C Blues (Concert B flat) 2. If not, that's OK, you will soon know it well. B Blues (Concert A) 9. (Update: if for some reason you want to hear the kind of stuff I learned to do with the blues scale as a hack "pianist" and middlin' fair tuba player in high school, see Then try playing some of the scale patterns long with the MIDI file. These scales were not written out on purpose. Once you can play the Bb major scale and have played some of the other scales as well, comfortably and by memory, move on to the next lesson, where you'll jump in and start improvising your own solo! Trombone Jazz Ensemble Blues Scales 1. Do the notes sound in tune to you? You have worked hard to learn to read music, now how do you make it up on the spot? If you have a piano or keyboard instrument, try playing that chord on the piano and listen to how it sounds. Try playing this chord arpeggio here. Alto Saxes and Bari Saxes are Eb / "E-flat"). back the root for two - sometimes I like to put in a little goofy frill on the final bar. Since you can't expect to be able to do anything in performance that you haven't practiced, always spend some time practicing improvising as if you were performing. How long should you hold the note? Is the Bb major scale too easy for you? If you don't know your Bb scale, this is a good time to learn! F sharp Blues (Concert G flat) 6. So you want to learn how to improvise jazz. The pianist is playing the chords rhythmically and the drummer is playing a swing pattern. That's called 'swing' and it is a very important part of jazz. When you are ready, start playing the MIDI file. Their notes are generally written and spoken of in "concert pitch", so when they play a Bb, they're REALLY playing a Bb, etc. I've provided the chord symbols for you so you can get used to seeing them, but don't worry about them yet. It begins simply, but gets more difficult by the end, so if you can't play it all take some time to practice it before going on. The other new chord is the minor 7 chord. Before you start improvising, you need to learn the Bb major scale. Instead of worrying about all those choices, let's make some of those choices for you (temporarily) so you only think about one choice. By itself, it sounds kind of musical. But "Bb" is a pitch that sounds good to human ears - it's more common that a street band will play a song in Bb than in C - and so I'm going to write this page focused on "Concert Bb"/"C for Trumpets" scales. What note should you play? Should you play it loud or soft? First of all, notice the eighth notes. Aight! Before you read more about the blues, download this MIDI file of the C blues. Are you playing with a good tone? E Blues (Concert D) 10. Listen for what each part of the rhythm section is doing. This scale is very useful for the blues because it will sound good anywhere in the blues form, provided you're in the right key. D flat Blues (Concert C flat) 7. One of those things that's a mix of deep music theory and historical accident, and it can make it tough to ask a musician "what key are you playing in" so you can play along ... you may have to translate to or from "concert" pitch. Concert E Blues 8. When you perform, you might play a few ideas that make use of the above combinations, but you would probably not want to perform an entire solo like that. Let's go. All of those chords use capital roman numerals because they have major thirds. If you get lost, don't worry, just start on any measure, as long as you are on a downbeat. Let's look at a 12 bar blues in the key of C. Notice first that, instead of only major 7 chords, we have two different chord types. The first thing to notice is the chord symbol. Concert D Blues 10. Notice that those notes of the scale are darkened in. Each note of the scale is numbered. Example: C Minor Blues is C, E flat, F, G flat, G, B flat, and C. CAUTION! To start with, let's just use the first three notes of the Bb scale: Bb, C, and D. Start the sound file again and improvise for a while just using those three notes, in any register. If you already know your Bb major scale by heart, you can skip to the next lesson, if you like. CONCERT F BLUES SCALE: Note for Trumpets: G Bb C C# D F G Valves for Trumpets: 0 1 0 12 1 1 0 Note for Trombone: F Ab Bb B C Eb F Trombone Slide Position: 1 3 1 4 3 3 1 CONCERT Bb BLUES SCALE: Note for Trumpets: C Eb F F# G Bb C Valves for Trumpets: 0 23 1 2 0 1 0 Note for Trombone: Bb Db Eb E F Ab Bb Trombone Slide Position: 1 5 3 2 1 3 1 CONCERT C BLUES SCALE Note for Trumpets: D F G Ab A C … When should I play that note? The Gmin7 chord is labeled ii7 (lower case for II7) because that chord has a minor third. How does that Bb major scale sound against the rhythm section? See above the staff where it says Bb maj7? Try simplifying your note choices by practicing these combinations: Remember while you're practicing improvisation to play with a good sound and to play right in tempo with the MIDI file. Trumpet in Bb Jazz Ensemble Blues Scales 1. (They're their own special kind of weird.) With a little practice, you will be able to think about more than one thing, and will be on your way to becoming a jazz trombonist. I have a bassline I like called "Space Cadet" that follows that pattern (I borrowed it from the Atari 2600 game Moon Patrol) - here is JP Honk jamming to it: Here's an even simpler bassline to work with - same basic pattern, but fewer notes: So besides letters for sounds (C, A, Bb, etc) sometimes in music we put roman numbers to 'em. and How should I play that note?". Using those numbers, then, "12 Bar Blues" goes: Another song that uses that "12 bar blues" progression is Green Onions - you can hear the School of Honk play it. © 2020 Online Trombone Journal - ISSN 1093-0485 -, Bb, D, F, and A (1, 2, 3, and 5; the Bb major 7 chord), Bb, C, D, F, and G (1, 2, 3, 5, and 6; the Bb major pentatonic scale), Play whatever your ear, mind, and heart tell you (as you would perform), Just the 1st and 2nd notes of the blues scale, Just the 1st, 2nd, and 6th notes of the blues scale, Just the 1st, 2nd and 3rd notes of the blues scale, Just the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th notes of the blues scale, Just the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th notes of the blues scale (minor pentatonic scale). Remember in last lesson where it mentioned choices while you improvise? Let's take a look at this Bb scale. Since F is the 4th note of the C major scale the F7 chord is labelled as IV7. Download this MIDI file and play back a bit of it to listen for a couple things. Sound familiar? The bass is playing mostly quarter notes and playing a lot of chord tones (Bb, D, F, and A in this case). You betcha! "Where do I begin?" B flat Blues (Concert A flat) 4. Let's begin by looking at the notes that are available to you in the Bb scale (below). There are many variations of the Blues, but the form used most often in jazz is a 12 bar form. This chord contains the 1st, lowered 3rd, 5th, and lowered 7th of the major scale. Do you notice how they are not even, like in rock, latin, and classical music? Let's make on decision at a time. If you need to, go ahead and write them out, but you should memorize the scales as soon as you can. Play the scale slowly, at your own pace. You will hear a series of clicks counting you into the beginning. Concert B flat Blues 2. The scale is just below. If so, you can download the following files and practice the scale exercise in other keys below. Just pick notes in the blues scale and you will sound fine. A Blues (Concert G) 11. B Blues (Concert C flat) 7. Does it sound familiar? So if C is the "I" chord, F is the "IV", and G is the "V" chord. A major seventh chord (like Bb maj7) includes the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th notes of the Bb major scale. Starting with your keynote (tonic) simply play the 1st, flatted 3rd, 4th, flatted 5th, perfect 5th, flatted 7th, and the 8th scale degrees. Once you get familiar with these exercises on the Bb major scale and major 7 chord, transpose those combinations to fit these sound files: The next lesson will cover the chord progression called 'the blues' and some of the possible choices you have playing over this chord progression.