Improvisation & Licks
Improvisation is what jazz is all about. Use these lessons to learn how to improvise.
Master improvisors of the bebop style use four basic elements to create their solos: chord tones, arpeggios, scale passages and approach patterns. Watch how Hank Mobely's solo over his Rhythm Changes contrafact Tenor Conclave from his 1956 album of the same name is deconstructed into these four components and learn how he uses these elements to create a masterful bebop solo.
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The Improv Drill series of lessons (there are four in this category) is a critcal group of lessons that will get you deep into the changes of any tune by teaching you how to isolate and drill the four components of melodic construction: chord tones on strong beats, arpeggios, scale passages and approach patterns. Once you gain the skill of manipulating these components in real time, you "own" the chords and are well on your way to being able to fluently improvise a melody over any progression.
Hank Mobley’s solo over the standard tune “If I Should Lose You,” is analyzed in this lesson for his use of the four components of melodic construction and several of his licks are isolated and transposed in the practice sessions for you to use in your own solos and as jumping-off points for your own ideas and licks.
Improvising Over . . .
The "Improvising Over . . ." series of lessons provides insight into how to improvise over the chord changes to important tunes in the jazz repertoire. Based on a transcription of a master musician improvising over the changes to a standard jazz tune, each lesson describes how the soloist uses chord tones, arpeggios, chordscale passages, approach patterns and other improvisational techniques to develop their solo. The onscreen practice sessions will take you from the lesson to the piano and help you get started improvising over these tunes.
There is a lot of uncertainty that surrounds diminished chords. How do they work exactly? What chordscales do they take? How do you improvise over them? Gain some insight into these questions through an examination of Red Garland's solo over the changes to the standard tune "It Could Happen to You" from the recording "Relaxin' with the Miles Davis Quintet" from 1956. This lesson will show you a couple of his strategies for negotiating passing diminished chords and how you can adopt them to your own solos so you can finally dispel the mystery of these chords once and for all.
Motivic development is the compositional technique of creating a melody that is made up of a single melodic idea (a motive) that is subsequently "developed" by being repeated, altered, modified or transformed melodically and/or rhythmically. As a technique of improvisation, it can help you create strong, logical, coherent and interesting solos. Learn how to use this technique in your own improvisations by watching a motivic analysis of Keith Jarrett's solo over the Jaki Byard tune "Chandra" from his 1994 recording "At the Deer Head Inn."