The Story Goes -

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

Louis Armstrong came up from New Orleans when the Navy closed down Storyville in 1917. He played up and down the Mississippi from New Orleans to Minnesota on a riverboat with Fate Marable’s band. Then King Joe Oliver called Louis to play up in Chicago. Louis made the Hot Five recordings. And the soloist was born.

- The Blues usually has twelve bars. 12-Bar Blues with three chords, maybe more. Most blues bands play 3-chords. Jazz players though, may have charts with multiple chords. Playing triads of the chords puts you on to jazz. While it’s structured with form, it is a high dive. So when you take off, keep melody, rhythm, and harmony always, always, in mind.

- Jazz is language that disturbs when it’s fast and hard to understand. So, as with languages, isolate a verb, a chord, then a noun, a phrase, and work it back and forth, see what it says, then take it up the road, so to say.

- Jazz is mostly either 12-bar blues, AABA 32-bar standards, or a form of modal riff.

Below are blues charts with Majors and Minors. 12-bar blues. Pretty basic.

Next are AB and AABA forms: 32-Bar Jazz Standards

Here are two: Fly Me To the Moon, Georgia on my Mind

The final chart is also a 32-bar AABA, but music deconstructed. Modal.

Miles Davis’ So What has two chords.

Play the charts.

In the end, there are a million songs. You’ve heard them - the mystic chords of memory.

It’s in your blood.

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