How to Play 7th Chords Like a Pro

One of the characteristics of jazz standards are the lush, colorful chords that populate their harmonies. Jazz musicians often use chords that offer more harmonic information than simple triads. These basic types of chords are called...

How to Improvise Over “Stella By Starlight”

Stella By Starlight is arguably one of the most popular jazz standards of all time. As one of the most commonly called “workhorse” songs on gigs and jam sessions, this is a must-know tune...

How to Build Chord Extensions and Alterations

It’s important that you understand that all 7th chords can be extended and altered. This is not only important to comprehend if you play a chordal instrument, like a piano or guitar, but it’s...

5 Sonny Rollins Licks Over “Tenor Madness”

One of my favorite jazz albums is Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness." It was recorded in 1956 and is especially notable because it's the only known recording that features both Sonny and John Coltrane. I used...

Odd Times: Strategies to Improve Your 7/4 Playing

In my first odd meter post, I talked about some of the ways you can approach learning how to play better in 5/4 time. In this follow-up, I want to take some of those...

How to Improvise Over “All of Me”

All of Me was written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simon in 1931 and has subsequently become one of the most recorded songs from that era. Popular versions of All of Me were immortalized...

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...

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