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HomeLearning JazzJazz AdviceJazz Lick of the Week #17: "Ornithology Lick"

Jazz Lick of the Week #17: “Ornithology Lick”

This week features an awesome jazz lick for you to use which I call the “Ornithology Lick”. This lick refers to Charlie Parker’s bebop composition Ornithology. This tune is actually what we call a contrafact to the jazz standard How High the Moon. Contrafact meaning that it uses the same chord changes of an existing composition, but a completely different melody.

This lick uses the last 3-4 bars of Ornithology and works over a iii-VI-ii-V-I chord progression but is originally over a substitution to those changes. Essentially it’s a series of chromatic minor 7 chords starting on the iii and moving to the I chord.

Time to practice! Make sure to learn it in all 12 keys and be sure to download your free pdf handout of this lick in all 12 keys by clicking the button below!

Jazz Lick of the Week #17

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Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Brent, it would be very appreciated if you can also write the notations in the bass Clef. Some LUV for the bass players out there!


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