Since i heard the beautiful Django Reinhardt piece “Nuages” for the first time around 2003 i’ve been a huge fan and I’ve been listening, practicing, jamming and travelled to France several times to be part of and to play this wonderful music.


Here’s a video from my latest concert the 21th of july 2012 at Tango Y Vinos in Copenhagen. With me is a great and swingin’ rhyhtm section: Robert Pilgaard and Christian Henriksen.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeTlCTvqx7M&feature=plcp

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My favorite event of the year is kicking of from tomorrow, the 6th of July. It’s ten days of great music all over the city. I’m playing 7 gigs myself. here are the dates:

6/7 17.00 – 20.00 @ Café Intime. Bjorn Jensen Trio

7/7 17.00 – 20.00 @ PH Caféen. With Farum Big Band

8/7 18.00 – 20.00 @ Halmtorvet. Django music and free dance lessons!

10/7 14.30 – 17.30 @ Café K. Bjorn Jensen trio feat. Peter Tousig

14/7 12.00 -14.00 @ Frederikssund Storcenter. Happy Jazz

14/7 17.00 – 20.00 @ Café Intime. Vocal Jazz with Brian Groenbaek.

15/7 11.30 – 14.30 @ Cap Horn. Duo Jazz and brunch

– see you out there!

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Introduction. 
After being away from the blog-business for a while, I finally got some more time to continue.
This lesson will be for the theory geeks and people who seek some inspiration for their improvisation. It is pretty boring stuff, but very usable. But that’s also life of a musician, some times you got to do some hard  ‘woodshedding’ only to come back even stronger. 
So, hard work? yes. Boring? maybe. Meaningless? Not at all!
I want to talk about the m7b5-chord. The theory of the chord is rather simple in itself and the chord can be applied in different ways and gives you some very cool sounds. Last I will talk a bit about how I like to practice it. How get to be familiar with the sound of the chord and how to put it in a context, so you can relate the chord to different kinds of tunes and sounds, and not just learn the theory. It makes it easier to remember and more natural to use in a live situation.
The theory.
The m7b5 chord is build from the 7th degree of the major scale. If we harmonize a C major scale it would look like this:
Cmaj7 – Dm7 – Em7 – Fmaj7 – G7 – Am7 – Bm7b5
The C major scale consist of the following notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B
So we build the Bm7b5 from using every second note, starting from the B note. Like this:
B, C, D, E, F, G, A: So we got the Root (B), The 3rd (D), The b5 (F) and the 7th (A) = Bm7b5.
Applying the chord.
So the interesting thing about this chord, is that you can use in different ways in your improvisation. I will focus on the three most common:
1) Use it simply over the m7b5 chord In a 2-5 sequence in minor. Nothing more is needed to say I think.
2) Use it over minor 6 chords. So if you want to improvise over a Am6 chord you can play the m7b5 arpeggio built from the 6th of the minor 6 chord. In Am6 that would be the F# note, so you can play a F#m7b5 arpeggio. Another way to see it is like this: The root of the minor 6 chord is the b5 of the corresponding m7b5-chord. Related to a minor 6 chord it would give you all the notes of the chord.  So you might as well call it a minor6 as a m7b5 arpeggio.
But it’s all about how best to remember it and how you visualize the fretboard. For me it works well with small self invented rules like that.
3) Use it over dominant chords: If you want to improvise over a, say G7, you can play the arpeggio from the 3rd of the dominant chord. In the case of G7, it’s the B note. So you can play the Bm7b5 arpeggio over the G7 chord. It would spell out a dominant 9 chord without the root. Related to G7 the notes of the Bm7b5 chord gives you the 3rd, the 5th, the 7th and the 9th. So you got the two most important notes from the chord (the 3rd and the 7th), you got the 5th and a colour tone, the 9th.
From practice to expression.
Now its time to find the m7b5 arpeggio all over the fretboard, and were ready to go!
The sound of the arpeggio.
I think its a good idea to know in some way to distinguish the two sounds.
