I’m back this week with another lesson! This time I am featuring some approaches and ideas to use over a jazz blues. This kind of progression builds off the traditional 12 bar blues form adding in a quick change to the IV chord, ii-V approaches, diminished chords, and a turn around that all give the player more harmonic content to play with. These jazz blues guitar licks are all focused around showing you ways to navigate these different changes.
The first lick focuses on making the quick change from Bb to Eb and back in the first three bars of the form. It starts with a simple outline of the tonic triad before quickly moving down the neck to hit the chord tones of Eb9 (G-Eb-F-Db) and Bb9 (D-Bb-C-Ab). This is an simple and effective way to play over dominant chords and it is something I often hear Peter Bernstein, a master of the jazz blues, use in his playing.
The second lick is all about hitting the ii-V (in particular the V) that leads to the IV chord. The line is a Bb7#5#9 arpeggio which functions as a V of the IV chord and this provides a lot of motion to setup the new chord.
The third lick is a real fun one to play and gets you into using the diminished scale over the E diminished chord in bar 6. In this one the note choice does most of the work as the line is just picked and is then capped off by a bluesy series of hammer-ons/pull-offs.
The fourth lick is a more traditional jazz lick that outlines the ii-V going back to the tonic. The use of the b9 (Gb) over the V (F7) helps to add more tension before resolving back to the I chord (Bb7).
The fifth and final lick is dominant blues line and can be used as a nice ending to your jazz blues solo or song. As an ending, I like grabbing the low Bb, either with my finger or thumb, to give more weight to the last chord especially if the ending is going to be short.