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from Jeff McErlain’s Blues Rock Evolution
The phrase jazz fusion often means extended self-indulgent noodling over what some may loosely consider a song, but in its purest form it’s the simple mixture of jazz and rock pioneered in the late ‘60s by Miles Davis. Much like Bob Dylan a few years earlier, Miles lost many fans and was railed by critics for going electric on the groundbreaking Bitches Brew album, but his influence is evident in later groups like Weather Report and more recently, Tribal Tech.
This is still basically a twelve bar blues, but becomes more involved than usual due to the use of chromatic runs, outlining the chords, double stops and the generous use of tritones. This is all about pushing limits, and a guitarist great at pushing the limits is Scott Henderson. Two of his albums that are required listening are Dog Party
and Tore Down House
Over the B7 we are using a lot of chromatic runs, which are the notes in between the scale tones. A blues note is a great example of a chromatic note. When using chromatic notes it is often helpful to think of how they pertain to a pentatonic scale, or as the inbetween notes within the scale.
Over the IV chord we will outline the E7 as well as use the tritone. Watch for the third finger bend at the 9th fret.
Going to the flatted VII chord (A7), stay in the Bm position, and bend the G# on the B string up a half-step. Next up is an outline of the A tritone, followed by a chromatic run. There is a reason this lesson is called twister! We then go back to the E7, which is finished up with a straight pentatonic run.
Whereas the earlier solos didn’t stray too far from the Bm pentatonic position, this time we will intentionally stay away from the box and focus more on playing down the neck. Adding in some bends on the low notes will also add an interesting new flavor. We will focus more on feel and texture than before, slowing things down and staying away from 16th notes, instead letting the notes linger and breath a bit more.
There is a cool blues riff at the beginning that is normailly done in E, but because we are playing it in B it stands out a bit more. Use fingers or a pick and fingers to hit the notes at the same time. This lends a jazzy feel and helps us slow things down.
For the third extended solo, we find ourselves back in the B minor pentatonic position, once again rocking the 16th notes.
That wraps things up for this month. Hopefully this has given you some ideas to add something new to your solos.
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