Autumn Leaves Simple Walking Bass Line
In this lesson on Autumn Leaves bass lines, we will explore a simple way to approach the tune with a walking bass.
This is similar to how we approached the bass line for Summer Time Tutorial and we will mostly be using roots and 5ths to create the bass line.
The key to this approach is that we are only outlining the half beat. This means that the walking bass line will only be on beats 1 and beats 3.
This approach keeps things simple, and it will allow you to explore more melodic possibilities in your right hand.
Walking Bass Line With Root & 5th
The root and 5th can make an excellent bass line and it gives you a lot of freedom melodically to enhance the melody and add in improvised sections.
To get inspiration for melodic decoration and improvisation you need to listen to many different recordings of Autumn Leaves and take little bits from each.
You will hear every jazz musician phrases the melody differently. I particularly like to transcribe melody heads from trumpet and sax player because I like their approach patterns and how they target the chord tones.
When practicing walking bass lines, or any medium to up tempo tune, you should play with the metronome on beats 2 & 4. This has a couple of benefits.
In jazz music, the strong beats are on beats 2 & 4, whereas in classical music the strong beats are beats 1 & 3. Playing with the metronome on 2 & 4 will improve your sense of time and also develop a stronger sense of swing.
In jazz bands, you will hear that the drummer hits the hi-hat on beats 2 and 4. If you practice with the metronome on beats 2 and 4, you will become very calibrated with this which will help you stay in time when you are playing in an ensemble setting.
- Try to play as quietly as possible so that the metronome or iRealPro is louder than your playing. This will help you become calibrated with the metronome and your ability to feel the time, not just count it.
Thanks Hayden . This was a great improvisation lesson and I loved the swing and soul displayed in the tutorial .I’m eager for more. It was excellently presented.
Great stuff, thank you George.
I think you will love the upcoming study of blues… we really drill into some of the concepts covered here…. ‘chord tone soloing’ in particular and the important role that these tones play in an improvised line.
I’m very excited to launch this new section of the website and I think it will be a big hit with all students looking to develop their improvisation.
Great lesson…I just finished working on Straight no Chaser. Really the 1st Jazz/Blues song I learned. I loved it and am learning a lot about improvisation. For Autumn Leaves, would you just recommend the same type of improvisation…using enclosures and aiming mainly for the 3rd, root, and 5th of the chords for this song?