#1
Hey Guys,

wondering if you could spare me some jazz solo ideas for the following songs. I'm new to the whole improvisational thing and im stuck in the standard pentatonic and blues boxes. Some scale ideas and arpeggios etc etc.

Autumn Leaves
Blue Bossa
Blue Monk
#2
Ok.

Autumn Leaves is almost entirely diatonic - you're just going between the major and the relative minor key.

I would suggest "thinking" Bb (or whatever key you're playing it in) major for most of the song, but work out arpeggio studies over the changes. Choose a position. Play the 7th arpeggio of each chord in 8th notes as it occurs. Do this in multiple positions. It will take time, but it will force those shapes and changes into your mind.

Blue Bossa is a similar thing...it modulates a bit, but it's mostly in one key.

These two aren't going to do much to force you out of your comfort zone, because you can convincingly get away with just diddling around the scale of the key. But if you want a starting point...work out the arpeggios, and try introducing some altered options over any dom7's or ii-V's that pop up. Learn your melodic minor scales (especially so you can play altered lines - this is the 7th mode of mel min.).

I could give you at least 10 more exercises/technique approaches to developing a vocabulary over these songs, but it wouldn't do you any good. You need to start with the basics and work up from there. MOST IMPORTANTLY you need to listen to the original recordings and transcribe or at least analyze what the soloists are doing - that's what's going to give you the immediate lines and melodic concepts you need to tackle this stuff.

Blue Monk is just a basic Jazz Blues. You can really deep in that stuff. If you've studied any jazz you know how dominants are just like a sandbox to play in...HW/Altered/Wholetone/straight diminished...a lot of options and outside possibilities and superimpositions over something like that. But as a beginner I would just advice that you avoid falling into blues/rock cliches like bending every 3 seconds, and concentrate more on developing a strong and steady with with an 8th note pulse to your solo - all the notes in the world won't matter if you can't get the feel right.
Last edited by chronowarp at Feb 21, 2012,
#3
Quote by TheDistrict
Hey Guys,

wondering if you could spare me some jazz solo ideas for the following songs. I'm new to the whole improvisational thing and im stuck in the standard pentatonic and blues boxes. Some scale ideas and arpeggios etc etc.


No.

The idea isn't the scale. The idea is the music.

Start with the melody of the song. Play the melody.

Then start to tweak the melody to add interesting things to it.

On another forum someone recently posted this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO-ecxHEPqI

Do you hear how all of the variations still have the DNA of the original melody in them? He's never abandoning "twinkle twinkle little star."

That's what you do with a solo. You start with the melody. Then you start to embellish and improvise it ... but you never lose sight of the melody, of what the song is.

Listen to those 12 variations again. They're all in the same scale - a few have accidentals, but many of the variations do not. And yet, they're all different "ideas," right? So if the idea was the scale, they'd all be the same ... but they're not. There are 12 distinct approaches to the same melody in the same scale.

You should compose (not improvise - COMPOSE) an exercise like this for one of the songs you want to do. First play the melody. Then play a modified version of the melody. Then play another modified version of the melody. Etc - but again, these are compositions. You should be thinking enough about what you're doing each time that you could play it again. (After all, when you think of a great rock solo, the guitarist plays the main ideas the same most times he plays it, no?)
#5
When I improvise I think in layers, the bottom layer is the key center of the chord progression, then come the chord tones, then on top are the guide tones, then are the upper structures (these can be obtained by also using scales like the MM), then subs (like triton), then other scales (like pentatonic) connecting all these layers are chromatic notes, digital patters etc
#6
Quote by TheDistrict
Hey Guys,

wondering if you could spare me some jazz solo ideas for the following songs. I'm new to the whole improvisational thing and im stuck in the standard pentatonic and blues boxes. Some scale ideas and arpeggios etc etc.

Autumn Leaves
Blue Bossa
Blue Monk


Hi there, one thing I like to do in jazz is using arpeggios that are not from the chords itself, I'll give and example: if I have an Am7 chord, I play over it a Cmaj7 arpeggio, then I have the minor third, the perfect fifth, the minor seventh and the major second of the chord I'm playing over, which gives a very cool sound, try it, it's pretty fun, cheers.