4 Ways to Make Scales Sound More Musical

Scales are some of the most fundamental building blocks of Western styles of music, including jazz. As musicians, we’re often told how important it is to practice scales and how useful they are for...

How to Navigate Autumn Leaves

One of the most popular jazz standards of all time is "Autumn Leaves" by Joseph Kosma. It's often one of the first jazz standards that aspiring jazz musicians learn to play and for many...

3 Techniques to Improve Your Bebop Playing

So much of jazz’s musical vocabulary today comes directly or indirectly from bebop. Even though it’s over half a century old, bebop continues to capture music lovers’ ears and imaginations as a unique sub-style...

How to Add Chromaticism Into Your Jazz Lines

One question I get asked about from time to time from beginner jazz students is "how do I get my solos to have that jazz sound?" What they really want to know is how jazz...

How to Play the Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale

In addition to learning the major scale in all 12 keys and the 7 diatonic or “church” modes derived from the major scale, the melodic minor scale is one of the most important and...

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...

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