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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds So I don’t know what you thought. I mean it’s a good first approximation to something that works now and then. There were some less satisfactory notes. Let’s try another simplifying mechanism. Since this is meant to be blues-inflected, and it is a minor chord – F minor – let’s use F American blues scale and see how that gets on in the A section. And then we get to the B section, can we improve on just using the F American blues scale, because there are quite a lot of chords there.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds Let’s imagine we’re given C major 7. Here’s the chord. Here’s the scale.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 second Are there notes in there which are more important than others? I think the answer is “Yes”. There were some notes, which are probably – I don’t know, the sixth? – no, you could argue that the sixth was important. But anyway, if I were to say, what’s the most important note? I’m going to assume in some sense that C is given, probably by the bass player. Then I’d say the most important note is the third – the major third E that tells you it’s a major tonality, and it’s a very strong sound. So what I’m suggesting that what we do is we play strong notes, if we can, during the middle eight.

Skip to 1 minute and 36 seconds In other words, let’s just try and get in the thirds of the chords. I’ll play a phrase, but try and include that note. So, for example, when we get to the first bar of the middle eight – B flat minor 7 – we try and get a D flat in. A flat 7 we try and get a C in. G7 we try and get a B in. C7 we try and get an E in, and so on. And see whether that makes it sound a little bit more convincing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds Second A –

Improvising on "Moanin'" with a playalong using F American Blues Scale and Thirds

This time we improvise on “Moanin’” with a playalong using the F American Blues Scale in the A sections and attempt to exploit the thirds in the middle 8.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London