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DAVID N. BAKER'S MODERN JAZZ SERIE

IMPROVISATIOF{AI PATTERNS

rHE BLUES

FOR ALt TREBLE CIEF INSTRUMENTS

CHARLES COLIN -

,t A,

I7-)

Yl

mauro grossi

musicista

ty'ia

cji Salvrano. rr

, f/124 Uvomo - ltatia

- Tel. e Fax 0586

ffig7äg

Celt. 328 2298912

315 West 53rd St., New York, N.Y. 10019

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PREEACE

"lmprovisational Patterns:

The Blues" is a part of a series of

.improvisafional

books predicated on the belief that

eras and styles,

the greater.

pattern

while certain patterns seem to transcend

bgdy of

materials is of

specificity with regard to its timeänd

the subjects of the other books in this

and 3) and

high

ptacä within

the jazzcontinuum. Unlike

t, z

does

series "The Beb;;-dr;;öiles

"Contemporary Patterns,"the

blues ir trrti a music which

indeed transcend eras and styles and it is

universal quality which is addressed in this book.

this p"ruu"riu", ubiquitous and

@.Copyright 1980

by CFARLES COLIN, 315 W.53rd

St., New york,

International _ Copyright Securäri

N.y. 10019

Made in U.S.A.

AI Rights Reserved

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TABLE OF CONTEIITTS

Scale Syllabus

Chapter l.

The Blues: An

Essay.

The Performers Boogie Woogie Discography

4

6

8

9

9

Chapter ll.

Chapter III.

Chapter lV.

Some Suggestions for Using

This Book. SignalsintheBlues Blues Patterns

(1) Some Model Solos Based on Various Sets of Blues

(2) Some Model Solos Making

14

1,4

15

16

.26

.46

Exclusive Use of

Specific Scales.

WholeTone

Diminished

Diminished Whole

46

47

.49

Lydian

TthScales

50

52

Pentatonics

and

Blues Scales

(3)

(4)

16BarBlues

BlueswithBridges

Minor

Blues

(5) Variations on

Changes

.53

59

63

66

77

Chapter V.

Some

Popular Boogie Woogie

Patterns

75

Chapter Vl.

Chapter VII.

Chapter Vlll.

Chapter lX.

Some Common Riffs and Backgrounds

to be Used as Models

.

.

.

.

80

Some Model Piano Voicings for

the Blues

85

Some Model Bass Lines Based on

Basic Blues Changes

89

Some Original Blues Compositions for

StudyandPerformance

92

(1) Brother

(2)

(3)

Line

for Wes

Blues for Bird

:

.

92

.

.92

.

93

(4) The Naptown

(5) The Felix Walk (with bass

line).

.93

.94

(6) Herman's Theme (with bass line). 96

(7) Le Miroir Noir (with bass line)

from the original recording

(8) TerribleT(with bass

. (9) Mon (L'odeur du Blues) with the

.98

.99

solo line from the original

recording

(10) Kentucky

Oysters (composition

100

and David Baker's transcribed

solo from the original

recording)

102

(11) Honesty

(cr,.rmposition and David

Baker's transcribed solo from the

original recording

105

SCALE SYLLABUS

Relationship Of Chords To Scales

Cho.d Typ. (t)

Major-13579

Major(14)13S79[1 1

Major(14Is) j 3

{s 7 911 1

Major(b619)1gsz gir

Major13579

Major13S79

il;;;;;;;;

Chord typ!

minor, tonic (l) Function .

minorTth(r)Funcrion

Major Famity

.

.

rr

Scrlr Form

.Major12345678

.Lydian12314567g

Lydian Augmenred.l

2 3fl4 [56 78

.Augmented1 1235 b67 1

diminished 1 b2b3!39456 b78

234sb678

brueslb3q3414Sb78 ::lT:l'cM_ajor1

mjnorpentatonic 1!34s Majorpentatonjc 1 23 S6 g

b7g

minor Family

Scsle Form

Dorian 1zbg4'6b7 I

Nalurat minor 1 Z

phrysian 1 bZß 4 sb6b7 I

bg Ä S b6 b7 I

Ascending Melodic

12b34567a

minor

Harmonic minor 1 Zb3 4 5167I

mrnor pentalonjc 1 b3 4 5 b7 S

;:,,il,T;tilitlrrt

Ascending melod jc

12b345678

minor

Fjarmonic minor 1

minor pentatonic 1

213 4 Sb67 1

b3 4 5 b7 g

örues1b334i4578

dimjnished (start wirh

whote step)

| 2b348415678

Cho.d Typo

Dominanl 7th

13s b79

unattered .

