Bill Evans Jazz Lick Lesson and Video

Here’s a free Bill Evans lick lesson and tutorial video.

Bill was a harmonic genius and one of the truly great jazz musicians.

This Bill Evans lick is just so beautiful sounding I had to share it with you all!

(After you check out this lick you will want to check out this additional Bill Evans chords lesson and this Bill Evans jazz chords lesson)

Make sure you scroll down for the notation of the lick and video. I added some additional tips and a lesson to help you learn.

Bill Evans Lick

(click to expand)

The 9 Is Beautiful

1. Bill starts his solo on the 9 of the Gmin7 chord on bar 1.  Practice starting your II-V-I jazz licks starting on the 9.  It’s a great sound!

II and V Are Very Good Friends

2. For the first 2 beats of the C7 chord (bar 2) Bill is thinking just C7(sus4) or Gmin7 in his soloing.

He implies another harmony on top of the chord. Some people would say he is thinking Gmin7 there but really Gm7 and C7(sus4) function in the same way.

If Bill’s sense of harmony seems interesting to you then you should also check out this Bill Evans jazz chord lesson.

Delayed Resolution Keeps The Lick Moving Forward

3. He finally resolves to regular C7 on beats 3 of the C7 chord (2nd measure).

Altered Harmony Rocks

4.  On beat 4 though he plays alterations of the C7 chord (b9, #9) and starts thinking altered harmony.

This is a perfect example of how a master jazz musician uses the concept of voice leading to create flow and interest through his melodic line.

Use of Space

5. Check out how Bill Evans leaves space going into bar 2 and then starts his arpeggio on the “& of 1”.

Many jazz licks feature this rhythmic concept.  We’ve discussed this before in the Charlie Parker lick lesson and the Red Garland lesson as well.

If you want to learn more about Bill Evan’s improvisation style you can check out The Jazz Masters Method DVD.

The method is an in depth study of the jazz licks of 9 different jazz piano masters (Bill Evans is just 1 of the 9 players.)

Practice Tips

1. Try throwing this lick over your favorite standard that features a 2-5-1

2. You can grab little pieces of the lick and combine them with other bits of jazz vocabulary an licks you know.

3. Work out some variations of this lick to really make the lick personal and your own.

If you enjoyed this jazz piano lesson please subscribe and/or leave a comment below.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent.  Do you have any latin licks or lessons, montunos, etc.  Thanks


  • Anonymous

    I want you to know that I think what you are doing here is very important. I live on Maui where there are not a lot of teachers especially of this kind of thing. I don’t always leave comments, but I am growing thanks to you. It is great to be off the plateau I had reached. Keep up this great work. You are making a difference.

    • @Steve. Wow! Your comments are very kind. I’m really thrilled that you’re learning alot here and you’re growing. That’s the goal my friend and so happy to hear it’s making a difference!

    • Appreciate your kind words Buckheadsteve. Man, I wish I was in Hawaii. It’s paradise there 🙂

  • Marilyn

    Thank you for your wonderful work, your insights and your generosity.  As a Professor and pianist of Classical music, I thank you for broadening my world.

    • Marilyn thanks for your very nice comment!  It’s nice to hear from such an accomplished musician such as yourself!  Welcome to our community 🙂

  • Duane

    Great stuff here! Thanks for sharing in such detail.

  • Tanky

    Thanks So Much Steve!!! You have helped me so much with my jazz playing! Without this website I would absolutely fail!
    Thanks So Much

    Tanky 😀

  • Noble Sunny

    Thank you Steve… You are so generous to share your knowledge even with beginners like me all around the world. I’m an indian violinist and a huge fan of jazz music. Jazz piano has always been in my fantasies and i think now i’m here at the right place. I hope your lessons would shape my jazz concepts.

  • David

    “Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”

    Dalai Lama XIV

    Thank you Steve, from Costa Rica!

  • Jude

    I like the voicing on this lick. It sounds good to me to have the quartal voicings of LH EAD RH DGC over the FM7 at end, if there’s a bass player since it’s rootless.

  • laura

    Thank you. It is great to learn how Bill Evans buulds his luck over the chord structure. Tnank you for your attention to detail.