Cool Red Garland Jazz Lick Lesson and Video

Red Garland lickIf you need to get some more jazz licks under your belt this would be a great place to start. 

Here’s a new Red Garland lick lesson and video. I love this lick and it was fun to teach!

Red Garland became world famous by playing in Miles Davis quintet (with John Coltrane) from the mid to late 1950’s.

On to our lick now (video, notation, and lesson below.)

This particular lick is a minor ii-V-i lick.  It’s got a bunch of really cool chromaticism in there, arpeggios, and some scale work.

red garland lick

click to expand

click to expand

Some Cool Things about This Jazz Piano Lick

Vocabulary For Your Minor Keys

1. Anytime you see a minor ii-V-i chord progression come up in a tune you can play this lick. So, you should try to learn this lick in as many keys as possible.

Approach Patterns Are Your Friends

2.  We have discussed this before in a previous lesson but approach patterns are a huge part of jazz soloing.

In measure 1 Red uses a chromatic approach pattern to target the note G.

He plays 2 notes above (A and Ab) lands on the G for an eighth note and then plays F# below and leads back to G.

Melodic Minor Modes Are Awesome

3. After the approach pattern Red is for the most part playing up a locrian #2 scale over the Gmin7(b5) chord in measure 1.

Locrian #2 is a fantastic scale to play over this type of chord. It’s actually a mode of the melodic minor scale.

I learned about this scale many years ago when I first transcribed some Bill Evans licks.

Altered Scale Is Super Powerful

4. In measure 2 Red is mostly thinking altered scale over the C7 chord.  This scale can be used over dominant chords with b9’s, #9’s, #11, and b13’s.

If you want more information on this scale you can also check out this lesson on dominant chord scales.

Use Of Space Draws The Listener In

5. Red Garland was very famous for often playing very long eighth note lines.

So, in at the end of measure 2 when Red leaves a little space and ends up hitting the Db (b9) on the “& of 3” it’s a nice rhythmic effect.

Simple Concepts Can Be Deep

6. Red ends this lick by just playing a descending arpeggio down an F minor triad.  This is particularly interesting because of the simplicity of this idea.

The first part of the lick is a bit more complex harmonically speaking but the ending resolution point is very simple and inside.  It’s a great way of using tension and release in effective way.

Learn More About Red Garland’s Playing Style

If you want to learn more about Red Garland’s chord style you should also check out The Jazz Masters Method DVD.

The method is an in depth study of the jazz licks and chords of 9 different jazz piano masters (Red Garland is just 1 of the 9 players.)


I hope you all enjoyed this free jazz piano lesson and video.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.  If you are new here be sure to sign up for the free jazz lessons email list.

  • Anonymous

    enjoy your lessons.  could you do some latin montuno videos?

    thanks,

    rico

  • gene

    great lesson, steve , it was clear and right on. now i have to work it.

  • Moody

    That’s just amazing! I’m in love with this lick!!! 

    • Yeah it’s a cool lick isn’t it! It’s one of my favorites that I’ve posted so far.  Red was a such a cool player.

      • Moody

        He was incredible musician, indeed!
        This lick has very cool rhythm – that hitting of D flat on the “& of 3″ just knock me off! I’m gonna use it in my own improvisation! Thank you again, Steve!

  • More and more I have come to realize how important rhythm and articulation is in jazz music, even if the lick ends in a “simple” way. Thanks Steve.

  • Marily Rodriguez

    Thanks for another wonderful lesson.

  •  No problem Raj.

  • Jr

    Gr8 lick

  • Roger

    Is that Red Garland, shown in the picture?