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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Hot licks - what are these? What I plan to do is play a phrase to you in time on a particular chord - in this case C7 - and I want you to play it back. What I’ll do is I’ll play a phrase and then I’ll repeat it so that when you play it with me you should be able to hear if there’s a discrepancy.

Skip to 0 minutes and 33 seconds We’re going to play it over the chord C7, so I have built myself an IRealB playalong, slow medium, just on C7. I’ll play just one chord to the bar, legato and then I’ll put a phrase over the top. The phrases will be - I’ll try and make them simple at first and then perhaps make them a little bit more complicated - using the full blues scale. What’s really important is that you hear the phrase and that you are able to articulate it on your instrument. So one of the things, for example, is to detect the starting note.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds If, for example, the phrase starts on the sixth note of the scale - it starts on A - you’ve got to be able to hear that, detect it and then articulate the phrase. So knowing precisely where the notes are - the root, the third, the fifth, and the other notes as well, the flattened seventh, the natural seventh - they’re all important. This is good ear training and it’s also where we’re going to go in terms of developing our improvisation because, remember I said, motivic improvisation is probably the most important. You need a motive, you need a phrase. So what do you use?

Skip to 1 minute and 55 seconds Well I’m going to be playing phrases - licks if you like - that jazz musicians typically use, and they can serve as your starting point. Once I start I’ll keep going. If I go wrong at any point I will try and repeat the phrase again and get it right at the second attempt. Let’s see how we get on. So I’ll do both scalic and some chordal.

Hot Licks 1

I illustrate something I call hot licks, in this case on the chord C7, where I play a phrase and you are required to echo it back.

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This video is from the free online course:

Learn Jazz Piano: II. Improvising on Jazz Standards

Goldsmiths, University of London