improvising over 251's

  • anyone have any ideas about getting some "colour" into my playing whilst improvising over 251's. i use the "parent" major and major pentatonic scales and 1357 and 3579 arpeggios and the chromatic scale but need some ideas to get away from these. thanks and cheers from the uk!

    by Brainy on 12/03/2011, 07:22:48 # 49197

  • i don't think there is a short answer to your question.  it seems like you have a basic understanding of the 251.  you might be at the point where you need to get your head out of "theory" and just listen and experiment; a lot.  the "paint by number" system you mentioned, can get you started, but it can also be very limiting if you stay within those confines. having said that, if you would rather stay within those confines for a while, i would suggest trying to be as creative as you can using fewer notes while exploring the use of different rhythms and  space between ideas.  try some stinky notes too:)

    by Dr. Whack on 12/03/2011, 08:13:17

  • ...and i refuse to apologize for my username:)

    by Dr. Whack on 12/03/2011, 08:14:15

  • look up bert ligon's website and books.

    by Glanddoc on 12/04/2011, 08:34:53

  • yes, "connecting chords with linear harmony" by bert  
    ligon is a great book for 251 ideas. i also have enjoyed the jammey aebersold  play along. the booklett that comes with the play along has lots of nice 251 patterns.

    by Paul on 12/05/2011, 07:46:57

  • perhaps the short answer is to introduce some alterations to the dominant chord on v. this allows you to use some different scales on the v chord too, such as:

    dm7 - g7#5 - cmaj7 - whole tone scale on g7.
    dm7 - g7b9 or #9 - cmaj7 - diminished scale on g7 (half step first).
    dm7 - g7alt - cmaj7 - altered scale on g7.
    dm7 - db13 - cmaj7 - lydian dominant scale on db.

    this last option give the same scale as g7 altered...

    by DrJazz on 12/09/2011, 18:17:46

  • the best way to figure these things out is to do a few transcriptions. if you want some tasty, tasty, tasty stuff, find something easy that billy taylor played, or hank jones, or check out some bill evans transcriptions.

    doing one transcription improves your playing more than almost anything else. seriously.

    by Scot Ranney on 12/10/2011, 13:11:35

  • i think i know what you're looking for. have you tried working in enclosure patterns or approach notes into your playing?  

    they work great because they use chromaticism to target certain chord tones or landing points.  also, they can be used to delay your resolution and create some longer lines.  

    they're an essential part of the bebop vocabulary.  transcribe some lines of charlie parker, bud powell, or sonny still.  they use them all the time.  i first learned about them when listening to barry harris.

    i've shot a few free tutorial lick lessons as well for fun.  all the licks have some sort of enclosure or approach patterns in there.  let me know if there's anything else i can help you with?

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/2011/09/16/barry-harris-jazz-piano-lick-lesson/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/2011/11/05/how-to-play-a-bebop-piano-lick-ii-valt-i/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/2011/09/30/jazz-turn-around-lick-lesson/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/2011/09/09/ii-v-i-jazz-lick-in-minor-lesson/

    by freejazzlessons on 12/11/2011, 04:35:53

  • hey all,
      i'm sorry about this but the links above don't work anymore.  i'm receiving over 10 emails a week on this from ljp fans asking me about the dead links.  sorry about that!  here are the correct and working links:)

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/barry-harris-jazz-piano-lick-lesson/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/how-to-play-a-bebop-piano-lick-ii-valt-i/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/jazz-turn-around-lick-lesson/

    https://www.freejazzlessons.com/ii-v-i-jazz-lick-in-minor-lesson/


    scot, feel free to merge these two posts if you like.  thanks and hope you guys enjoy.

    by freejazzlessons on 02/15/2012, 18:21:12

  • play by ear. just let your finger drop. listen to what's being played. resolve what you think you have to.

    by casparus on 02/17/2012, 12:08:45


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