Chet Baker Jazz Improvisation Lesson

Chet Baker Jazz LickIn today’s jazz lick lesson we’re going to learn a very simple but cool Chet Baker lick. You guys are going to love this one.

Chet’s jazz improvisation style is very minimalist but full of tons of great jazz vocabulary, articulation, swing feel, and soul.

Plus, he was an awesome singer too.  I know you guys are going to really enjoy this one (video lesson, notation and tips below).

7 Improv Ideas From This Chet Baker Lick

chet baker lick

(click to expand this lick)

Rhythm Concepts

1. Chet does an incredible job of creating tension by using syncopation in the first measure.

All he’s doing is just going up the locrian mode but it sounds so much cooler because he’s placing the notes on the offbeats.

2. When he finally comes down the scale using eighth notes in measure two it creates an incredible sense of release.

Great licks combine this concept of tension and release in a masterful way.

3. Check out how Chet ends his line on the “&” of beat 4. This grooves and is a great way to end your jazz lines!

Tip: Practice ending your phrases using the same rhythm and articulation Chet uses here.

Remember, rhythm and phrasing is just as important as notes in jazz if not even more so!

Melodic Concepts

4. For some more lessons on great jazz licks I suggest you check out this Barry Harris lick, this Red Garland jazz lick, this turnaround lick, and this minor jazz lick.

5. He uses an approach pattern in measure 3 to set up the 5th of the C minor chord on beat 3 (G).

6. As we discussed in the Clifford Brown lick lesson an approach pattern is when you take a series of notes (in this case 2 ascending chromatic notes) and target a specific chord tone with them.

7. So, Chet Baker targets the 5th in measure 3 of the Cmin6 chord by playing F and F# before hand.

Tip: If you’re didn’t listen to the lesson video go back and do it now. Jazz is an aural artform!

Until next time guys. Keep practicing!

My Jazz Improvisation DVD Will Be Released Very Soon

jazz piano improvisationOn a quick related note, my new jazz piano improvisation DVD is almost done! I’m so excited to share the method with you.

Update: It’s been released! You can find all the details here about the Jazz Masters Method.

I’ve filled it with hours of the jazz improvisation techniques of 9 legends of jazz piano.

It’s a direct method to take your playing to the next level. Please stay tuned. More details to come soon! 🙂


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Steve Nixon