How to Improvise Over Inner Urge by Joe Henderson

How to Improvise Over “Inner Urge”

Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” from his iconic 1965 record also entitled Inner Urge is one of the most frequently called tunes at jam sessions when jazz musicians want to play a fast and challenging...
Practicing Using Upper Structures Over Solar

Practicing Using Upper Structures on “Solar”

As jazz musicians, we’re always trying to find ways to hear and come up with different types of melodic lines while improvising. One strategy that can help break up a hyper scale-focused approach to building...
jazz standard There is Not Greater Love

“There is No Greater Love” Workout

I’ve talked about voice leading with guide-tones and using chromatic surrounding/approach tones here on LJS before, and now I want to combine these two concepts and apply them to “There is No Greater Love.” The...
Exotic 7th Chord Workout for Advanced Jazz Musicians

Exotic 7th Chord Workout for Advanced Jazz Musicians

7th chords have been covered here before on LJS, so in this post, I want to expand our ideas about 7th chords and offer up a fun way to practice 7th chords in all...
Spice Up Your Jazz Solos With Asymmetrical Melodies

Spice Up Your Jazz Solos with Asymmetrical Melodies

Once we’ve mastered some of the basic types of jazz vocabulary, we’re always striving to find new and interesting ways of breaking up and varying our improvised melodies. One of the most effective ways to...
3 Lessons Bill Evans Taught Me On What Is This Thing Called Love

3 Lessons Bill Evans Taught Me On “What is this Thing Called Love”

Bill Evans’s 1959 recording of “What is this Thing Called Love” from Portrait in Jazz was one of the first solos I transcribed as a jazz major in college. I learned improvisational strategies from this...
How to jazz improvise over Unrelated Chords

How to Improvise Over Unrelated Chords

One of the biggest challenges of improvisation involves coming up with melodies that make sense over chord changes that are highly chromatic. Much of the standard jazz repertoire from the post-bebop era includes songs with...
Constant structures for jazz improvisation

How to Improvise Using “Constant Structures”

A “constant structure” is a fixed set of relationships between pitches. It is related to the ideas of a “pitch cell” that can be transposed and/or sequenced. Constant structures are great for creating motivic units...

“Super Blues” Scales for Leveling-Up Your Jazz Blues Improv

The blues scale is a very useful scale, but I’ve found it doesn’t always adequately capture what jazz musicians actually play when improvising over a blues in a “bluesy” way. I distinguish the “bluesy” moments...

How to Master the “Backdoor” Jazz Chord Progression

Jazz’s harmonic language features a lot of common chord progressions that appear often in different jazz standards. For example, jazz musicians frequently encounter II-V-I’s, dominant 7th chords through the cycle of fourths, and III-VI-II-V’s...

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