Blog Archives

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

Finding Your G Spot

No, it’s not that kind of article. But it’ll probably drive up the hit count a bit… So set spam filters to maximum and we’re going in… Go to your instrument and play a single simple G, nothing more. Listen

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Posted in c) Musicianship, i) Reviews

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

Bebop Part I – Perpetual Motion Exercises

Bebop is much more than just one particular style, it is pretty much the “grammar” of modern jazz, and bebop “licks” are not so much cliches as essential elements of speech within the jazz language. Here are some bebop exercises

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes

How to Handle a Sus Chord Part II – Sus Blues

Most learning players approach a blues by combining the following two approaches: Using figures from the blues scales over quite straight old-fashioned blues harmony. Using bebop scales and language over elaborated “jazz blues” changes. There’s another way to go about

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

How to Handle a Sus Chord Part I – the Real McCoy

It’s a common problem among people learning how to improvise that they freeze when faced with a sus chord. I’ve often found that the reason people don’t know what to play over this chord type is that they don’t really

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Posted in a) Soloing Scales & Modes, b) Harmony & Comping, h) Transcriptions
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Next Gig

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

Sat 29 July 9pm, £15 (£9 adv)
JLT with Ed Jones tenor

For London-wide jazz listings see