The 7#9 Chord: Possibly the Funkiest Chord Ever

To all you funked-up rocking hip-hopping bluesy jazzy people out there,

Today’s post features an outrageously funky, bluesy chord which is also used in rock, jazz, and many other places.

This blues-based powerhouse is often called the “Purple Haze” chord, made famous by a Jimi Hendrix song of the same name.  You may also hear it called, more generically, a “Hendrix chord.” (Hendrix did in fact use 7#9 chords in several of his major songs.)

First a SLIDE SHOW, then a VIDEO. Enjoy!

Continue reading “The 7#9 Chord: Possibly the Funkiest Chord Ever”

Jazz Soloing Tip #12

Hello friends!

Try this: Go to your instrument and play a C-major scale from top to bottom (C B A G F E D C). Play these as evenly spaced eighth notes in 4/4 time.

You will notice that the final note, the lower C, does not land on a solid beat (in this case, that would be beat one). Instead, it lands on the last eighth note of the previous measure.

Assuming that we want our C to land on beat one, as a solid “target note,” here’s a common and jazzy sounding solution.

C, B, A, G  || F, E, D-flat, B || C

We now have the required eight notes to fill one measure, and the final C lands on beat one of the next measure – voila!

Continue reading “Jazz Soloing Tip #12”

Jazz Improvisation: The Shortest Path from Novice to Expert

Discovery <—> Refinement

When I was new to jazz, I spent years in the “discovery” phase. In the beginning, that was, for the most part, learning what scales go best with what chords, and also finding the “pretty notes,” as Charlie Parker once put it.

But I was so fixated on finding the coolest harmonies and scales, I forgot to practice playing what I already knew. In other words, I was skipping the “refinement” part.

Charlie Parker again, paraphrasing, “Play CLEAN and find the pretty notes.” So playing clean, that’s the refinement part.

The refinement part also – and maybe more importantly – means sticking with what you already know when you are coming up with your improvised lines. Which means you are saving the stretching out and the trying of new stuff for the discovery part. Both are obviously necessary for continuous growth.

WHY IS THIS A CIRCLE, NOT A STRAIGHT LINE,
FROM NEWBIE TO EXPERT?

The answer may already have occurred to you: We are forever learning, then refining, then learning, then refining, in an infinite cycle of growth. (Assuming we’re serious about things.)

And each activity feeds the other!

-Kent

A Study in Blues Piano – Focusing on Twelve Licks

Welcome to A Study in Blues Piano!

 

Course Description

This is an in-depth study of twelve blues licks, with extensive left-hand support tips. Each lick/riff is explored in detail, including variations, fingering, playing tips, and supporting music theory.

More than just learning the notes by rote, you will get insight into the patterns, scales, chords and intervals involved, including how to transpose each lick.

As a result, each lick will be mastered as RAW MATERIAL for endless variations, with applications in many musical settings (genres).

Lick #10 of this group is actually more than a lick; rather, it gives you a complete two-handed 12-bar opening groove, including a left-hand pattern to support your licks throughout your soloing.

SHEET MUSIC

Students can download and print optional sheet music for several of the licks. There’s also a sample solo piece with a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 12-bar piano solo that features licks from the class.

THE TWELVE LICK STUDIES

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve