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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds So I’d like you to be able to improvise on our minor sequence, making use principally of Dorian scales for C minor 7 and F minor 7. I’d also separately like you to be able to improvise on the John Coltrane variant, and the only thing that’s different there really is this ninth bar of A flat 7. So with A flat 7, there’s our 13th shape, there’s our thickened shape. The scale that goes with it is the scale of D flat major rooted on A flat. In other words, if I include C and F, it’s all the black notes. In the same way that when we get to G seven, it’s all the white notes.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds And then when we get to C minor seven, finally, it’s the Dorian scale.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds I’d also separately like you to see if you can improvise over the McCoy Tyner vamp. By the McCoy Tyner vamp, I mean …

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds We’ve found it hard enough to play the tune against that, so it’s equally hard to improvise over it. But it’s a good exercise to start you to get the idea of the independence of the two hands – of the left hand and the right hand playing different things.

Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds That’s C minor 7 with a lower voicing. We could actually do a vamp with C minor 7 using the third inversion. And what we do is we take the top two fingers, move them up a tone, and use that to play the vamp.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 seconds I have a feeling that that’s closer to what McCoy does on one of the recordings anyway. And then we keep the F minor 7 as it was. And then for A flat seven, we’ll take the ninth voicing, we’ll thicken it with the third finger in the left hand playing F and then we’ll do exactly the same thing down a semitone of G 7 using the third finger to thicken the chord playing the E. And when I attempt it I’ll start off by just playing a couple bars of the vamp, so that you get the idea of adding the right hand over the top. The right hand must not interfere with the accuracy of the left hand.

Skip to 2 minutes and 51 seconds So if that means all you can manage is a couple of notes here and there, that’s OK. The left hand is sacrosanct.

The McCoy vamp in two positions

We discuss how to play the McCoy vamp for “Equinox” in two positions.

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Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London