Dominant 7th

lrr

135 b79t1 1

Oominant 7th

13bs17

b5, 15 or

r 3f5 b7

13(bsis)b7

Dominanl Family

Sc.l6 Fo|m

Mjxolydian t ZeqSAbt A

Lydian Dominant 1 Major Penratonjc 1

2 g 14 5 6 b7 I

23 5 6 8

minor pentatonic 1 b3 4 s 67 I

ulues 1 b3 13 4i4 5b7 I . Lydian domjnant

1231456b78

WholeToner 23r4f5d6

4

Chord Typc

DominantTth(bg)

--

135b7bö'

Dominant 7th 19 .

1 35 bTls

Dominant 7th bg and f 9

Dominant

7rh bs and bg

D o m i n a n t 7 t h

Dominant 7th

bs and b9 13 b5 b7 bg

ls

and $e 13 ls

b7 is

b5 anrr is 13 b5 b7*9

fs and Us 13 ls

b7 b9

(and/combination)

Seda Form

Diminished

1b2Fl3l4s6b78

Diminishedlb2ß 13i45b78

Diminished wnole tone

1b2 13!3f4ls168

Dorian12t3456b78

Brues I b3!34$45b7I

ritinor oentatonic 1 b3 4

5 b7 I

. diminisheö1b2b3 !3h56 b78

diminished whole tone

1 b2 b3 13 i4 t516 I

minor pentatonic 1 b3 4 5 b7 I

Elues 1 b3 !3 414 5 b78

o,',"iTr"i, 13 g4 s 6 b7 s

diminished whole tone

1b2ß!3 14 lsü68

minor pentatonic 1 b3 4 5 b7 8

Bruesl b3!34f45b78

diminisheo scale

1bzt3 13$456b78

minor pentatonic

1b345 b78

Brues 1 b3 134$45b78

Halt-dlminlshed chords

chord Typ.

(halt{iminished7th

(ö7)

minor 7th (b5)

1b3bsb1b3bsb7

diminished 7th

(o7)

1 b3 b56

&t2

Scda Form

Locrian 1b2b34b5bob78

locrian $2 -

1 2 t3 4 b5 bo

b7 I

diminished (start with whole step)

12b3414fs678

brues 1 b3 13 414 s b7 8

dlminished chords

. diminished scale (starl with whole step)

12b34141567I

The Btues

The blues has had a profound influence on American music. It is without a doubt the most widelv used sono form in black popular music and jazz. As a iorm and ai influence, the blues can be found in much music of the

theatre, and in country and western music. lt is the foun.

dation of much gospel music,

compositions, much rock and roll music,

most rhythm and blues

all booqie

forÄs,

woogie. as well as other universally popular song

and it has shown a decided influence on some European Art music.

A cu.sory examinatjon of all the recorded iazz music

would probably reveal

of blues and blues-influenced

an unbelievably high percentage

compositions, as well äs

blues.influenced performances.

higher in certain

days of Bebop it

without a blues on it.

Tire yield would be

the halcyon

eras than in others. During

was rare.to find a ZB and later an L.p.

It is

not an accident that almost without exceDtion the

have influenced the flow of

-well.rooted

iazz have

been

in

players who

great blues players and,/or composers

blues: Louis Armctrong, Jelly Ro|l j{orton, Count

Lester young, Charlie parker,

Basie, Earl Hines,

Dizzy Gillesple,

Charles

Thelonlous

ltonk,

Sonny Rolling,

Archie

Shepp,

llingua, Ornette Coleman,

and othe.s.

These

men and others, often as not, chose the blues as

improvisation for many reasons, some of

vehicles fo.

which follow:

1. T}le blues is a highly flexible

form with exceedingly

chords).

simple harmonic structure (thfee

2. lt

allows extreme latitude for musical exDression

issuing
J.