When using the chord in a Minor 6 context, the sound of the 6th is pretty significant. I normally relate it and use it in a Jazz-manoush context. With tunes like Minor Swing, Minor Blues and Douce Ambiance by Django Reinhardt. It has this dark and mysterious gypsy flavor which, among others, makes the music of Django Reinhard so significant. But of course the sounds would be a good flavor also when playing tunes from the standard jazz repertoire. Tunes like Blue Bossa, Lullaby of Birdland, Autumn leaves comes to mind.
When using the chord in a Dominant 7th context, it is the 9th which stands out. It gives you a sharp, cool and straight-to-the-point sound (at least in my mind). It works very well when playing blues tunes, standards, but basically in any 2-5 chord sequences it’s usable.
Practice suggestions.
Finding the arpeggios all over the freetboard and being able to play them is a lot of hard work, and I dont think there’s any easy way of learning it. 
When practising these arpeggios I suggest some common rules, which is important in any practice situation:
1) Start slow. Make sure each note is well articulated, before increasing the speed.
2) Practice in time. With backing tracks, Band in a Box or, a metronome or by tapping your foot.
3) Be consistent. To practice regularly and focused (maybe only 15 minutes) over a given period of time (maybe three weeks) is often the most effective way of learning.
4) Variation. Transpose the arpeggios in different keys and octaves. Don’t start the arpeggio from the same note each time. Experiment with phrasing, pauses, repetition etc. Only your imagination is the limit!
That’s all, enjoy!
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This part is about improvisation and is a follow up on How High The Moon – Part one
In this article I’d like to share some ideas on how you can improvise over the tune. Improvisation is a big topic and there are endless ways of doing it, understand it and learn it. I don’t think there’s one right way to learn it, I think it’s about finding out what you want to say and how you want to do it. A lot of people describe good improvisation like ‘telling a story’. I think that’s a good way to see it: To tell a story about something you think is important. But before we can tell such a story we need to have the basic tools to express it. I hope this article can be a help to find or develop these tools. Enjoy!
Playing chord tones.
This is rather simple, but a very effective way of making good melodic lines in your improvisation. So lets do the theoretical stuff first and then talk about how we can apply it.
In the first 4 bars of How high the moon we have following progression: / G / G / Gm7 / C7 / In order to play chord tones we need to analyse each chord:
G major: G (root), B (3rd), D (fifth) and an extension: normally a F# (Maj7) or a E (6th).
Gm7: G (root), Bb (minor 3rd), D (5th) and F (7th).
C7: C (root), E (3rd), G (5th), Bb (b7th)
G major is the 1 chord of the G major scale
Gm7 and C7 are the 2 and 5 chords of the F major scale respectively.
G major scale: G, A, B, C, D, E, F#
F major scale: F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E
(Notice which notes differs from the two scales!)
Now, the next part here is to connect the chords with the each other throughout the changes. This is also called playing the changes. When you connect each chord with each other you (and the audience) will hear how the chord changes and it will give you a more ‘jazzy sound’.
In order to do that we have to see which notes differs from one another in each chord. And we have to know which notes is defining each chord the most.
In jazz the most important notes in the chords are the 3rd and the 7th. If we compare a Gmaj7 with a Gm7 we’ll see that the root and the 5th are the same in both chords, but the 3rd and the 7th of each chord changes.
An example of how to apply it:
When you go from a Gmaj7 to the Gm7, try to go from the B note (the 3rd of GMaj7) to the Bb note (the 3rd of Gm7). So you hit the Bb note on the first measure of 3rd bar of the song (the Gm7). You’ll clearly hear how tonality changes and the shift from major to minor. You’ll go from a ’safe’ or ‘pretty’ sound to a more ’sad’ or ’sentimental’ sound. 
When doing this it’s a good idea to start simple and practice in a slow tempo and then increase the tempo when you feel you got it. (I highly recommend this approach for everything you practice). Try to make a simple melody with the chord tones and don’t be afraid of pauses.
8th notes and strong and weak beats
