“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...

3 Game-Changing Rhythmic Secrets to Make Your Solos Swing Harder

Making improvised lines truly swing is one of the biggest challenges jazz musicians face at all levels of their musical development. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro, a young player just starting...

3 Types of Tritone Substitution with Lick Examples

An important technique that jazz musicians use to create harmonic movement is tritone substitution. This technique can add some great color to your jazz solos. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about tritone substitution, what...

The Right Way to Use the Diminished Scale

The diminished scale is one of the most useful and versatile tools for jazz improvisers. It has been covered on LJS before, but I want to try to offer an additional perspective on how...

4 Blues Chord Progressions You Need to Know

One of the most important song forms in jazz is the blues. The blues was born out of the African slave trade in the United States. It came straight out of the oppression of the...

24 Places to Use the Diminished Scale

The Diminished Scale is often misunderstood. It is symmetrical, unlike the major scale, and this alone gives it a certain mystery. When you consider its exotic sound, the mystery grows. Many people first learn to...

How to Use Bebop Scales Like a Pro

Perhaps you’ve read or heard about bebop scales before – they’ve been mentioned in passing on LJS in the past. But where do bebop scales come from, and how can they be used in...

How to Use Guide-Tones to Navigate Chord Changes

One of the most useful concepts which has emerged in jazz theory is the notion of guide-tones. Guide-tones are melodic lines constructed from one or two pitches strategically extracted from each chord of a...
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