2-5-1’s Part 4

The 2-5-1, possibly the most common harmonic device in all of jazz harmony. I this course we deconstruct and demystify the process of increasing your ability to improvise over it!

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2-5-1’s Part 1

The 2-5-1, possibly the most common harmonic device in all of jazz harmony. I this course we deconstruct and demystify the process of increasing your ability to improvise over it!

This content is for members only.

Lessons from the road – Rancho Mirage

Hello gang! This week I’m coming to you from the dry heat of the California desert out in Rancho Mirage. I got some down time to practice in the hotel room and shoot this video for you taking a look at a bunch of different things. This video includes looking at how a change in climate effects your playing (such as a the super dry air of the desert where I am right now) and also about how to create melodic ideas using a simple minor pentatonic scale.

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Using Pentatonics to create and release tension

Taking one of the most basic harmonic/melodic devices – a minor pentatonic scale – this lesson takes a look at creating and releasing tension, creating new melodic ideas, and making sure you’re setting realistic goals and not trying to learn too much in one go!

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Looking at the Details

So what started out as a lesson about where to find ideas for building vocabulary, this lesson ended up being about the small details within phrasing that can take you to the next level in terms of your ability to be in total creative control with your playing.

I take a three note phrase, and then break it up into tiny pieces (YES that’s totally possible!) and give you a bunch of phrasing options that I think are going to take your playing to the next level!

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Steve Grossman Transcription Zulu Stomp – part 1

When it comes to playing outside the changes one of my favorite guys is Steve Grossman. A legend in his own right with an incredibly unique sound and approach to music, I’ve been transcribing him for years. This cut is from the Some Shapes to Come album, and features Gene Perla on Bass, Don Alias on drums, and Jan Hammer on keys.

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Vocabulary – Holdsworth Diminished Sound

I was listening to some Alan Holdsworth recently, I think it might have been the song Tokyo Dream, but it was definitely something around that era. I got hooked on some diminished sounds that Alan was using, and decided it was time to stop putting off learning about because it’s technically difficult, and find a solution to the problem! so here it is, a look inside my process for not only transcribing a specific piece of music, but also for tackling things that I can’t execute right away.

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Soloing Idea using Major Triads – Part 1

I recently blogged about this Australian piano player Rai Thistlethwayte who’s side project “Michael Albatross” has been on heavy rotation on my record player for many weeks now. There’s a great piano solo from the track in the blog post that has a very cool major triad idea in it. Needless to say I transcribed it and now present it to you as a starting point for working on a soloing idea using Major Triads!

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Mike Brecker ii-v-i Exercise


Here’s an ideal way to give yourself more fluidity soloing over bass chords (which I suggest you put into a looper to give yourself a killer backing track to work with) with chord tones over a ii-v-i with this idea from Michael Brecker. I heard this on a bootleg of a clinic he was giving in the 80’s in Italy, and thought it would make for some great material to add to my practice routine. I hope you can incorporate it in yours, and using bass chords, and these chord tones, you should be able to increase fluidity in no time!

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Communication – Practicing with another musician

Jamming with other musicians is something that’s been at the forefront of my musical development. And from time to time I get to hang out with close friends who are also incredible musicians and swap ideas. I was down in Texas with my good friend Justin Vasquez working on a project and we decided to shed a little at the house one day. I rolled tape so you get a look inside that process. We’re trading back and forth over a groove I have in the looper, and playing off each others phrasing and ideas.

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Playing Over A Vamp

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who comes across a situation where the harmony isn’t moving that much, so here is a lesson on how to make that harmony interesting, give yourself way more options to create melodies, and make it sound like there is actually more going on harmonically than there actually is…

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Phrasing – Michael Brecker

To me Michael Brecker was one of the true masters of phrasing and time. In this lesson I take a look at a specific phrase from Mike’s solo on “Bye George” from the album “Two Blocks from the Edge”, and work on ways of taking a single phrase out of a transcription and working it into your playing.

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