- lne blues

out of this simplicity.

provides a compositional

type common

to the background of every would-be jazz player ir-

respective

preference.

of era, musical persuasion or stylistic

4. The blues is a form that can be .endered

as simple

or as complex as the individual performer/com.

poser desires.

5. The

ubiquity of the blues (via radio, T.V., church,

nightclub, etc.) provides a form with which

jukebox,

most

aspiring jazz players are at least superficiallv

conversant.

In addition

rormat . Dtues

which borrow

to those compositions actually

employing a

structure, lhere are countless compositionS

heavily on the other components

oi blues_

e.g., "Worksong by Nat Adderley, "Moanin'by Bobbv

Timmona, Hummin

by flat

by Horace Sllver and others.

Sister

Sadier.

Many jazz

players-Oscar peteraon, Horace Sllver.

Wes llortgomery, Irült Jacklon, Stanley Turrentlne,

and others-show a decided propensity

fär convertinq

typ;s.-This metamorphosis i!

pop compositions to blues

usually brought about by

scale, blue notes, certain characteristics inflections and

the imposition of tÄe blues

phrases, and the unique use

Whatever the means used to effect the

of characteristic rhythms.

change. ail good

jazz playeß evince some aural evidences of their blues

roots. What are the musical characteristics of

the blues? Most

of

flexibility, the

blues utilize a twelve measure structure consistino

three chords. Because of the exceptionally pers;nal

nature of the blues and its extraordinary

measure structure might include seven, ten, eleven, thir-

teen, seventeen or any other amount of measures. (Form,

struqture. internal arrangement are always subservient to

content

in the blues and most other African derived

musics,) The cirord sequence

without

might also vary greatly

its identity. For in-

causing the blues to lose

stance. many blues even have a bridge or releaje section.

I he (u) section ot the bfldge ts the secuon wnere new contrasting material is introduced, (i.e.,

i-

ABA

12---l

l*8*r

'--12-.

arbitrary number or bars.)

Examples of such compositions are "Bill not phil" by Bil

_

Harria, "Traneing

otnerS.

In"

by John Coltrane and;an)

In many instances instrumental blues in the iazz tradt-

tion tends to.be more predictable and

(symmetrical) with

regular in structure

by Ornette

the exception of biues

Coleman and those

of similar persuasion. (Many avanr-

the säme irregularitiei,

asyrr"

garde players tend toward

metricalities 9nd freedom indigenous to many voca

blues.) The Classic Blues,"

sophisticated forms have

'Ctty

settjed

Blues" and.othär more

into reqular forma

oatterns) often a.t

the expense of vitality, spontaneity anä the demands oi

content.

While blues instrumentalists of the iazz oenre have

structures (twelve or sixteen measure

tended to

numDer ot measures in a blues

_accept

certain

regularities

wiih relard to the

16,

etc.).

(i.e., 12, g.

"Watermelon

Man," Herbie Hancock-16

bars-

Ollver Nelson-16 bars, thev have

"Stolen Moments,"

been less wedded to the

sanctity of the original simple I

c-hords foi the

example l, p. 10.)

lV V progression. Some of the iubstitute

instrumental blues follows. (See

Some examples of altered bluej are:',.Dahomev

Dance, John Coltrane;

pin at Bells," l|llles Davis;

Ornette Coleman.

Honesty,'David Baker;

"When

Sip

Will the Blues Leave,'

Likewise, jazzmen have been much less

/

12y8 metric scheme

riqid in their

prevalent in

adherence to the 4/4

vocal blues, Virtually every meter and combination of

meters has been used in jazz blues,

514 + 614,7/8 + 5t8 ad infinitum.

i-e., 6/A,314, 514,714.

Some sample compositions include:

3t4

"Valse Hot"-Sonny Rolllng

"Kentucky

"Terrible T"-Davld

Oysters"-Davld Baker

Baker

Compound 6/4-5l4

Hartley

414 I 314 I 214 I

''Four-Five-Six''-Lanny

Amalgam

"Blues in Orbit"-Georg€ Ruasell

12t8

Davlg

Baker

"All

"Roly

"Foot

Blues"-i[llee

Poly''-Davtd

Prints"-llilea DavlE

"Senor

Blues"-Horace Sllver

"Mohawk"-J.J. Johnaon

etc.

