‘Giant Steps’ and ‘Coltrane changes’, can you explain how that harmony works? –Confused in Cambridge Dear Confused, John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ was a landmark moment in jazz, a beautiful tune that has proved fascinating ever since. We will break it down to examine this brilliant piece of music. This […]

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Transcribing

Hey Jazz Guy, Who’s solos should I be transcribing to learn how to play through changes? -Searching in Somerville Dear Searching, Transcribing solos of great jazz musicians is a surefire way to improving your understanding of the genre. However, to really execute certain concepts, it can be very helpful write out your own solos. This […]

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Articulation

Hey Jazz Guy, I’m playing all the right notes, but something is still missing. How can I make my phrasing sound more jazzy? –No Swing in Norway Dear No Swing, Perhaps the most elusive and mysterious concept in jazz, is swing feel and articulation. The concept has changed over time and many great players are […]

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Pop Reharms

Hey Jazz Guy, How can I turn my cool rock chords into some sweet jazz changes? –Rockstar in Reno Dear Rockstar, Reharmonization is one of the hippest ways to alter a chord progression. Let’s take some basic chords and follow their transition from pop-rock to uber-jazz. We will start with a progression [Ex 1], using […]

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Hey Jazz Guy’s Top Ten

Hey Jazz Guy, I know that learning jazz takes years of study, but is there anything I can do to improve quickly? –Eager in Elmhurst Dear Eager, We all share your desire to speed up the improvement process! Although musical study is a life-long sport, these are a few of my favorite things you can […]

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Minor Mysteries

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel totally lost with minor chords, there are so many different types. What on earth do I play? –Lost in Long Island Dear Lost, You are not alone. Minor harmony is a difficult topic precisely because there are so many variations. We will look at four types of commonly used minor […]

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Contrasting Elements

Hey Jazz Guy, I feel like all my solos sound the same. Any advice on how I can diversify? –Uniform in Unity Village Dear Uniform, What a great question. This is more than just a jazz topic. No matter what style of music you are playing, this concept will give you a great palate from […]

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Open Ended Questions

Open Ended Questions for The Advancing Musician What kind of music is your favorite to listen to? What kind of music is your favorite to perform? How will what you are practicing now be different than what you practice next year? What are your musical goals? (Playing, writing, recording etc) What are your non-musical goals? […]

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