This is a continuation of my previous post about the great Grant Green. One of the points I made during that post is how Grant Green’s playing is an excellent source of coping lines (or if you prefer, licks), especially if you’re coming from a straight blues background and want to get some bebop into your vocabulary.
So with that in mind, let me direct your attention to the two video clips below. They are from David Hamburger’s excellent series of instructional guitar videos called 50 Jazz Blues Licks. In each video lesson, David demonstrates a guitar lick from a great hard bop jazz players. There are many reasons why I feel these video lessons stand out. First, his choice of licks is excellent. These lines are very hip, taken from great players who will be familiar to a music geek who read the liner notes of classic Blue Note recordings. His analysis of the licks is outstanding, really giving you insight into the nuts and bolts of how they are put together. As a result, they excel in using specific examples to demonstrate concepts that you can adapt to your own playing. He also gives you the context on where the riff applies such as “first 4 bars of a Bb blues” or “V-IV-I turnaround” and chooses examples that that be readily applied to a straight I-IV-V blues progression. If you are playing at your local blues jam session, there’s a good chance that your fellow players will not be familiar with the jazz version of a 12 bar blues. That cool ii-V-I lick you’ve been working may be a little hard to fit into that fast I-IV-V shuffle you’re playing. You can drop these licks into a T Bone Walker tune and have everyone take notice. They will also provide you with the tools to really take your playing into the next level.
In the first of these two Grant Green related lessons, David breaks down a cool riff that goes over the first four bars of a Bb blues. I like how, given that this was #23 in the series, he refers to this video as from the “Department of It’s About Time”. In it, David uses the lick to demonstrate such concepts as chord tone enclosure and superimposing a ii-V line over measure four of a 12 bar blues (measure four is the transition point from the I chord to the IV chord). These are key concepts to understanding how to incorporating bebop into your playing vocabulary.
50 Jazz Blues Licks – #23 Grant Green – Guitar Lesson – David Hamburger
The second video showcases another Grant Green inspired lick that goes over the first four bars of a Bb blues. This one incorporates elements of the major pentatonic scale, chromatic passing tones and using a diminished chord to create a bebop approved dominant seventh b9 chord flavor. Another winner.
50 Jazz Blues Licks – #25 Grant Green II – Guitar Lesson – David Hamburger
These licks are also part of the David Hamburger’s instructional DVD “50 Jazz Blues Guitar Licks You Must Know”. The DVD provides 52 video lessons, the licks notated and tabbed out, backing tracks, etc. For more information go to http://truefire.com/jazz-guitar-lessons/50-jazz-blues-licks/.
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