Basic Blues Improvisation

This is part one in a series of lessons that I use to introduce students to developing a jazz vocabulary. The progression is a standard I IV V blues progression in the key of Bb. Yeah, I know you have to pause and read. I also use these videos for my private students, having text helps to ensure me that they actually take the time to go through it and think about the subject matter. The best way to go with this one is to just sit and listen the first time. After that rewind and pause as often as needed to read the text. Take your time and make sure you understand what’s going on. This brief lesson deals with guidetones, Major and Minor Pentatonic scales, the Dorian mode and understanding the difference between active and release measures. As you work on the concepts presented in this short video try to use the “hotter” sounding minor pentatonic scales on the active (even numbered 2,4,6, etc… ) measures. Use the more restful sounding major pentatonics on the release measures (1,2,3, etc….) And yes it will sound very mechanical until the techniques are under your fingers and you are confident with them. This method will help you get used resolving the 7th of one chord to the third of the next when the bass note cycles. ( When Bb7 cycles , moves up a perfect 4th or down a perfect 5th, to Eb7 the 7th of the Bb7 chord ,Ab, resolves down a half step to the ,G, of the Eb7 chord.) The same occurs when the F7 cycles to the Bb7 chord (The note Eb resolving down to D). It’s vital that this concept is put into practice. It helps to develop your ear and also allows you to understand and utilize more advanced concepts and practices when improvising. Future parts of this series will deal with back-cycling, modal interchange and expanding the concept of active and passive measures and also beats. the progression used in this example is….. [|: Bb7 / / / | / / / / | / / / / | / / / / | | Eb7 / / / | / / / / | Bb7 / / / | / / / / | | F7 / / / | Eb7 / / / | Bb7 / / / | / / F7 / :|]