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Metheny Madness - March '19 Ex. 5

The great actor Michael Caine offered some wisdom on facing challenges.

Stay fresh by taking a tip from actor Michael Caine when facing challenges.

When I was a kid, there were paths one was expected to follow. Most of us graduated high school, then it was a job, college, or the military. I seem to remember a shocking amount of my peers having clearly defined goals, with elaborate 10-step plans laid out in two-year increments. Their unyielding paths sounded like a prison sentence to me, and yet, I was terrified not knowing what to do or where to do it.

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Learn how to bridge jazz and blues by tackling one of the most popular progressions around.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Learn how to play convincingly over “rhythm” changes.
• Develop deeper bebop vocabulary.
• Understand how to outline chords using Mixolydian, Lydian Dominant, and Super Locrian scales.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this lesson's notation.

One of the most daunting aspects of taking your blues playing to the next level is turning up to a jam night and finding out that the players lean toward the jazzier side of the blues. For the last few years, this column has sought to shed light on relevant aspects of the jazz idiom by introducing you to intriguing scales and soloing concepts you can use in a blues context. But what happens if the context is jazz? There’s a common pool of songs that jazz musicians pull from, and some of those songs can be classified as a contrafact. A contrafact is a composition that’s based on an established set of chord changes. The practice became common in the bebop era when musicians wanted to improve their chops by playing over chord progressions they were extremely familiar with. They would then write new melodies to some of their favorites songs.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to consider the blues progression as a contrafact, since so many tunes use those changes. Other common jazz tunes that have served as inspiration for countless contrafacts are “Cherokee,” “All the Things You Are,” “Giant Steps,” and of course “I Got Rhythm.” There are so many tunes based on that Gershwin classic that the progression has become known simply as “rhythm” changes.

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You could be one of TEN winners! This giveaway ends on June 20, 2024.

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