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Jazz Theory

Having a grasp on some music theory concepts can be a great help when learning how to become a great jazz improviser. Below is a list of jazz theory lessons we’ve created.

If you’re looking for a place to start, definitely check out my Ultimate Guide to Jazz Theory. This is my most comprehensive jazz theory post that will get you started on the right foot!

Ultimate Guide to Jazz Theory

Let me tell you one of the biggest myths I hear about learning how to play jazz: You need to know a ton of music theory. WRONG. You don't. You only need to know a little bit...

The 16 Most Important Scales in Jazz [UPDATED]

Here is a list of the 16 most important scales for jazz improvisation and the harmonic contexts in which they can be used for improvisation. It doesn't matter whether you play guitar, piano, saxophone, trumpet,...

9 Important Jazz Chord Progressions You Need to Master [UPDATED]

For some, learning jazz can be a daunting task. It's harmonically complex, and because of this, there is a demand for a certain level of virtuosity. I often find that those who love jazz but...

2 Jazz Improv Concepts and an Etude Over “Solar”

“Solar” is a jazz standard written by one of the most famous jazz musicians of all time, trumpeter Miles Davis. The best-known Miles recording of “Solar” is probably from his iconic 1957 Prestige album...

Double Your Scale Practicing Efficiency with this Bebop-Diminished Pattern

All musicians must practice scales at some point in their musical development. Scales are some of the most fundamental building blocks of Western styles of music, including jazz. As musicians, indeed we’re often told how...

Hexatonic/Pentatonic Jazz Improvisation Workout

We’ve talked about pentatonics on LJS in the past both on the blog and on the podcast. In this post, I want to build on the concepts surrounding pentatonic scales and...

How to Use Altered Pentatonics

I’ve discussed the major pentatonic scale here on LJS before and some of its uses. In this post I want to briefly review the major pentatonic scale and then talk about what I call...

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 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...

“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...

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