Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Goldsmiths, University of London 's online course, Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds Let’s have a look at a blues in waltz time. Actually, I’m going to look at probably the most frequently played waltz-blues of all time, which comes from the epoch making Miles Davis album “Kind of Blue”. This is the fourth track which is called “All Blues”. Strictly speaking, it’s not in waltz time, it’s in 6/4.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds Although it’s a skeletal blues in nature it has a subtlety in it. If you look at the chords, once the introduction is out of the way, it goes G7 for 4 bars, C7 for 2 bars, G7 for 2 bars and then if it went D7, C7, G7, G7 it would be a skeletal blues. It starts off going D7 but in the tenth bar it splits into E flat7 for half a bar and D7 for half a bar. In fact they’re not, strictly speaking, just D7, they’ve got a special colour, they’re sharpened ninth chords which gives it a special sound. That’s the structure, it’s pretty (much a) skeletal blues. It’s build around a bass lick on G7

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds and then the horns - which consists of Canonball Adderley on alto and John Coltrane on tenor - play in thirds a little rhythmic phrase.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 seconds Then the drums, obviously, plays time - on brushes. That’s what goes on in the first 4 bars, when you get to the fifth bar which is C7, the B natural changes to a B flat amongst the horns, but the bass lick stays the same - the bass lick stays on G7 rather than C7 (although later on it changes), so you get.

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 seconds and then back again to G7 for 2 bars and then you get this seventh - D7 with a sharp ninth - 1,2,3,2,2,3,

Skip to 2 minutes and 50 seconds and then I think the horns play something like

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds to support the tune. What about the tune? I will now play the tune for you. Miles only kind of sketches the tune and, in fact, when he plays it the second time he plays it slightly differently. I’ll give you a good idea of how the tune goes. I’ll play the bass lick underneath it so that we’ve got some reference frame for the time. It goes like this.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 seconds On the chart I’ve tried to put as much information as possible, but there’s lots of parentheses there because what I’ve tried to do is write it (with) enough information for you to play this as a solo piece. In the next section we’ll play it with a playalong. So playing it as a solo piece, I’m going to stick under the 2 horns - to make it more triadic - I’m going to add the seventh, so you get this.

Skip to 4 minutes and 34 seconds Notice I’m doing a grace note - B flat going to B - that’s staccato, the second chord. The third chord - that’s got a grace note going from D flat to D, then staccato. So the lick goes.

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 seconds Then I try and put the tune over the top. I can’t play it very well with the whole of the lick, so I’ll play the top end of the lick and I’ll probably miss it out at the beginning. So it goes

Skip to 5 minutes and 14 seconds so that I can play It is possible to play with more notes but it’s harder. Then when we get to the C7 section

Skip to 5 minutes and 34 seconds I’ll put in a fuller chord, and then a little grace note

Skip to 5 minutes and 43 seconds and I need to really spread that D7 sharp nine chord between the 2 hands

Skip to 5 minutes and 54 seconds and then

Skip to 6 minutes and 1 second I’ll play the tune for you now. I hope I’ve given you enough information to show you what I’m doing on the sheet. I’ll play it like on the album with 4 bars of bass, 4 bars of lick from the horns and then the tune - a twelve bar sequence just played once.

The tune "All Blues" in root position

We discuss the structure of Miles Davis’s tune “All Blues” before playing it in root position.

You can download the chart for “All Blues” in PDF format at the bottom of this step.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: III. Solo Piano and Advanced Topics

Goldsmiths, University of London