To be aware of 8th notes and strong and weak beats is a way you can create long and elegant lines in your improvisation.
First 8th notes: A bar got 4 beats: 1, 2, 3, 4. Now count the four beats but with an ‘&’ between. Like this: 1&2&3&4. We now have 8 beats. If you play a note on each of the beats you’re playing in 8th notes. We can distinguish between strong and weak beats among these 8 notes. We call them strong beats because we tend to hear the beats 1, 2, 3, 4 better than the ‘off beats’ (The &’s).
Now you can try to make lines where you put the chord tones on the strong beats and non-chord tones on the weak beats.
I will spell out a line over a 2-5-1 in F (Gm7-C7-F). Remember we have 8 notes to play for each measure.
/ Bb-C-DE-F-F#-G-A / Bb-B-C-D-E-F-G-G# / A
So here the chord tones are in bold. And the last note is an A, the 3rd of the F major chord. Always good to end you line on a 3rd on the first beat of the bar.
On the off beats you can play whatever you like. A good way to spice up your lines is playing notes outside the scale on the off beats when it fits. When you work with your lines, you can, as an exercise, tell your self that you have 8 notes and then try to put chord tones on each uneven number. It’s a great exercise to get familiar with all the chord tones and to be aware of how you end and start your lines.
Notice how I’ve underline some of the notes, this is where the notes are connected chromatically. To use chromatics is a great way to make your lines flow elegantly through the changes.
It’s a common technique in bebop improvisation, even though I only see it as a small part of getting the ‘bebop sound’ (which is indeed also has to do with, rhythm, syncopation and accent).
For more info about bebop lines and chromatic lines I recommend this site.
Ornithology.
Charlie Parker was the great pioneer in the bebop revolution in the 1940’s. He experimented with altered chords, soloing with the upper extensions of the chords, rhythm and syncopation. His tunes or ‘heads’ was typically based on 3 different kind of chord progressions:
1) Blues: Bloomdido, Chi Chi..
2) Rhythm changes: Anthropology, Moose the Mooche..
3) The popular tunes of the day: Donna Lee, Scrapple from the Apple, Ko-Ko. Was based on the changes of ‘Back home again in Indiana’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and ‘Cherokee’ respectively.
In this case his ‘head’ Ornithology is created over the changes of High high the Moon. A study of the head of Ornithology compared to the melody of How high the Moon, is a good way to see two very different approaches to the same changes. Both ’styles’ would be good to use in your improvisation: The rhythmically simple, melodic chord-tone way of How high the Moon and the rhythmically sophisticated bebop way with extensions and altered notes of Ornithology. For further study the ‘Charlie Parker Omnibook’ is the the ‘bible’ for most bebop’ers. It contains transcriptions of most of his tunes and his solo’s.
Playing Arpeggios.
This is a good way to “mix up” your lines if you usually play scales. Django Reinhardt used this technique a lot. I will divide this in two areas:
1) Inside-arpeggios. Are arpeggios which stays in the given tonality. So over an G major chord you can play any chord from the scale of G major: Gmaj7, Am7, Bm7, Cmaj7, D7, Em7 F#m7b5. Of course some works better than other. Try to relate each chord to the G chord and see which notes each arpeggio contain.
A Bm7 arpeggio will give you the notes B, D, F# and A. So if we relate those notes to a G major chord we’ll have the 3rd (B), the 5th (D), Major 7 (F#) and the 9th (A). In other words a Gmaj9 chord without the root note (the G). A ‘nice’ and ‘airy’ sound and a good way to outline the changes (remember the 3rd and the 7th are the notes which are defining the chords the most).
Lets look at an Em arpeggio and relate it to the G major chord like we did before: Em7 contains the notes E, G, B and D. Related to the G chord we’ll have: the 6th (E), the Root (G ), the 3rd (B) and the 5th (D). in other words a G6 chord. A more ’stable’ and ’safe’ sound and also a very good way to outline the changes.
2) Outside-arpeggios:
These contains a note or notes which doesn’t belong to the tonality of the changes your playing. You can play any arpeggio you like. What’s matter is if it works and you like the sound of it. I will give a few examples of outside-arpeggios I like to use, so this is only an example to follow in finding sounds you like.
