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Qasida La Ta‘dhili

This is a piece I heard recently and decided to transcribe.  It has a really beautiful and fascinating rhythmic structure, a fact pointed out on Facebook by Faisal Zedan.  Faisal is a master percussionist from Syria with a deep…

The Whole-Tone Pentatonic Scale

This is a sound that (if memory serves) I first noticed when transcribing John Coltrane's solo on "I Hear A Rhapsody" from his 1957 album "Lush Life."  I don't think I've ever come across anyone discussing this particular scale, so…

Key-oriented perspective

It's very common in jazz education to encourage a chord-oriented perspective on improvisation. In many ways, this makes a lot of sense and can be a valuable way of analyzing the music. However, it runs the risk of one failing…

"Bill Evans"-derived Rootless voicings for guitar, part 2

Here are more rootless voicings for guitar, based on the "Bill Evans" left-hand style voicings.

These are mostly drop-2 chords, so unlike Evans's close voicings, these are open voicings. This does change the character of the sonority considerably; if the…

Added-Note Triad Applications

The uses of triads for an improviser are nearly limitless. As I hinted at in my previous post on digital patterns, adding a note to a triad to create a four-note group can create a lot of possibilities.  The…

Digital Patterns

Okay, I haven't posted in a year. Here's a little worksheet of common patterns that are often used by modern improvisers. John Coltrane was probably the first to make notable use of these kinds of patterns, which he did on…

Ear Conditioning

Here's an (IMHO) excellent exercise that trains your ears and works on connecting your hearing and improvising. I forget where I got the initial idea, but this the the procedure I've developed and found helpful:


Take a chord progression (maybe…

Triads in the Augmented Scale


Here's an an older one from my workbooks. I've spent a lot of time exploring the possibilities for using various triads in improvisation. They create such strong lines and have a compelling internal logic an musicality.

These examples are pretty…

Triads in the Diminished scale

I haven't posted anything to the blog in a while (obviously), but not because I haven't had anything to post! I'm just a bit of a perfectionist and it's been hard to find the time to put stuff into a…

The whole Whole Tone

I like the whole-tone sound, but it can get kind of boring and predictable (true of all the symmetrical scales, but especially the whole tone, since it has the most repetitive pattern . . . whole step, whole step, whole…

Two Triads Connected by Chromatic Passing Tone

Okay, here's the first post . . . ready?

This is something I've been working on. It was inspired (somewhat secondhand) by George Garzone. Garzone has a whole triadic concept for improvising that I don't know a whole lot about…