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Jazz Piano Lessons: “Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise”

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The question that's been burning on
everybody's minds,
what do I do when I don't
have harmony that's pushing me along and
it's kind of refreshing everything I do?
If the chords aren't moving like this and
it's just C minor for
four minutes, seven minutes,
whatever it is.
What resources can I bring to that, that
are gonna sustain a solo for that long?
And this is to me where it really gets
fun, but these are, kind of toward
the back of the lessons, because in a way
they're just a tiny touch more difficult.
As I say,
when we're working in a framework
when the tune itself is
refreshing under our fingers.
Every bar there's a new chord and
the song itself
is changing up the harmony that
we're blowing on and so forth.
There are a lot of ways in which that's
easier than just sitting on one chord and
needing to have enough ingenuity to
sustain a really long solo on that.
But the beauty of this is that we're gonna
get here, we're gonna work on a song
called Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise,
a very, very well known standard.
That repeats then we get a little bridge
that has some changes
in it which is really
a nice break from the modal side of it.
But what do we do on that C minor, and
what we're gonna start to look at is
taking the exact same stuff
that we've already done and
superimposing on it,
superimposing it on to this.
Just in our minds, we're going to do.
For example here's one.
Burning away on C minor.
We're going to throw a little thing in
We're going to look at it
instead as a progression.
It's it's going C altered to F 13.
And so now instead of just going
instead of churning along on a C minor
scale like that,
we're bringing in these things.
And if I'm moving my left hand with it,
you're hearing it like this, but
if I'm not doing that, you hear it as
I'm going way outside the changes and
coming back in, but
mentally, I'm incredibly
comfortable because all
I'm doing is five to one.
The master of this stuff and
the guy who is still pretty well
peerless at it, was John Coltrane.
And you've probably heard of
a tune called Giant Steps.
And what that was, that was actually
kind of an exercise for him,
because he was looking at ways to snake a
new kind of a line across a two five one.
So if you know that tune,
here's the progression,
B major seven
D seven, G major seven, B flat seven.
E flat major seven.
And what John Coltrane did.
All that thing is, is his way of coming up
with a new pathway through F minor seven.
B flat 7, E flat.
So instead of going
Coltrane, you know?
And that's just the beginning
of the genius of John Coltrane and
his substitutions.
We're not gonna do anything
quite as elaborate as that,
although a lot of people do that.
They'll burn that exact progression,
Except instead of thinking in
terms of E flat as target,
they're thinking of the very similar
idea of C minor as a target.
So here align
That was giant steps changes
sitting on a Cm7 chord.
That's some pretty sophisticated stuff.
You can get huge [SOUND] mileage out
of taking stuff that we've already
got under our fingers and just thinking
about it on our C minor 7 chord.
However, [SOUND] when we start with this
business of playing on a modal track,
let's just find our most
inside resources first and
get those where we're
comfortable with them.
We already know them [SOUND],
the C minor pentatonic scale.
The F seven pentatonic scale [SOUND].
Those both are well under
our fingers by now.
And, I'm sorry, those were the bobscales.
Pentatonic scales coming up.
[NOISE] C Minor 7 pentatonic scale.
[NOISE] C Minor 6 Pentatonic scale.
Great sounds on this.
Let me just put up our funk track.
In C minor, and just have some
fun with those two resources and
throw some approach patterns in
there to stitch it together.
There's our
track burning away.
Let's start maybe with
a little bit of left hand.
our triadic harmony.
We're just doing a little
quick review here.
Straight up the bop
scale from the third.
Simple ideas,
let's plays
a little bit more
of the bop scales.
Bop scales tied
together with approach
patterns in there.
That's pretty simple.
Let's go to our pentatonics.
All of that
is pentatonic stuff,
straight up.
I don't think I even put
an approach pattern in it.
Let's add some approach patterns.
A little
mixed in.
Motivic playing,
let's throw a little bit of that in there.
Just arpeggiating
our C minor nine cord.
do this,
lets arpeggiate
a couple of triads.
That's the B flat triad.
There I kind of arpeggiated a B flat triad
[SOUND] and then used a chromatic
to land on my note that I wanted.
Let's take a very fast look at two more
triads that we can stick on there.
If you like that,
that's a G triad [SOUND],
which gives us the minor-major seven.
And we're gonna look at that chord and
work with that in the next couple lessons.
There I'm starting to work our way
into some quick substitutions.
That's an E triad and
just mentally I'm going here.
I'm quickly visiting G7 with that
as an upper structure triad and
finding a way back into
the C minor tonality.
Look at this.
There I'm arpeggiating the triad.
Arpeggiating it up and
bailing myself out with
an approach pattern.
So, you can have a lot of fun, and
be inside with these flavors,
our basic bop scales,
C minor bop scale, and
our two minor pentatonic scales.
The 7 [SOUND] and
the 6th [SOUND] pentatonic scale.
The first thing we're gonna look at as
far as other places to go on this though,
is just other ways to look at the C minor.
We're gonna check this out next.
Straight pentatonic with a little turn
around on our approach pattern at the end,
and that's the minor major seven.
[SOUND] It gives you a different place to
go [SOUND], because it's got that in it.
So, let's start working with that next.