The next musical consideration is that

Perhaps it would be best

As would be expected

of melody.

to first examine vocal blues,

the range

of most vocal blues

melodies because of voice limitations is much narrower

(range and general placement within

the range) than in-

strumental blues with two, three, four or mori octave in.

struments, lr ost vocal blues melodies, with the exceo-

tions of falsettos and other dramatic note disolacement!.

Many of these bluäs melodies

tfe sorrow songs and other

tour and trve note melodies-

are strongly reminiscent of

rarely exceed an oqtave.

Vocal blues melodies while

derive.their personality from the

than the originality of the musical

highly personal usually

lyrics and/or style rather

line, which is often

a single melody

coÄpositioni.

trite, predictable and derivative. Often

will serve hundreds of disparate verses and

Blues melodies usually follow the tdnets of other vocal

forms of melody, i.e., essentially diatonic (pertaining to

major and minor scales and to the tonality

the standard

derived from these scales), symmetrical, relatively

predictable, and singable. Jazz instrumental blues melodies are often wider in

range than vocal melodies (althotjgh often much nar-

rower in expressive range). Of course, the wider range of

a commensurately greater

variety of melody types, asymmetrical, angular, wide

harmonic variation permits

range, dissonant, and unpredictable. Jazz melodies of the

blues variety are usually quite

and much

distinctive and individual

less likely to resemble all other blues

melodies. Of course, there are many exceptions such as

riff type melodies ("Now's the Time,"

With Sym-

"Jumpin

phony Sid") and many ultra-funky melodigs ("Sack O'

Blues"). Exceptions notwithstanding, the in-

dividuality of jazz blues is even apparent in works by the

Woe," "Cool

same composer, e.g., T. llonk's

"Misterioso," "Blue Monk"; or C, Parker's "Bongo Bop,"

"Straight No Chaser,"

"Au Privave,'' "Barbados," "Buzzy"; or George Russell's

for Bird,"

"Roly Poly," and "Brother." (See example 2, p. 11.) The vocal blues are usually on horizontal scales, such

as the blues scales, the major scale or some simple modal or pentatonic scale. (A horizontal scale is a scale which is

used to color an entire area of harmonic activity as in the

instance of blues.) The C blues would use one scale to col-

or all of the chords in the tune. (See examples 3 and 4, p.

"Stratusphunk," and Davld Baker's

"Blues

1z.l

These scales are usually much easier to hear and the

paucity of materials makes improvisation a lot less dif.

ficult and much more accessible to the novice as well as

the professional blues singer. These horizontal scales, of

course, offer the possibilities of the use of chordal

melodies drawn from scale tones.

The blues instrumentalist in jazz usually draws on a

much wider variety of scales, although the

and modal scales are still the most popular

(The horizontal scales are particularly

populqr among the soul jazz proponents, i.e,, Horace

blues changes.

blues, major

for realizing

Sllver, Ramsey Lewls, [.ou Donaldson, the Turren-

tine brothers, the Adderleya, et al.) Some of the other

scales with wide-spread currency and the manner in

which they are used to color the blues chords follow. (See

example 5, p. 13.)

Increased possibilities for harmonic variation, of

course, offer a broader base for using different scales,

(See example 6, p. 13.)

As with melodic and scalar possibiiities, rhlthmic

possibilities are much less vast for the blues singer than

the blues instrumentalist. Traditionally the instrumen.

talist (in whatever field) is usually

thought capable of han-

dling a greater variety of rhlthmic structures than the vocalist; consequently, instrumental blues (azz) music is

usually much richer is rhythmic materials and variety and contrast.

In the area of timbre, the.jazz blue instrumentalist has tended to borrow from the blues vocalist. ln fact, the in' süumentalist has tended to borrow all those things which were originally considered the domain of vocal music.

