Bb BLUES (concert key)
The JAZZ BLUES is 12 measures long. THE most common song form. Is usually played in 4/4 time but can be in 3/4 or 6/8 etc. Usually played in SWING TIME but can be Latin, Bossa, Rock, etc. Harmony/Chords are played over and over (12 Bars Repeated). Is played slow, very fast and all tempos in-between.
SOLOS: Everyone can take a solo. Length is determined by soloist. Be sure to follow the 12-bar form.
The BLUES scale is very popular and is used often in bits and pieces. Use the BLUES scale of the key the blues is being played in. In this case – Bb. Playing on the Blues scale can be a starting place but the sound can wear thin quickly. Learn to outline the actual
chords/harmony to the blues for variety.
MELODY: There are HUNDREDS of melodies. Some are famous.
PIANO/GUITAR: They accompany with chords AND they can take solos. They must know the Harmony/Chord progression/Changes. When
accompanying, don’t be too busy or get in the way of soloist.
BASS: Acoustic bass is preferred in jazz. Bass walks up and down scales and chords. They must know the Harmony/Chord progression/Changes and the needed scales and arpeggios to the Blues (in the KEY being played). Bass keeps the TIME along with Drummer. Bass should never drag or rush. TIME should be constant and FEEL GOOD at all times.
DRUMS: Keeps the Time and helps outline the FORM of the Blues which amounts to three, 4 bar sections = 12 Bar Blues. May take a solo and is usually the last one to solo on the song. Can take a drum SOLO by themselves, or, the 12 bar form may be broken up by trading back and forth with other instruments into 4 bar sections. Drummer should never drag or rush. TIME should be constant and FEEL GOOD at all times. Drummer needs to know the FORM (how many bars in the song) in order to punctuate beginnings and endings of sections – if the song is longer than the 12-bar blues.
Several of my Jazz Play-A-Long are extremely helpful and FUN for learning how to play the blues.