Blog Archives

Deciphering Jazz Chord Symbols

Jazz relies on a shorthand system of chord notation, which is not universal, not standard, and not terribly logical or consistent, at least at first sight. This article is intended as a brief general guide for people who are new to this

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping

Drop 2 More

I wrote about Drop 2 last year here and I’ve had some feedback (a few people really loved the picture of the Golden Retriever with four tennis balls in her mouth – so here she is for a well-deserved encore).

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping

Diminished Responsibility

Jazz musicians don’t use the harmonic minor scale, right? Wrong. Of course, everyone would admit there are occasions where the harmonic minor is specifically called for, to evoke a sort of “Eastern promise” sound (a lot of people use it

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping

Turnarounds

Most lead sheets for standards don’t bother including the turnaround at the end of each section – it’s just assumed that you’ll know what to play. In case you don’t know, this article will run through the most common first

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Posted in b) Harmony & Comping

Coltrane’s Substitution Tunes

On two groundbreaking albums, Blue Train (1957) and Giant Steps (1960), John Coltrane presented a group of original tunes that stretched to breaking point the possibilities of functional harmony. Shortly after these albums he began increasingly to turn his back

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Posted in b) Harmony & Comping

Using Upper Structures in Solos

The key to using “upper structures” is to observe that simple major and minor triads exist in the upper reaches of altered dominant chords. These structures are often used by pianists and guitarists in chord voicings, but they are also

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping

Practising Soloing Backwards

I’ve noticed that an awful lot of people learning jazz have a specific weakness when soloing – their lines don’t really seem to go anywhere, the phrases never really conclude. They’re usually aware of this problem but don’t seem able

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes
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Next Gig

We play every month at Toulouse Lautrec in Kennington, South London.

Fri Oct 27th 9pm, £15 (£9 adv)
JLT feat the Fishwick brothers tpt & dms 

For London-wide jazz listings see