Jazz Licks On Every Note: Part 6

jazz licksWelcome back to our continuing series where we learn how to play jazz licks starting on every note of a scale.

In today’s lesson we’re going to learn a fun jazz lick starting on the 6th scale degree of a minor chord. (The 6th is often times called the 13th.)

This particular lick has some very playful chromaticism leading and some cool and simple syncopation ideas. It was a fun to play and teach. I think you’ll like it too. 🙂

This is lick #6 in our series of how to play a lick starting on any note. If you’re new here you can check out the rest of the licks here. 

Jazz Lick #1 : Starts on the root of a minor chord.

Jazz Lick #2 : Starts on the 9th of a minor chord.

Jazz Lick #3 Starts on the 3rd of a minor chord. (Featuring a Joe Pass lick and Harold Land lick).

Jazz Lick #4 This one stars on the 11th (also known as the 4th)

Jazz Lick #5 Starting on the 5th (Featuring a Miles Davis Lick).

If you’re new here I suggest you subscribe to the email list so you don’t miss any of the regular lesson updates from the site.

Now, lets continue with our jazz improvisation lesson for today!

Jazz Lick Starting On The 6th Video Demo

Why not take 4 minutes and watch the video below. I demonstrate how to play the lick and you get to watch my break down the jazz theory too.

As we have discussed many times before on this site, jazz is an aural art form. Listening is an essential part of the learning equation!

(Plus, as an added bonus…you get to see my smiling face and a plant next to my head while I teach. Maybe the thought of that scares you? 😉 Watch and learn none the less!)

Jazz Lick Starting On the 6th Notation

Here’s the notation of this jazz lick. Make sure you also scroll down for extra tips to help your jazz improvisation.jazz licks(Click to open in a new window. Feel free to share this lick across the internet. Please credit Freejazzlessons.com if you do.)

8 Jazz Improvisation Tips To Help You Master This Lick

1. This lick features all chord tones on the ‘&’s of the beat and an ascending chromatic note leading into the chord tones.

2. Often times in jazz licks you’ll find chord tones happening mostly on downbeats and passing notes happening on the ‘&’s. This lick uses the opposite technique.

(For more info on this concept you should check out the major bebop scale lesson.)

3. In measure 3 I’m using a syncopated rhythmic device at the end of the measure called an anticipation.

This means simply that I’m resolving to the 3rd of the Cmajor 7th chord an eighth note early (on the ‘&’ of 4 as opposed to beat 1)

4. The #1 chord progression in jazz music is the II-V-I. This lick is a study of a piece of jazz vocabulary over this fundamental chord progression.

5. As we talked about in the Don’t Explain jazz piano reharmonization lesson you can turn almost anything in a II-V-I if you understand the fundamentals of jazz harmony.

Many jazz players use this technique. You literally see II-V-I’s and reharmonizations using II-V-I in hundreds and hundreds of jazz standards.

That’s why its’ so important for you to begin to grow your skills playing over II-V-I’s.

jazz piano lesson DVD6. If you enjoy learning how to play licks, learning about jazz improvisation, and how to create your own licks I recommend you check out the Jazz Masters DVD.

We explore a lot of II-V-I vocabulary and learn how to model classic jazz improvisation vocabulary from 9 legendary jazz piano players.

(Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, and more.)

7. This particular lick features a more vertical approach to improvisation. This means that the improvisation is mostly chord tone based (with a few chromatic notes for fun).

8. Another approach to jazz improvisation is to play more horizontally over a chord progression. This means taking a more scale type approach to playing over changes.

If this type of technique interests you then you can check out the major jazz scales lesson, the minor jazz scales lesson or this lesson on dominant jazz scales.

Your Mission This And Your Next Step

This lick is fun to play and to be quite honest it’s not very hard to play after a tiny bit of practice.

So, i’d like to challenge you to spend some time learning it this week. Try playing it over a jazz standard too.

The best way to get better at any skill is to take action. Learning jazz is no different!

Your Freejazzlessons.com Jazz Lick Reward

Your growth as a jazz musician is super important to me. So, i’d like to reward you for your practice and your dedication toward your growth.

I will happily feature anybody in a future article who records themselves playing this lick or any of the other licks from this site and sends it to me.

Please upload your recording to Sound Cloud and send me a link. You can also make a Youtube recording very easily as well.

You can email me through the contact form on the top of the site.

Almost Famous Or Something Like That

There are currently over 21,000 unique people who visit this site very month.

I can’t deliver super rock star fame like The Rolling Stones or ummmm…Justin Bieber but you’ll definitely be heard and admired by a super cool group of jazz aficionados 🙂

What’s better than jazz aficionados right?? 🙂

So, make a quick recording this week, grow your music, and share. I look forward to hearing those recordings!


Did you enjoy today’s lesson? Do you have questions?  Please leave a comment below and discuss with the peanut gallery here.

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Steve Nixon