Clifford Brown Jazz Improvisation Lesson

Clifford Brown jazz lickI always tell my jazz students if they really want to learn jazz improvisation and master the bebop language then they need to go directly to the source.

They need to learn from people like Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Bud Powell, and Sonny Stitt.

So, in today’s jazz improvisation lesson we’re going to do just that! I’m going to teach you how to play a lick from the great jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown!

(Don’t worry you can learn this lick on any instrument. You don’t have to be a trumpet player.) (Video Lesson, Notation, & Tips Below…Keep Reading!)

Clifford’s Impact On Jazz History

Clifford sadly passed at the unbelievably young age of 25 years old. In a very short short period of time though Clifford quickly implanted his mark on jazz history.

Not only was he a phenomenal player but he was also a huge influence on legends like Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan among many others. Let’s let Clifford influence us now!  Let’s get started learning! 

Watch this video first and then scroll down for notation and more tips.

Jazz Improvsation lessons

(Click to expand.)
(Feel free to share this via Facebook and Twitter)

Tips To Help You Learn This Clifford Brown Lick

  • The 2 most important notes of a seventh chord are the 3rd in the 7th. Take note how Clifford masterfully targets the super important relationship of the 7th resolving into 3rds on downbeats.
  • He does that leading into bar 2 on  (C to B) and bar 3 (F to E). This really outlines the harmony and makes the lick sound really inside the chord changes.
  • Clifford uses a device on beat 2 of the 3rd measure called an approach pattern.
  • An approach pattern is when you take a note (in this case the root of the Cmaj7 chord) and plays one chromatic note above the note, then one chromatic note below, before resolving to the note you were targeting in the first place.
  • This is an awesome way to really extend your jazz licks and get those long flowing lines.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this free jazz lesson! If you did please help promote jazz education by sharing this article on Facebook or Twitter.

I encourage you to also leave a comment below sharing what you’ve learned from this lick!


If you are new here be sure to subscribe to the free jazz lessons email list.  You’ll receive all the latest lessons and articles as soon as they’re released. 

You can sign up on the right sidebar of this site. See you on the inside!

Steve Nixon