This arpeggio is very useful over a V7 (or a V9) chord. Notice that the iteration beginning on A# is actually in the key of C major. The A# is LI (sharp 6) in the major scale. For “New Ears Resolution” students, also note that the key change is indicated by the presence of a “pivot note.” Marked as (TI=LI), this notation is understood to mean “The note B natural, (TI in the old key of C major) will now become LI in the new key of Db major.” Once grasped, this understanding of modulation as described by a pivot note is a very powerful concept when one attempts to navigate the changes of a song with many internal key changes (such as “All the Things You Are.”)
You can play along with the background track to this lick. It’s an enjoyable & useful figure. Note that the background track starts with a count & a 4-bar introduction before you begin playing. Please email me, if you want a complimentary MIDI file or the Band in a Box file (to change tempo, style, or key). The background track is available here in 2 formats:
For “New Ears Resolution” students, listen for the II-V progression in the background track (Cm7-F7, etc.). The lick is easier to learn, if you hear it as: ti do li ti so fa la mi re so mi fa la li ti mi di re so .
This lick is in the John Coltrane solo to “I Love You.” Coltrane used this lick throughout his career. Many of his disciples also picked up on the lick. i work on it in 8 keys (the range shown for the first lick is 8va). For variety, try playing it in retrograde (backwards) as shown in the second example below.
For those studying “New Ears Resolution,” this blues lick is in the mixolydian mode. (See the chart showing the modes at the end of your book.) Try thinking of this melody first in mixolydian and then in ionian. Both sets of syllables are shown. Which ever set of syllables feels more comfortable to your ear, that is the set you should use. Try to play the melody as smoothly as possible, in order to realize the underlying swing. As with all exercises, start slowly and smoothly, gradually increasing the tempo. I play this at dotted quarter = 150.
Improvisation (or “improv”) is the art of creating a unique, new musical statement on the spur of the moment. This does not mean that your utterance is entirely without precedent. Jazz improvisation is a product of the individual’s history, temperament, technical facility, and mood, as well as the thrust of the composition which houses the performance, the history and legacy of jazz as a whole and ones chosen sub-genre in particular.
Here is a lick you can practice which fits nicely over the V7 – I (“five to one” or “SO7 to DO”) chord progression in major. I like to swing it, but you can also play it straight. You can experiment with different combinations of articulation, phrasing, and accent. I always start these exercises slowly and gradually increase the tempo. Right now, i am playing this one at quarter note = 115. The range of starting notes for sax is given below the exercise. If you are studying the “New Ears Resolution” ear training method, think of this lick in terms of: Li Ti Re Ra Ti Do Ri Mi La Fi So Fa Le So Do.
Practicing these exercises in all 12 keys will help strengthen your ear and build your “ear / finger co-ordination.” Try to play them withOUT looking at the chart whenever possible. Start with the metronome at a slow tempo and execute the notes as cleanly as possible with smooth finger motion. Gradually increase the tempo, as you become comfortable with the notes.