Lick of the Day

The Sleeper

From: David Hamburger's Jazz Blues Licks Vol. 2

The great thing about a lot of straight-eighth licks is that they come out of a school of 1960s tunes that generally use a V-IV-I turnaround for the last four bars, rather than the ii-V-I turnaround more typical of swing and bebop chord progressions. That makes them a lot more practical as a source for ideas if you’re used to playing over blues or funk material that also tends to give the ii-V-I ending a miss. And a lot of times, as in this Benson-inspired lick, the moves are more modular and easier to adapt on a chord-by-chord basis to a different situation.

You could take either the lick over the D7, or the lick over the C7, and use either one any place where you have a bar of some kind of dominant chord. In fact, a good way to practice some of these moves and get them under your fingers is to take a one-bar move like the lick over the C7, and try playing it on every chord in a G blues, one lick per measure. You could even do something similar with the minor pentatonic lick at the end – it won’t work to transpose it up to D, but you could use it just as it is over the IV chord in measures 5 and 6 of a G blues, and it would make a great contrast to playing the changes on the I and V.

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