October 18, 2014: Roger Beaujolais

Many thanks to Roger for an educational session in which we covered:

So What” by Miles Davis
Caravan” by Juan Tizol

In this session Roger wanted to talk about techniques that could be used to handle songs that remain on one chord for a long time. The composition “So What” is 32 bar AABA form with the A section being Dm and the B section Ebm.

The group played through the composition made a bit trickier than usual by the lack of a Bass player.

Roger pointed out an interesting idea of breaking the tune into 4 bar sections and adding tension in the 4th bar of each section by replacing it with the relative dominant 7, in this case A7 and Bb7. This is using the rule that just about any chord can be considered the I and be preceded by it’s V.

These chords raise the tension which is then resolved at the start of the next 4 bar section. The chords can then be altered to further increase the tension.

We could try turning the (say) A7 in to a ii V giving us | Em7 A7 | Dm7  |.  Consider the A7 as a b9 and use the Bb diminished scale.

In the end, you can play just about anything so long as it is melodic or has its own structure and resolves.

We had a few more goes using these techniques. It sounds a lot better when Roger does it.

After the break we had a go at “Caravan”.

Many thanks to Roger for a great session and some good tips.



February 2, 2013: Laurence Cottle

Many thanks to Laurence Cottle for a great session in which we covered the following tunes:

“Blues in F”
“Caravan” by Juan Tizol
“All Blues” by Miles Davis

In a very well attended session with plenty of new faces, Laurence got us warmed up with a “Blues in F”. The main part of the session was taken up exploring “Caravan” with Laurence teaching a great bass figure to the bassists to play through the A section. Most of the members got to solo through this before a 5/4 time change was introduced every other bar in the A section to ramp up the difficulty for the remainder of the members!

Laurence suggested using the triads found in the C7b9 half whole diminished scale (C, Eb, F#, A) together with the rhythms found in the bass groove as improvisation ideas.

The session was wound down with a relaxing play through “All Blues”