Diminished 7th arpeggios
Consist of minor 3rd intervals and is build from ’stacking 3rds’ from the diminished scale. The diminished 7th arpeggio has a symmetrical structure. It’s the same interval (minor 3rds) between the notes in the chords. That means we basically only got three different kind of a dim 7 chord. If you try to ‘build’ a dim 7th chord you’ll see why. Start on any given note. C for example. go up a minor 3rd and you’ll have Eb, then F# and then A. If you’ll do it again you will be back at the C note. You’ll have a Cdim7, Ebdim7, F#dim7 or Adim7. The notes are the same in each chord.
The dim7 arpeggio is very ‘effective’, it works on minor, dominant and diminished chords and it is pretty easy to apply.
So in How high the moon we have / Gm7 / C7 / a 2-5 in the key of F. You can use a diminished arpeggio over both chords. But which diminished arpeggio?
From a minor 7th chord you can start your arpeggio from the root of the chord. In this case with a Gm7 you can play a G dim7 arpeggio (you can also see it as a Bb, Db or E dim7 arpeggio): G, Bb, Db and E. That will give you the root (G), the minor 3rd (Bb), a b5 (Db) and a 6th (E). So here the outside note is the Db, which will give you the sound of a Gm6b5 chord. And a ‘dark’ or ‘bluesy’ flavour.
You can use the same G diminished 7th scale over the C7 chord. You’ll get the 5th (G), the 7th (Bb), the b9 (Db) and the major 3rd (E). This will give your lines a sound of a Dominant7b9 chord. A ‘unstable’ or ’sharp’ sound.
Pauses.
This is a very effective way of making your playing more pleasant and laid-back. I think it’s not often we talk about pauses or space in improvisation, we are more concerned of what we wish to play than what we not wish to play. In my opinion pauses it’s a way of putting more awareness into your music and to listen more.
It should be rather easy to hold pauses in our playing, we can just stop! But I think some are afraid of get lost if they’re not playing the changes all the time. Some are maybe not comfortable with the silence. But there’s no need to fear it! It’s like a good conversation. Sometimes you’re saying something spontaneous, then you take a moment to reflect about what you’ve just said. Then you think about how you can express your self the best way in your next sentence. It’s a way of letting your lines ‘breathe’ and to make the audience and the band mates digest your ’story’.
How to do it:
First of all think about you don’t have to play everything you can! When we’re playing we have all our personal vocabulary which we use in different situations. So when you’re playing over a certain chord or passage and you start to use your usual ‘tricks’, try to stop it. Make a pause, listen to the groove and see if some new idea spontaneous comes to mind and do that instead. It’s better than the usual licks we more or less mindless normally pulls off. This is a good way of breaking up our usual licks and habits.
For a simple exercise to get started, you can do like this: start a backing track with a tune you know well. Then start your lines on the second beat of the bars. Get use to the feeling of letting the first beat start before you do something.
If you listen to the old masters you’ve hear how they do it. Another good exercise is to do like this: Take a good tune you like. Confirmation by Charlie Parker is a good example. Then count along the recording (tap your foot or your finger in 1,2,3,4) and listen to where on the beat he starts his lines.
Next you can experiment with different places to you start and end your lines. The important thing is to have some variation and have a good sense of time.
Tension and release.
We could also call this ‘building a climax’. The idea, as pointed out in the first part of this guide to How high the moon, is about getting home in a good way. One of the ways we can make interest in our improvisation is to create tension and then release it. It’s like a telling good story, and in literature there’s tons of stories with the Home-away theme. You’ll start your journey and experience all kinds of exiting things and get home as a new man! So how do we apply that? It’s a big and very interesting subject, so I will only talk briefly about it and give a common example:
 
