What is Jazz Improvisation?

  • January 4, 2018

I always begin my jazz improv classes at Columbia College Chicago by asking students this question. I’m genuinely interested in what for many of them, is a brand new enterprise. The answers I get are varied, but generally include some…

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Major Arpgeggios

  • January 2, 2018

Major Arpeggios: Two Multi-Purpose Arps There are two arpeggios that are ubiquitous in the vocabulary of modern jazz improvisation. These two arpeggios are usable in multiple contexts. Here we are looking at them as the two primary arpeggios in common…

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Bebop Major

  • January 1, 2018

The Bebop major scale is another essential part of your jazz vocabulary.  It should be your default choice when improvising on maj7 and maj69 chords. Like the bebop dominant scale, it's best to conceptualize it by understanding its function.  It functions similarly to…

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Dominant Buttons

  • January 1, 2018

Dominant Buttons: End your phrases with authority! 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…

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Dominant Arpeggios

  • December 31, 2017

Dominant Arpeggios: Movin' On Up What goes up must go down. In jazz, what goes up quickly, usually comes down slowly. Because arpeggios ascend in thirds, they move up relatively quickly.  Because scales descend by step, they move down relatively slowly. So…

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Bebop Dominant

  • December 30, 2017

Bebop Dominant: The essential sound of jazz Check out this Freddie Hubbard chorus on an F blues.  Here's a Wayne Shorter chorus from the same recording. Here's a short, concise example. It's Wayne again, gliding down an F bebop dominant scale…

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