Swingin’ II- V- I lick lesson

Here’s a very cool bebop jazz lick over a II – V – I chord progression.  I break this lick down to it’s core elements so you can master it and add to your own playing.  There is some very nice bebop source material in there including

  • arpeggiation
  • minor line cliche
  • approach patterns
  • altered tones
  • anticipation

Overall, this lick features a number of different jazz improvisation techniques in the overall source material. At it’s core when you build licks or study licks from masters it’s always good to break things down to core elements.

One of the techniques i like to use is to break down licks and pieces of jazz vocabulary into 2 beat cells. Then, I take these 2 beat cells and almost like legos I begin to stack them together.

I’ll put one in front of another and then take that same one and put it in front of another. I’ll constantly rearrange and recreate these little musical elements.

This is a very similar technique that you would use if you were learning a new language.

First, you’d learn 1 word. Then, you’d learn another, then another, then another.

Eventually you’d be able to form a sentence. Then, 2 sentences, 3 sentences, etc. etc.

After a few years, assuming you continued to practice you’d have thousands of words you could use to communicate with. Thus, being fluent in a language.

Learning jazz improvisation and studying jazz licks is exactly the same approach. Jazz is a language.

Keep in mind that this Bill Evans lick also has some great bebop vocabulary in there as well.

If you’d like to learn my whole system for turning 1 lick into 1000’s of new and creative licks make sure you check out the Jazz Masters Method program

Inside the program I break down licks and help you improvise in the style of legends like Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Diana Krall, Red Garland, Ray Charles and more.

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Steve Nixon