First take your instrument and play a 2-5-1 in any key. Play it slowly and pay attention to each note of each chord. You’ll hear how it feels like ‘getting home’ when you end on the 1 chord: It’s safe and stable. So it’s typically over dominant 7th chords you would create tension. For example when playing over a turn around or at the end of the A or B sections.
In How high the moon, try to do it in the end of the A section (bar 15 and 16) and the B section (29 and 30) and release it when you “get home” on the G chord.

So how do you create tension? There are several ‘tricks’ you can use:

– Play harder, louder more intense. (Check out Django Reinhardt’s solo on ‘I’ll see you in my dreams’ from 1:09 – 1:16).
– Play notes outside the tonality. For example an outside-arpeggio.
– Play fast! (Check out Sonny Stitt on Just Friends 1:15 – 1:28).
– Play a repetitive pattern. (Guitarist Grant Green was great at this. check his solo on Alone Together 3:19 – 3:32 ).

After you’ve created tension, now you can release by showing you’re ‘home again’:

– Play soft, quiet and calm.
– Use silence.
– Play melodic or a small part of the original head (It will make it obvious to everybody that you’re home again).
– Play ’stable notes’ or ‘inside notes’.

There are endless possibilities of doing it. And it’s a good way to avoid monotony in your playing. It can seem a bit awkward to do it like following a manual like this example, but it’s a good place to start until it begins to feel natural.

Practice time!

As mentioned earlier I think the very best way to practice is to start slow and simple and then increase the tempo when you got it. Play along your favorite recordings of the tunes. Use backing tracks. The best ones I’ve used so far is by Jamey Aebersold. In his vol. 6 “All bird” you’ll find Ornithology and other Parker backing tracks. You can also find How high the Moon and a lot of other good backing tracks here. If you’re in to a jazz-manouche style of backing track, you can use this one (Be aware of a mistake in the displayed chord changes).
So, lock the door, turn off the phone and kick out your girlfriend – for a while! Or throw out your TV and buy a metronome! As a fellow guitarist once told me. A just go for it. But in all seriousness; isolation and focus on only one thing can get you very far, but of course in the right doses. I guess we all have to find our own ‘golden mean’ which work for us.

I’ll finish this guide to How high the Moon with a Louis Armstrong quote, which I think expresses what it’s all about: Playing good, honest, swingin’ music.

There is two kinds of music the good and bad. I play the good kind”.

– Yes you did!
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How high the moon (1940) by Morgan Lewis, a nice and easy-going jazz standard, with a catchy melody. A pretty common tune in the gypsy jazz repertoire as well. Contemporary guitarist Adrien Moignard plays a good version of it in that tradition on youtube. For a quite different version check out Louis Armstrongs bassist Arvell Shaw play it here. He plays both the head and a long solo. It’s pretty impressive!
My favourite version is by Sonny Stitt and can be found on the album “How high the moon” with Sonny Stitt and Friends. Look out for a very cool and straight-to-the-point-intro!

So first of all, why do we chose to learn/play the tunes we do? There can be several reasons: You’ve joined a band who plays it, it’s a common tune played at jam sessions, your teacher urge you to learn it, you want to study the theory etc. But I think the best reason we can have for playing the tunes we do, is that we like them! This is often the best motivation. But here we go:

For learning this tune (and more or less every jazz standard) the following list would be a good start:

