Jazz Improvisation Examples

Jazz Improvisation Examples

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Jazz Improvisation Examples For Cool Sounding licks

Guitarists love to inject a bit of jazziness into their improvised guitar solos, but what does that mean?

I'm sure you have heard the cliche "jazz is just playing wrong notes". Although this is incorrect, there is an element of truth here. Many cool-sounding licks are in fact notes that are outside of the key over which you are playing. The tricky part is to make them sound right. How do you do this?

Tension And Release

Interesting music is made up of tension and release. This takes you on a musical journey and when done well, creates beautiful and engrossing music.

One of the main areas of interest is when playing over dominant 7th chords. Dominant 7th chords create tension and can either be a static bluesy/funky sounding chord on which you can vamp, or a tension chord which resolves to a chord that offers a resolution.

Tension is often created by playing 'the wrong notes' as they are not contained within the key in which you are playing. There are many methods you can use to achieve this. Some of the methods are incorporated into the jazz improvisation examples below.

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ii v i Guitar Lick in Ab

The ii v i chord progression is one of the most commonly played sounds in jazz. It is not limited to jazz as you will find the ii v i in many musical styles, so it is an essential chord progression to master.

This lick is definitely played with a jazz style in mind as it incorporates a swing feel. Playing with a swing feel helps a great deal when it comes to playing these types of improvisational ideas as the feel helps you to decide whether certain notes sound best on the on-beat or the off-beat.

Diminished Scale Lick Over A7

Hot on the heels of last week's diminished scale sequences, here is another diminished scale idea. This improvisational example is more of a complete idea as the melodic line creates tension using the diminished scale, and then resolves nicely to the following chord.

Be sure to work on other diminished scale sequences from my other videos and resolve the ideas in the same way. The diminished scale is great for creating tension sounds over dominant 7th chords.

Chromatic Line Over E7

The easiest way to create tension and include some of the 'wrong notes' is to use chromaticism. What is chromaticism? I like to think of it as filling up the holes. Basically, playing the notes that are in the gaps between the scale notes.

This example uses a variety of chromatic ideas to create a long-flowing, jazzy-sounding melodic line. Break this example into smaller pieces and use the ideas with other scales to create some interesting melodic ideas of your own.

Free Ear Training Course

You need to have great ears to hear what is going on when playing jazz-type licks and ideas. My free ear training mini-course will help you to gain a great musical ear. Click on the link below and sign up to start easily training your ears.
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