Things such as slides, fall'offs, slurs, grunts, yelps, rips, yodels and other such inflections have been added to the

instrumental color pallet. The instrumentalist has also added such idiosyncratic spinoffs from vocal practices as: lip trills, shakes, various articulations, flutter tongue,

muting effects, harmonics, and multiphonics (playing

two notes simultaneously on an instrument traditionally thought of as single Iined, i.e., trumpet). This wide choice of possibilities, of course, offers the blues vocalist and instrumentalist a great deal of room

for personalization,

This last is, of course, one of the ma-

jor factors which helps to define blues and jazz.

As near as can be ascenained, the blues did not exist in

the group work songs of that era did pro-

slavery although

vide an

important link. The work songs with their in-

evitable call-and-response patterns helped to provide a

form for the blues. But the work song with its inherent

rigidity lacked two vital elements, indigenous to ever the

earliest blues types,

personalization and flexibility.

A second and perhaps even more imPortant con.

tributory

element to the blues was the holler, The holler,

the work song, was not intended as a means of

group expression. The holler, in its earliest form, was a

means of communication, intensely personal and usually

unlike

wordless. It was functional. The cry was usually pitched

high and with sharp syllables to enable it to be heafd

across vast distances. So personal was the holler that around the countryside

a man could be easily identified by the Pitch, timbbre and

it became a

shape of his holler. As the holler evofued,

kind of fteely structured, usually modally derived phrase,

a single syllable), but

often melismatic (many pitches to

still highly personal.

According to Paul Oliver, the

adopted sound preference

of these later hollers was the

pentatonicscalewithab3andbT(i.e.,D E F C A B C

or the dorian scale).

The earliest blues, like the hollers, were modal in

character and showed a decided preference fo. the b3and a b7 (flatted third and flatted seventh). Even though the

blues, from the beginning, was essentially a solo form, it

retained the essential characteristics of the work

song-a

call.and-response pattern (couple and refrain). Prior to World War I it evolved into the relatively inflexible twelve measure three line form that we now know. Buy its very

nature, and the nature of the blues People, the form re-

mained subservient to the content but the model was

established. The blues could only have beeir born after a concept of

leisure time, however illusory, emerged. The blues from

the beginning

alone singing of personal tragedies, or chronicling his own heroic feats imagined or otherwise. During slavery

the concept of a black man alone with his thoughts was

inconceivable,

has been a means of self'expression, a man

In all probability the blues

pearance at the juke joints,

made their first public ap'

Saturday night fish fries,

country suppers, "bar.be-cues," and other social gather'

ings of black people. At any rate, by the time of the first

major migration to the cities by Blacks, the blues was

firmly established.

w

ft

Ihe Performere

It would be impossible to list all of the performers in

vocal blues and instrumental blues, but foiour purposes

it is possible to enumerate some of the more important blues singers and instrumentalists across the history of

black music.

These performers in vocal and instrumental music have come from diverse geographical, musical and philosophical situations. Each period in black music

.since the early 1920s has produced its great blues per- formers. Jazz produced great instrumentalists and blues great singers. It would be easier from our standpoint to

start with the great blues instrumentalists who have

issued from jazz.

'

Although few if any historians

would type l-ouls Arm.

fact that the spirit

playing

of his ear.

spontaneity

is at-

strong as a blues player per se, it is a of the blues is pervasive in much of the

ly

years. His

pedestrian "pop"

uncanny ability to invest even the most

tune with an air ofjazz

tributable largely to his feeling for the blues. Aside from

his extensive and skillful use of the blues scale and blue

notes, Armstrong's playing and

great deal

of

singing contained a

those things which we perceive as in-

digenous to the blues and roots oriented black music.

Armatrong's free and

imaginative

use of vibrato (par-

ticularly what Gunther Schuller in Earlv Jazz referi to

as terminal vibrato), his wide

his use of elision, slides, slurs, fall-offs, and his imDec-

repedory;f

shakes,

trills,

cable sense

of swing,

atl suggest that if

his playing did-not

drew very

come out of the blues, at the very least, it heavily from the same sources.

Most of the great and near great jazz bands of the late

1920s and 1930s emerging from the Southwest

(Kansas

City, Denver, etc.) were blues oriented bands. That is. their repertoire consisted primarily of blues and blues

type compositions. The

tion virtually assured a modicum

to the young musician from these areas. A cursorv ex-

recordings of Count Basle, Wiltcr

presence of a heavy blues tradi-

of experience with blues

Alphonsa

Trent,

Bnny

amination of the

P_age

and the Blue

Devils,

I{oten, and others will reveal an overwhelmino diet of

blues and blues influenced music.