1: Find a good vocal version
One you really like and learn the lyrics by heart. It will be easier to remember and you get a more “personal” approach to the song. Instead of just learning a chord chart. You can almost always find a good version of the most popular jazz standards by some of the old masters; Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Anita O’day, Nat King Cole etc. For free versions use youtube.com, deezer.com or your local library for example.
2: Finding the sheet. 
Of course the best thing would be to workout every note and all harmonies by ear, but for most of us that demands a very good ear, a lot of time and a lot of hard work (although I don’t doubt it will pay of in the end). But until then you can find the basic changes in the Vanilla book. I think this is a good way to start. Start to learn the changes in their most simple form: major, minor, dominant, diminished without too many substitutions and extensions. Later on when you know the fundamental changes of the tune, you can start re-harmonizing. 
3: What is the form and tonality? 
Most standards are in AABA, AB, ABC or AAB forms.
Look out for which chord the song is ending on. It is often the first chord in the tune, but not always!
Tonality in this case is G major, and the form is AB. Where the last eight bars in the B section differs from the last eight bars in the A section.

4: Study the changes.
A: / G / G / Gm7 / C7 / F / F / Fm7 / Bb7 /
/ Eb / Am7b5 D7 / Gm / D7 / G / Am7 D7 / Bm7 Bb7 / Am7 D7 /
B: / G / G / Gm7 / C7 / F / F / Fm7 / Bb7 /
/ Eb / Am7 D7 / G / Cm6 / Bm7 Bb7 / Am7 D7 / G / (Am7 D7) /

A good approach is to take 8 bars at a time and see what happens: 
/ G / G / Gm7 / C7 / F / F / Fm7 / Bb7 /
Tonality is G major. To bars of G major, going to one bar of G minor, to one bar of C7, making a II-V in F, which leads to the F major of the forth and fifth bar. Again major becomes minor in bar 7 and make a II-V in Eb major (Fm7-Bb7) which leads to the first chord of the next 8 bars.

So the tonality changes 3 times in the first 8 bars: We have 2 bars of G major, 4 bars of F major and 2 bars of Eb major. And tonality is descending in whole-steps: G to F to Eb.

Next 8 bars: / Eb / Am7b5 D7 / Gm / D7 / G / Am7 D7 / Bm7 Bb7 / Am7 D7 /

One bar of Eb major, then one bar of a II-V in G minor, which leads to one bar of G minor, then one bar of the dominant seventh (the V chord) of G major, which leads to one bar of G major, one bar of a II-V in G major, then a two-bar turnaround of descending II-V’s in A major and G major respectively. This finish the A section and leads to the G major in the first bar of the B section.

Notice two things!  
First: turnarounds can be voiced in many different ways. Alternatively we could play the last two bars like this: / G E7 / Am7 D7 / a I-VI-II-V progression and make the II-V in bar 6 lead to the G chord. On the other hand the original turnaround (Bm7-Bb7-Am7-D7) gives you a nice descending bass line: B-Bb-A. (alternatively you can even make a flat 5 substitution of the D7, which then becomes a Ab7, giving you Ab in the bass and therefore the base line: B-Bb-A-Ab. And now the B section will start with a G major chord, and then we will have a G in the bass, and voilà! A long elegant descending bass line).
Second: when you substitute chords you have to be aware of the melody note. In bar 7 the melody note is D, and we don’t want that to clash with the chords we are playing. The D note works with the G chord (the 5th), with E7 (the 7th), with the Bm7 (the 3rd) and with the Bb7 (the 3rd as well). So both turnarounds will workout fine.

