Oscar Peterson Lick Lesson

Here’s a fun Oscar Peterson lick.  Oscar played this lick over a blues but you can throw it in over many other tunes.

This little 4 bar lick is filled to the rim with all kinds of blues and jazz vocabulary. (audio and tips for learning this lick below)

You can click on this lick to expand and print.

oscar peterson blues lick

Here are some cool things about the lick.

Rhythm and phrasing

1.  This lick has many classic jazz rhythms. Here’s a couple other lick lessons that also feature the same rhythmic approach as this solo. Bebop lick lesson and this very cool minor key jazz lick.

2. Many great jazz phrases start rhythmically on the “&” of a beat. Starting on the “&” often times creates a sense of forward motion in your soloing. It’s a common rhythmic device in jazz and swing music. Oscar starts this lick on the “& of 1”.

3. More than half of the lick features the blues scale (bars 1, half of bar 2, most of bar 3).

4. Oscar uses a 4 beat approach pattern to target the 3rd (D) on beat 1 off the Bb7 chord.  He does this by starting his approach or “set up” on beat 3 of bar 2.  By setting up this chord change early Oscar’s line has a definite sense of forward motion. You’ll often find this forward motion technique inside Oscar Peterson chords and chord progressions.

We also explore this concept further in our oscar peterson exercises tutorial.

5. There are some other informational lesson on this site you can check out. For example, you can check out this lesson on a  jazz blues chord progression and this blues piano chords lesson.

6. For a full blues piano course I highly recommend this Learn Blues Piano DVD.  It’s an ultimate resource for learning blues piano.  Plus it’s fun 🙂


If you enjoyed learning this lick and the free jazz piano lesson please leave a comment below.  Also be sure to subscribe to the mailing list on the top left of the page.

Steve Nixon