While the number of brilliant bluesy'iazz soloists to

come out of this era and area is too vast

haustive approach, it behooves us to at least examine the

t;

warrant an ex.

work of the Count Easl€ soloist, who is

title of "the fifst great blues instrumentalist." Lester Young was the most important soloist to come

ffom the ranks of the Count Baale band. He was the ftrst

of the lreat instrumental players

priorities in

jazz, priorities inextricably linked to the blues. Young'e

most impo.tant contributions were basically melodic, his

usually given the

He

was largely respon,

sible for the reestablishment

of the rhythmic

experimentation

with sustained rubato phrasing and even

artlculated eighth notes was something

entirely new to

jazz, Young's musical though! flowed freely over barline,

not unlike his contemporaries

in vocal blues, His

lyricism

extended the traditional riff-style blues melodies com-

mon to soloists of his time.

often impressed many of his con-

comparison with

an,thing that had gone before. There is undeniably a

sense in which Young's approach to a chord progression

than that of any

Where Coleman Hawklna would exploit everv note in

Young's lyric style

temporaries with its sophistication in

was more ingenious

of his predecessors.

the chord, racing up and down the arpeggioi,

Young

would pass along the same harmonic path by means of

omission, implication and suggestion

endowing even the

familiar blues changes with a strange orientation by the

use of negleCed intervals,

pungency

called the

economy of notes and grert

of wit. lt is no wonder that Young has been

great epigramaticist

of

jazz.

His was

the splrit

of the blues singer-directness, economy of means.

irony, musical double entendre. Harmonically speaking, Young was th first to incor-

porate most of the revolutionary devices of the thirties in-

to his own style, Whether or not he introduced them is of

little consequence, for he was

the only

possessed

musically convincing.

the tastefulness required

iazz player who

to

make thern

In many of Young'! solos

groping

of the mid.thirties, one may

chromatic

detect the instinctive

toward

sions of descending minor sevenths, which was to

progres.

become a cliche in modern jazz blues playing some fif. teen years later. There has been much sDeculation and

dispute among critics as to whether or not young was ac.

tuglly thinking in terms of minor seventh progresiions, or

if he merely liked the sound

man had done as his partner

of something Binny Good.

on the Tcddy

Wlleon-BllUe

Hollday recording of "l Must Have Than Man."

In retrospect it seems only natural

that Young'r

inven.

tiveness would dictate a preference for tunes which mov.

ed in the conventional

"Blues," "Sweet, Georgiä Brown," and th-ousands of pöp

truly fascinating about his müsic

cycies

of resolvinq

sevenths

(e.q

tunes). Most of what is

stems

from the fact that, restricted

by the harmonic and pop tunes of

boundaries of the blues and most jazz

his time, he always

managed to replace ionventional

shapes

sounding at times

have the true

in fact,

structures with fresh, colorful

perversely complex, but which,

greatness of simplicity which is so characteristic of the

blues. lssuing directly out of the southwest, instrumental

blues and

the Lcster Young tradition,

is

another sax.

parkcr.

ophonist, Charlcr Chrlrtophcr (

Parkcr

like that of Jay llc8hann.

served

his apprenticeship in

Blrd'.)

great

blues bands

At one time or another he

came into contact with all of the great blues shouters and

players of the southwest who weie his

contemnoraries.

Despite Parkcr'r many innovations he was and re-

mained throughout his career a blues plaver. lf one were

to examine his recording output, he wöulä probably find

that the blues comprised well over half of

-Bird's"

record.

ed works. ln addition to this, of his tunes which have

become a part of standard jazz

repertoire

a

great mahy

them have been blues: "Now's

P"9n.9,1'

bados,"

"Cheryl," "Bird's

the Time,"

Billies

"Happy Bird Bar.

of

Blues,"

"Cool Blues," to mention a few.

Aside from these more obvious manifestations.

Parkcr'3 use of the blues

scale, blues pattems

and th

like allowed him to invest any composition with the vitali.

ty, urgency and earthiness of the blues.