Blues In Jazz
In this masterclass we discuss blues in jazz.
The history of blues is extremely deep and I recommend that you investigate this history and listen to early recordings, as the blues is the basis of all American popular music from jazz to rock, R&B and so on.
Form & Harmonic Concepts
In this class we are only focussing on the what blues means in jazz and we will look at forms and basic harmonic concepts. We see how the jazz blues retains the structure of the original blues form and we look at how the harmony has been expanded to include more jazz-specific progressions. We also take a look at 8 and 16 bar blues forms, such as Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island or Willie Dixon’s I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man.
Variations Of Jazz Blues
Other variations on the jazz blues include a blues with a bridge, commonly in AABA form. The A sections take the form of the jazz blues and the B section could, for example, be the same as a rhythm changes bridge.
The Parker Blues
The Parker blues, named of course after Charlie Parker, further expands on the harmony of the jazz blues, adding chains of 2-5-1s to add further harmonic density and complexity. Great examples of the Parker blues are Blues For Alice and Chi Chi.
The Minor Blues
Finally we take a look at the minor blues, which takes the harmony from the jazz blues and transposes it into a minor key.
Blues in Jazz Lesson Notation File Type: pdf
Blues tunes can be simple or complex, from Sonnymoon For Two to Blues for Alice. Take note of the different harmonic variations between different tunes and use these variations in your improvisations.
While we represent the blues in the key of F in this video, the blues progression can, of course, be in any key. Try learning and improvising on some blues tunes in different keys.
- As an accompanist or improvisor, the blues form can take a little time to get used to. Taking your time to improvise on the form will help it become slowly more ingrained.