Are you a jazz musician looking to improve your improvisation skills and develop your improvisation techniques? If so, learning “Blue Bossa” is a great place to start. In this blog post, we’ll take you through a 7-step exercise that will help you achieve these goals. This exercise is the same we used on our “Charlie Parker’s Confirmation” lesson.
We’ve created an entire video with slow and fast versions of each step so you can play along. We’ve also included two backing tracks (slow & fast) for you to practice. The complete PDF is available on the mDecks Music Youtube Channel on their “Exclusive Access” membership tab. They have amazing content with hundreds of lessons like this one. You can join here: Join mDecks “Exclusive Access”
Blue Bossa 7-Step Exercise explained step-by-step
Let’s take a look at the 7-step exercise outlined in the video:
Step 1 and 2 involve playing the broken chords up in root position and inversions, respectively, focusing on target notes. These exercises help you gain a solid understanding of the chord structure of the tune, which is essential for improvisation.
Step 1: Broken chords up in root position Begin by playing the basic chords of the tune in root position, but instead of playing them all at once, play them one note at a time. This is known as playing broken chords.
Step 2: Broken chord up in inversions (think of target notes) Next, play the broken chords in inversions, and focus on hitting target notes as you play each chord.
Step 3 and 4 help you build speed and agility by playing the broken chords in ascending and descending order. These exercises help you gain dexterity in your fingers and become more comfortable moving around the chords.
Step 3: Up then down Play the broken chords in ascending order, then descend back down the chords in the same order.
Step 4: Down then up Now, do the opposite of step 3. Descend the chords, and then ascend back up in the same order.
Step 5 is all about playing the notes in an angular and broken pattern, focusing on key target notes. This step helps you break away from the strict chord structure and adds an interesting element to your playing.
Step 6 is where you add chromaticism to your playing. You’ll approach the first note of the chord from one half-step below, giving your playing a more sophisticated sound.
Step 7 is the most advanced step, where you add enclosures to your playing. By trapping a note with notes above and below before resolving to the target note, you’ll create a more complex sound. You’ll also learn how to anticipate the enclosure by adding both diatonic and chromatic notes.
Once you’ve completed all seven steps, it’s time to practice “free play,” where you can take the skills you’ve learned and improvise over the tune in your unique way.
By following this 7-step exercise, you’ll improve your improvisation skills in no time. This exercise is an excellent way to develop your jazz musicianship and improvisation skills, and is a fundamental part of any jazz education. So grab your instrument and start practicing!
If you’re looking for a great book with a collection of bebop lines in all keys, backing tracks and a more advanced approach, check out Bebop Lines You Should Know.
This book is an essential guide for anyone who wants to master bebop improvisation. It covers everything from basic to advanced concepts like Chromatic Approaches, Enclosures, Scale Combinations, Lick Transformations, and Beat Targeting.
The book also includes a collection of bebop lines from legendary artists like Bud Powell, Kenny Barron, Wynton Kelly, and Bill Evans, along with play-along backing tracks, video lessons, and a Mapping Tonal Harmony Pro XML file with progressions from the bebop lines.
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