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Jazz Piano Lessons: Substituting a Simple Progression in Our Heads

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Here's a lesson that
I've been waiting for, for
about 140 lessons now.
This is the really interesting stuff, and
it's especially the interesting stuff on
a modal thing, and we spend so much time.
I play with a lot of bands,
kind of electric jazz bands,
where the soloing is really
heavily modally influenced.
What we're gonna do here,
I'm gonna start out,
we're gonna introduce another track
here to our play-along tracks.
These are all always available.
These are a couple of
Latin influenced tracks.
The bass is doing this kind of
great offset thing that they
play when they do Latin tracks,
it's called a tumbao bass line, I think.
I'm not that great with my terminology but
I know the feel.
And it's kind of cooking along
at 124 beats per minute.
I'm just gonna play some on this and
I'm gonna work this next tool in and
see if you can identify where I'm going.
[SOUND] Cuz I'm gonna be traveling
well on outside of the harmony here.
[SOUND] And it sounds cool and
it's a lot of tension and
release but you can't quite
figure out what's going on.
It's the world's simplest thing.
So, let me start the track up and
I'll see if I can
get some of this going,
so you can have a listen.
There's our basic idea.
C minor, C minor 9,
let's play just a little bit in
C minor to get our bearings.
Straight up pentatonic
with an approach pattern in the middle.
More pentatonic stuff.
More approach patterns in there.
Let's add in
this new color.
going on
in there?
If you look at the notes that I'm playing,
I'm throwing this in on C minor 7.
And I'm able to take this, and
since these kind of really wanna
go down by their half step to
the notes in our C minor 7,
I'm creating a bunch of tension and
resolving it on the C minor 7.
What I'm doing is
the simplest possible thing.
I'm treating the [SOUND], adding a little
progression in here on top of this.
What it is, is C altered to F 13.
In my head, the baseline is going,
Like this.
What I'm thinking,
is that I got my C altered 7 here,
which is resolving to this, but
over C in the bottom it's
really just a C 13 voicing.
Meanwhile, I'm blowing as if I'm
playing on C altered 7 to F 7.
And we've been doing this now for
a long time.
On this, I'm using
our old friend,
the flat 3 minor
pentatonic scale
If I were to play it over this bass line,
this bass note, check it out.
really simple,
it sounds logical,
and it's not
that it sounds
inside, but
you definitely
hear the comings
and goings.
You hear why I'd be playing these notes,
which are all tensions on
a C altered chord, and then they're
resolving pretty cleanly down here.
And I'm trying to make sure
that I hit chord tones [SOUND].
When I resolve to this F 13.
Cuz otherwise,
you're just out there in space and
you're not resolving the tension.
The secret with this is that we're kind of
resolving the tension to something that's
higher up the scale.
We're not coming back to
the root all the time.
We're resolving to this thing
that we're also substituting.
Mentally it's,
I don't want to say its a no-brainer,
but substituting this little
progression on there is really easy.
I take a lot of solos on a synthesizer,
on a monophonic lead synthesizer, and
my left hand is running the wheel.
And I don't feel like I need to
support this stuff over these chords.
If I'm playing good logic,
it's enough, you'll hear it.
You won't experience it as this to this,
you'll hear the tension and
resolution coming.
I know where I am at all
times in relation to this.
It's not like I went outside and
I just decided to pick some notes and
what am I doing?
I'm playing standard issue bebop.
using my little
pentatonic scale,
we can kinda just
Those are more of a bop scale
orientated thing using our C altered.
Let's put the track up again, and
I'll have a little bit more fun with this,
and this will be available as a PDF
that I'll try to annotate to show
you what I'm thinking
when I'm thinking it.
That's a little
bit of stuff to get us
going in C minor here.
All that
stuff is a
So, when I'm
going outside there,
I played a couple
different ideas.
There's this one, the main one is
playing our E flat minor pentatonic.
I also kind of dipped into this one.
Which is another way of kind of
getting on.
It's based sort of
on our.
But I'm cutting out this,
and I'm cutting out that.
but you clearly hear that going by on
the B.
And that's what wants to resolve there.
You can hear the weaving in and out.
One thing that you notice as I play these,
when I'm up on this E flat
minor 7 pentatonic scale.
The thumb has got to go anywhere.
You don't have the luxury of
trying to finger these things, so
that you don't use your thumb.
Although, McCoy-Tiner did
a lot of playing like this.
Watch some YouTube's of him.
And of course,
that technique is just so powerful, and
a lot of it is only these fingers.
That's his choice.
Me, I need my thumb.
there's the first look at the place to go
when we're playing on a modal piece, and
it's time to start throwing some
additional harmonic ideas in there.
Really simple to keep this organized for
yourself, so that you
know where you're at, at all times because
mentally you're going like this, 5,
1 the most basic progression in jazz.
We're gonna look at another one
that I actually like better, next.
Let's play this stuff,
let's look at it in the context
of our more slowed down 110 bpm
track on the C minor modal,
or C minor mode.
And I'm gonna record this as a PDF too so
you'll be able to look and
see what's what.
And I'm just gonna kind of talk my
way through it as we get going.
Let's just play a little bit and
get the C minor sound in our head.
there from
Let's start substituting in here.
You can hear what
I'm doing here really
clearly cuz I've got it
covered in my left hand.
And to be honest if you're on a gig and
you're playing in C minor like this
the very second you
play this voicing
the very minute you go hear,
you've started something new.
You've got the audience's attention
more there than at any other point.
Again, when you start and when you stop,
you really pull people in.
I would say that while we're working on
this as an exercise, let's go ahead and
just go back and forth like this.
But on the gig, maybe you want to
visit this for eight bars, and
then go to the next place.
Let's play it two bars at a time so
that we can really work out on our chords.
notice that
when I do
the resolution.
I'm trying quite hard to get
those chord tones on the beat.
And our bop scale is a perfect choice for
Now let's
kind of not do so
much with our left hand.
So that this has more
of a little air of mystery on it.
Back to just
straight up
C minor here.
Let's just play some of our pentatonic and
hinge on into our F13 voicing
with some approach patterns.
And that's
how we
work this
thing in
At tempo it's actually a little
bit easier to work with
because the harmony flies
by a little bit quicker and
you're not hanging out side for
quite as long as this.
But while we're working on it, if you want
to start with this on the 80 BPM track.
And soon you get to a point where
you're hearing these resolutions so
clearly, and
things that you already have that you like
on a five one just great bebop
lines sit beautifully on here.
And you're visiting another place.
The next place we're gonna
visit in a couple lessons
is one more little substitute cadence
that again couldn't be simpler.
It's at five one.
And I'll see you for
the next couple of lessons.