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The 3 Pillars of Bebop for Improving Your Bop Solos (feat. Brett Pontecorvo)

Welcome to episode 282 where today I talk with a member of team LJS, Brett Pontecorvo, about the 3 Pillars of Bebop. Bebop is a style of jazz that has greatly influenced the way jazz improvisers play today. But bebop is no walk in the park. It requires a degree of virtuosity and strong knowledge of navigating chord changes. How do we break it down to make it easier?

Listen to episode 282

Chances are, some of your favorite jazz musicians and the amazing solos that they play, are influenced by the style of jazz that emerged around the 1940s called bebop.

Now bebop was pioneered by musicians like Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie and a host of others, of tunes like “Moose the Mooche”, “Relaxin’ at Camarillo”, “Anthropology”, “Ornithology” —  the list goes on and on of all these amazing tunes that are just wonderful and just the amazing solos that came out of this period.

But you may have noticed that playing bebop is quite difficult. It’s a virtuosic style of music, it’s very hard but we need to know how to play bebop lines in order to improvise as a jazz musician in a way that is typical of the dialect that is played today.

So, in today’s episode, I have a very special guest, member of team LJS, Brett Pontecorvo, on the show, to talk about the 3 pillars of bebop so we can understand it better and you can start soloing over it better as well.

In this episode:

1. Pillar #1: Melodic Chromaticism

2. Pillar #2: Altered Harmony

3. Pillar #3: Syncopated Rhythm

4. The one thing you should do to improve your bebop solos

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."


  1. Great. Reminds me of what I learned on the Jamie Abersold summer camps a long time ago! David Baker opened the lid on bebop for me, and this is a very succinct and pertinent reminder, thanks.


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