Sheryl Bailey’s Bebop Blues Etudes edition of Essentials will accelerate your understanding of the underlying harmonic structure for creating melodies on a blues that goes beyond running up and down blues scales. Sheryl will guide you through the principles of “riffing” and combining traditional blues guitar language into the language of bebop.
”I’ve prepared 10 bebop blues soloing performance studies that focus on the technical and harmonic skills that all of our favorite bebop guitar players use in their own solos and improvisations. We’ll concentrate on the use of chord tones as the focal point of the melodic line to avoid being stuck in the blues scale box. Along the way, we’ll also work on concepts and techniques like placing and displacing rhythms, chord extensions, chord soloing, modern chord substitutions, playing over minor 2-5s, applying the dominant 7 bebop scale and chromatic melodic embellishments.”
You’ll start the course by learning a 12/8 Shuffle Blues in the key of G that uses drop 2 chords to harmonize the melody, followed by an etude for used on a Jimmy Smith style shuffle that uses arpeggios to create melodic lines. You’ll explore a funky Herbie Hancock style approach for soloing and work on an approach Sheryl calls Implying the Invisible Two Five.
As you work through the course, you’ll learn how to use chromatic melodic embellishments, displaced rhythmic phrases, minor two fives using the diminished seven to hippify the dominant, interesting applications for triads over a 12-bar jazz blues progression, and how to employ the minor-seven-flat-five arpeggio in a variety of ways over a Coltrane-style minor blues.
Sheryl guides you through 10 bebop blues soloing studies that cover the most widely used chord progressions, keys and tempos in the genre. For each performance study, Sheryl will first demonstrate the solo and then break it down for you note-by-note.
Saturday Night Blues – ”This is a classic 6/8 shuffle blues feel, I often think of the Saturday Night Live theme, the feeling of late nights in the city at an after hours club. This etude features some tasty blues chord voicings that add a full, rich texture. This solo employs some drop 2 voicings and chord substitutions to harmonize your melodic ideas. These will work great for comping!”
Chicken Shack Attack – ”This is based on the classic Jimmy Smith 12-bar blues shuffle, Back at The Chicken Shack. This is a must-know style for sitting in with organ trios and more traditional blues situations. Chicken Shack Attack focuses on using the 3rds and 7ths, also known as “chord tones”, for getting inside the changes. On a dominant 7 chord, the 3rd and 7th create a tritone interval, and in a blues you can get inside the tune by following how they move on the neck. Know thy 3rds and 7ths ye who pursue the jazz blues!”
Blues in Alice’s Flat – ”This etude is based on the classic Charlie Parker blues, Blues For Alice. Players are forever intrigued by these snaky chord changes. In the video, I explain how Charlie Parker uses II V’s to set up the IV7 chord. This solo develops riffs that outline the II V’s and uses rhythmic displacement to develop melodies that outline the II V7’s.”
Summer Blues – ”The Gershwin standard Summertime is such a great tune that it transcends idiom and genre. It’s a 16-bar type blues and is one that every player should know to go to a gig or jam session with. Here I share some ideas on how to “hippify” your minor II V7’s. As always, I’m using chord tones and working with displacing rhythms to create interesting lines.”
Funky Melon Blues – ”This is based on the Headhunter’s version of Herbie Hancock’s iconic blues tune Watermelon Man. A little funk for ya! I use bits of the original melody and use riffs based around the 3rds and 7ths, and a tasty bebop line on the modal tag where I imply the sound of a II V over a Dominant 7 sus chord.”
Every Blues – ”All Blues by another name, one of the great session tunes, and a 3/4 groove for your set list! From the essential Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. In this lesson, I explore implying II V’s over a static dominant 7 chord by using the dominant 7 bebop scale. A true bebop player is always looking for opportunities to bring out the sound of a II V. This etude also explores displacing rhythms to make interesting lines.”
Left Coast Blues – ”Wes Montgomery was also a great composer, and his 3/4 tune West Coast Blues is a staple for all serious jazz players. It features his signature chromatic II V sequences and some essential blues riffs. This chord progression features some snakey chromatic II V7’s, which Wes was the master of, making them always seem easy! I discuss taking a II V7 lick and permuting the shape and rhythm to create a varied line through these type of passages. Also, I use the opening lick of the original tune, which is a classic blues lick that uses the major 6th shape that goes all the way back to boogie woogie.”
Trane’s Blues – ”This is a minor blues based on John Coltrane’s moody “Equinox.” This always creates a deep, brooding mood and an opportunity for modal explorations. In this etude, I wanted to share some of the beautiful sounds created by using a min7b5 chord substitution, using it to create either min6/Dorian sound, altered dominant 7 sounds, and natural dominant 7 sounds. One of my favorite sounding arpeggios and substitutions.”
Bouncing Blues – ”This etude, based on Billie’s Bounce by Charlie Parker, will be called out at any jazz gig or jam. I use the opening motif of the original melody to demonstrate how to use various melodic embellishments such as chromatic below, upper neighbor, and different combinations of that technique that demonstrate ways to create rhythmic intrigue.”
OK! – ”Charlie Parker’s Confirmation is another example of Bird Blues Changes with a bridge. It’s a fun and challenging chord progression and song form to navigate. Charlie Parker uses “cycles” to cadence to the IV chord (the BIG EVENT!). This etude uses permutations of a II V lick to navigate the II V cadences. I use the interval of a 3rd to develop my ideas to demonstrate how you can create a connected “story line” to your solo.”
All of the performance studies are tabbed and notated for your practice, reference and study purposes. You’ll also get Guitar Pro files so that you can play, loop and/or slow down the tab and notation as you work through the lessons. Plus, Sheryl includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own.
Grab your guitar and let’s play some bebop blues with Sheryl Bailey!