My new book, Jazz Guitar Lines of the Greats (published by Jamey Aebersold
Jazz), features almost 700 examples
of what the greatest jazz guitarists played
over various types of chords in their solos.
It was fun to transcribe these ideas of Joe
Pass, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Raney, Tal
Farlow, and Pat Martino. Knowing how
the masters went about their business is
the best way to increase your jazz vocabulary.
This lesson features examples of their
ideas played over IIm7-V7-I patterns—a
very common jazz progression—in a major
key. Ex. 1 shows how Joe Pass uses chromatic
movement from the 4th, major 3rd
(a passing tone), then down to the minor
3rd of the Cm7 chord. A triplet arpeggiobased
figure then leads to a phrase on the
F7 featuring the use of the b13 (Db). In Ex.
2, Jimmy Raney first plays the non-chord
tones E and G before landing on the F, the
third of the Dm7 chord. In the second measure,
the B of the G7 chord is approached
from below by two half-steps. He then uses
a b9 (Ab) in his line over the G7 chord. Ex.
3 clearly illustrates one of Pat Martino’s
signatures: rapid sixteenth-note lines! It
features stepwise motion as well as arpeggios,
and I recommend that you work on it
very slowly at first. In Ex. 4, notice how Wes
Montgomery treats the Gm7
with many chromatic tones.
On the C7, he includes chord
extensions such as the Ab
(b13), Eb (#9), and Db (b9).
Work these new phrases into
your own playing, continue
to add new ideas, and of
course, modify them however
you’d like to suit your
own playing style. Who better
to learn from than these alltime
greats? Best of luck!
Steve Briody is a guitar professor
at Five Towns College in NY
who has performed or recorded
with Randy Brecker, Funk Filharmonik,
Jeff Lorber, Dave Valentin,
Carl Fischer’s Organic
Groove, and Bucky Pizzarelli.
He also has an intermediate level
lesson website, learnintwo.com.