Country, jazz, and blues meld in one of America’s most treasured musical genres.

Chops: Intermediate
Theory: Intermediate
Lesson Overview:
• Add jazz phrasing to your country solos.
• Understand how to work intervallic double-stops into your licks.
• Develop a solo over the changes to a Western swing standard.

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Western swing is a unique fusion of musical styles and cultures, primarily encompassing country, jazz, blues, swing, and big band. The genre developed in Oklahoma, Texas, and California, and thrived in dance halls throughout the Southwest during the ’30s and ’40s. Though it’s no longer heard on mainstream radio, this distinctive and lively music still has a dedicated following and presence in small pockets of the country, where some fans would say the bands are swinging harder and hotter than ever.

Even a cursory listen makes it obvious that the musicians in the Western swing scene are extremely proficient and play with a fun, relaxed attitude. Infectious and quirky humor plays a big role in Western swing, and its practitioners favor technically risky and entertaining improvisation and complex chord substitutions, and often borrow phrasing from instruments not found in traditional country music.

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