What is Jazz Improvisation?

  • January 4, 2018

I always begin my jazz improvisation classes at Columbia College Chicago by asking this question. For many of them jazz improvisation is brand new, so it's important to know how they think. The answers I get generally include the words spontaneity, creation,…

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Major Arpeggios

  • January 2, 2018

Major 7 arpeggios There are two arpeggios that are essential jazz vocabulary. These two arpeggios can be used in multiple contexts. We'll get to know them here as the two arpeggios most frequently used when improvising on maj7 chords. Once…

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Bebop Major

  • January 1, 2018

Students often ask me for help improvising on major 7 chords. The major bebop scale is the place to start. It's simply a major scale with one added note. Like bebop dominant, it places the chord tones on the downbeats, which makes you sound…

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Dominant Buttons

  • January 1, 2018

The most important parts of a phrase are the beginning and ending. The beginning is the launch pad that gets your phrase moving. If you’ve checked out the bebop dominant scales and dominant arpeggios posts, you already know how to…

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Dominant Arpeggios

  • December 31, 2017

Dominant Arpeggios: Movin' On Up What goes up must come down. In jazz, what goes up quickly, usually comes down slowly. Arpeggios ascend in thirds...they move up relatively quickly.  Scales descend by step...they move down relatively slowly. So a broad stylistic guideline…

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Bebop Dominant:The Sound of Jazz

  • December 30, 2017

The sound of the bebop dominant scale is everywhere; from bebop to pop, from R & B to modern jazz. Once you hear it you’ll know you need to be playing it yesterday. Bebop dominant is way more than just a scale. It's how to get…

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