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Standard in C
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from Mimi Fox’s Graduated Solos
The melody here is based on a standard 32-bar progression in the key of C. The chords are mostly from the key of C major but with some very cool exceptions – in this composition there is a liberal use of dominant chords (replacing the diatonic minor chords) functioning as a II dominant, a VI dominant, and a III dominant chord leading to the relative minor. Knowledge of arpeggios here is critical so you don’t have to change keys to realize these colorful harmonic ideas.
Our piece today can be used over literally hundreds of tunes, like “All of Me,” “Caravan,” “All Blues,” or “Sweet Georgia Brown.” One of the common progressions that you’ll hear in this 32-bar form are dominant chords moving up in fourths. These progressions are very common, not just in jazz but also in blues, rock and pop music. Once you start getting some of these licks and ideas over these dominant chords, you’ll be able to transpose them to other areas of the neck and use them in many other tunes.
Something else to take note of: don’t be afraid to repeat a phrase. Sometimes beginning students are scared to repeat a motif or lick because they’re afraid it will sound boring or not cool, but it can actually sound very hip. A common jazz development is to take the same figure and play it in three different octaves. It develops energy in your playing, and actually creates a sense of momentum and drive. We’ll use that technique frequently to develop themes throughout this solo.
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