DR JOHN’S JAZZ CLINIC Part 5

DR JOHN’S JAZZ CLINIC Part 5

On to 6 note scales to play over D7. C wholetone contains the notes C D and F# so it seems like an excellent lydian-like candidate.

Position

1

3

5

7

9

11

C wholetone

C

D

E

F#

G#

Bb

Intervals

1

9

3

#11

#5

b7

The sound over D7 is D7(#11 #5 no 13).

C minor blues contains the notes C and F# but no D. We have not let the absence of a D stop us to date.

Position

1

10

12

7

2

11

C minor blues

C

Eb

F

F#

G

Bb

Intervals

1

b3

11

#11

5

b7

The sound over D7 is D7(b9 #9 b13 no 5).

What about 5 note scales i.e. pentatonics I hear you ask. C major pentatonic and C minor pentatonic work even though there is no F# in the major and no D or F# in the minor. For C major pentatonic:

Position

1

3

5

2

4

C major pentatonic

C

D

E

G

A

Intervals

1

9

3

5

13

The sound over D7 is D7(no 13) and this is pretty tame. It is better thought of as D7(sus4).

For C min pent:

Position

1

10

12

2

11

C major pentatonic

C

Eb

F

G

Bb

Intervals

1

b3

11

5

b7

The sound over D7 is D7(b9 #9 b13 no 5). It has a sus4 feel also but is much edgier. It is pretty much the same as C minor blues except the F# is missing in the scale.

There are all sorts of other pentatonics that one might try over the D7 chord. Over to you to investigate.

Wrap-up points

As we all know in real life that one does not improvise by simply playing scales. The scales are normally used as guides to the notes that one might select from to achieve a given musical harmonic effect. You should add healthy doses of rhythmic and dynamic spice to this.

The material presented has been designed to expand on the lydian perspective developed in Russell’s book and to use scales whose tonics are simply one whole tone below the tonic of the dominant over which they are played. They could be written in alternative modes using different starting notes but the use of a common starting note (we have used C in the case of D7) disappears unless the relevant alternative modes start on F#.

We have only dealt with playing over a dominant 7th. Many, but maybe not all, of the same C Lydian-based scales could be used for playing over A-7 based harmonies. Unlike what is usually set out in texts on the subject, one would not play C Lydian-based scales over G major – one would use G Lydian-based scales. That is, a II V I sequence in G would use C Lydian-based scales for the II & V and G Lydian-based scales for the I. For other chords the alternatives become more constrained. They can, for the most part, still be improvised on using the notes of Lydian-based scales but there will, in many cases, be differing starting notes for a given category of underlying chord.

The material presented in this series has been derived in the main from principles set out in George Russell’s book “Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation Vol One: The Art and Science of Tonal Gravity” (2001 edition) published by Concept Publishing Company.

END OF PART 5

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