How to Simplify Your Lines With Major Pentatonic Scales

Though pentatonic scales have been mentioned on the LJS site before, I want to look specifically at major pentatonic scales more in depth in this post. I’ll briefly introduce the way I think about...

How to Improvise Over Rhythm Changes Like a Pro

Like the Blues, “rhythm changes” is one of the most common song forms in jazz music. This 32-bar AABA form and its accompanying chord progression is derived from George Gershwin’s iconic composition “I Got...

2 Rhythmic Exercises Every Jazz Musician Should Practice

Every time I listen to an aspiring jazz musician, I find that for many of them their rhythmic game is not at the same level as the harmonic one. This is because most of...

5 Jazz Chord Substitutions You Need to Know

One of the prominent characteristics of jazz music is its rich harmonic language. Not only does jazz utilize the full spectrum of diatonic harmonic movement, it includes modal harmony, and also a slew of...

How to Use the Harmonic Minor Scale Over a Minor 2-5-1

In my recent post on the harmonic major scale, I talked about ways to construct II-V-I lines using one single scale. I have also mentioned the harmonic minor scale in passing when talking about...

Take 5: Strategies to Improve Your 5/4 Playing

In this post, I want to begin to tackle the challenge of playing in odd meters. I’ll start by zeroing in on 5/4 time here. We spend so much time playing jazz standards in 3/4...

The “Secret” Scale to Unlock 2-5-1 Chord Progressions

Most of the time, II-V-I’s are taught as a set of discrete modes or as a collection of related modes derived from a single parent scale. We’re told the II-7 chord corresponds to a...

“Minor” Issues: 4 Strategies for Tackling Minor ii-V-i’s

As jazz educators and learners, we focus a lot on major II-V-I’s, but we don’t often address the challenges of tackling those ubiquitous and sometimes tricky minor II-V-I’s. First, let’s quickly review what a minor...

Stuck On One Chord: Strategies to Improve Your Modal Jazz Solos

Very often iconic modal jazz tunes, such as Miles Davis’s “So What,” are among the first songs young, inexperienced, and newly aspiring musicians learn how to improvise on. Although modal tunes (which are songs...

How to Improvise Over All The Things You Are

All The Things You Are is a popular jazz standard by Jerome Kern, and is one of those songs that every jazz musician needs to know. It's often called at jam sessions and gigs and has...
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