Fancy playing Jazz guitar? To progress in this style of music, discover the mini video lessons made by Romain Pilon and preorder his new album here.
A little more than a year ago, I started filming some videos based on concepts and musical ideas i enjoyed and wanted to share. What I had in mind what a very short format, without too much talking, so the musicians would try to figure out the theoretical aspect on their own, and eventually come up with some personal phrases.
I shoot 21 videos, on different subjects such as the diminished scale, -6 pentatonic, the augmented scale, 3 notes voicings, modal fragments…and I will keep going with those whenever I have some spare time.
Lesson 1: Chord Melody
Today I would like to look back on an episode a bit different: a chord melody on the jazz standard « My Ideal ».
Most of the time this song is played in Eb, but since I wanted to base my arrangement on open strings voicings, I transposed it in D.
With a closer look in the tonality of D, you can notice that you have only two sharps (F# and C#).
This means that, potentially and depending on the degrees, any of the open strings could work.
For example, on Dmaj7 (our first degree) : we get very nice colors using the top two strings. B being the 6h of D and E the 9th. On each one of the chord changes of this tune, I experimented with that concept, and it lead to some interesting voicings I believe.
To keep some kind of balance, I also tried to mix the 4 or 5 notes chords with smaller ones, two notes voicings for example. I believe that sometimes playing the root and 7th or 3rd and 5th is enough to get the sound of a chord. Finally, again with that idea of balance in mind, since the big chords can feel a bit static, I tried to use some counterpoints to get some kind of motion.
I hope you’ll enjoy this « mini lesson » #14, and also hope this will help you to create your own arrangements!
Lesson 2: Pentatonic Approach to a II V I
I would like to look back now on one of the most successful episode, probably because it includes two of the most encountered musical elements : the II V I progression and pentatonic scales.
More specifically, we will learn how to use basic pentatonic scales to get a nice modern sound on a II V I.
The concept is simple – let’s take a II V I in Bb : C- 7, F7 alt, Bbmaj7.
> On the II-7 you play the minor pentatonic scale starting on the fourth (on a C-7, you play the G- pentatonic to get a nice dorian colors : 9th, 11th, 13th),
> You go up a half step to play on the V7 (you play the Ab- pentatonic on the F7, this will sound like a F7 alt with tensions b9, #9, #4, #5),
> You go up a half step again to play on the I (you will use A-7 pentatonic on the Bbmaj7 chord, to get the lydian sound with the #4, 6, 9…).
About the author:
With numerous concerts as a leader in France and abroad,
Romain Pilon is a renown jazz guitar player.
He just released his fourth album as a leader, mixing jazz with his first personal influences and bands like Led Zepellin, Pink Floyd or Weather Report….
To listen to samples, watch the teaser or buy the record visit Romain’s website.
If you happen to be in Paris in April, the releases show are the 13th and 14th, at the Sunset/Sunside.
Discover Romain’s other mini jazz guitar lessons
>>> Watch all the jazz lessons made by Romain on his YouTube channel