So the tonality changes 3 times: From Eb (bar 1) major to G minor (bar 2 and 3) to G major (bar 4-6) to A major (bar 7) to G major (bar 8). Bar 7 can also be seen as in the key of G major, in my opinion is redundant to say we change tonality, but we do it here for the sake of argument. The Bm7-Bb7 could be seen as a II-V leading to A minor. Strictly speaking the Bb7 belongs to the Eb major scale, but here it’s used as a b5 substitution of E7, which can be seen as a substitution of Em7 which is the 6th in the scale of G major. But in short, the important thing is to make a turnaround which leads smoothly back to the G chord, without clashing with the melody notes.
Let’s move on to the B section.
Okay, the first 8 bars of the B section is the same as the A section, so no problems here.
Last 8 bars: / Eb / Am7 D7 / G / Cm6 / Bm7 Bb7 / Am7 D7 / G / (Am7 D7) /

One bar of Eb major, one bar of a II-V in G major, which leads to one bar of G major, going to a Cm6 (! I’ll get back to that), to one bar of Bm7-Bb7; a II-V in A major, with the Bb7 being a flat 5 substitution of the normal V-chord, E7. In bar 6 the II-V in G leads “back home” to the tonality and end of the song; G major.
In the last bar you normally play a II-V leading to the beginning of a new chorus if you’re not ending the song. 

So back to the Cm6 chord in bar 4. In the Realbook they suggest Am7-D7 in that bar. The melody notes is A, B and C, which is the 6th, the mMaj7 and the root of the Cm6 chord. All notes works pretty well with that chord. In relation to Am7-D7 the notes A, B and C are the root, the 6th of Am7 and the 7th of D7 respectively. All notes works pretty well too. Cm6 has the advantage of making a descending bass line (C-B-Bb-A..). On the other hand the chord will give us one bar with a whole new tonality: The 3rd in the Cm6 chord (Eb) will stick out. (remember the Cm6 can also be seen as a Am7b5 or F9 without the root).
With the Am7-D7 as the Realbook suggest, we stay in key of G major. If you’re the only chordal instrument in the given group, you can do pretty much as you like. It’s really a matter of taste and what you feel like. Try to make turnarounds which smoothly leads back to the root chord and don’t clash with the melody notes. It is very important that not only you, but also you’re band mates are sure of where you’re going. In the end it is all about getting « home » in a good way. Follow your heart.. and your ears!

5: Practice the changes with a metronome and/or play along with your favourite versions of the tune. To practice with a metronome is maybe hard and sometimes boring, but very rewarding. Playing along with recordings is fun and inspiring!
So, this was the first part. Next in part 2 I will talk about the melody and improvisation ideas I like. And about Charlie Parker and his piece made over the same changes: Ornithology.

Hope you liked this first lesson/guide in my blog and learned something, feel free to leave a message!

Somewhere there’s music / how faint the tune..

All the best, Bjorn.
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Hello and welcome to this blog which will be all about jazz music. The theory, the players, the jazz scene, improvisation, different styles etc. I hope to give my articles a philosophical twist and leave room for different interpretations. Most things in life aren’t just black and white, and in certainly not in the world of jazz! On the other hand we must have a solid ground to stand on to avoid that everything drifts away in relativity.

So I want to write about the theory, which would be the objective part, but also cover the subjective aspects. An example: A Cmaj7 chord consist of the notes C, E, G and B. We can all agree on that. But what does it sound like? To most people maj7-chords “pretty” and “light”. What chord would we substitute it with and in which context? Do we want to extended it with a 9th or11th and why? And so forth. These questions does not have a right or wrong answer. We all have our own reasons to prefer one over the other. And in the end our preferences and our way of dealing with these question is what makes us who we are and how we express ourself. But that’s a big discussion worth itself. And I hope you’ll fell free to leave comments and participate with your opinions in the debate!

So, expressed in another way, it is often important to have a foundation of more or less common knowledge before going in to a big metaphysical discussions where right and wrong doesn’t matter any more.

To quote Charlie Parker:

“You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail”

But anyway, this first article won’t be that philosophical. It will be a lesson or a guide to learn a great old jazz standard: “How high the moon”. I Recommend some basic knowledge of jazz theory. I won’t be explaining all the concepts in this round, but if there is an interest in it, I will do an article later on about the basic concepts of jazz theory. I hope you’ll find some new ideas, discover new approaches to the tune or best of all; that you will be inspired!

Enjoy!

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