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How to Play “Outside” and Sound Good

Welcome to episode 228 of the LJS Podcast where today I teach you a few principles and techniques that will help you play “outside” of the changes without it sounding avante garde or playing wrong notes. I use a lick from an etude in our Inner Circle membership as an example.

Listen to episode 228

Have you ever listened to a jazz recording and suddenly the soloist that you’re listening to starts going outside of the changes like it sounds dissonant, it doesn’t sound completely stable, feels unstable, and feels a little shaky. 

But then all of a sudden they brilliantly resolve it back into the key center again and everything sounds like it came home and it sounds great and they end up sounding like a genius, right? You’re like, wow, how do they do that?

And sometimes we might want to start going outside of the “changes” so that we can create some different colors, some different sounds, and then resolve back to where we want to be in the diatonic changes.

So, in today’s episode, I’m going to be going over some ways to do that by looking at a particular lick that goes through this exact idea of playing outside the changes and then resolving back into the harmony again and see what lessons we can learn from that and take away from it.

In this episode:

1. When going out, remember that you need to come back in

2. Use repeated patterns

3. Use melodic direction towards resolutions

Important Links

1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."



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