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Lessons 2 - Jazz Blues

I remember my first combo band lesson.  My audition had gone well; when asked if I would play a scale that would go over a GmMaj7 chord I asked


“Would you like Harmonic Minor or Melodic minor ascending?”


Later I would realize that the Melodic Minor scale ascending is better known as the Jazz Minor scale.


Back to my first combo band lesson… 


I had learnt my scales long ago, but as a rock player, my idea of a 12 bar blues was fairly basic.  I was asked to write the chords of 12 Bar blues in Bb.


I wrote:

[Bb7       |              |              |              |

|Eb7       |              |Bb7        |              |

|F7         |Eb7        |Bb7        |F7         ]


I thought that this was pretty good – but I was sure surprised when the teacher said that this was not what she was expecting.


This is the Jazz Blues:


[Bb7                       |Eb7                      |Bb7                      |Bb7                      |

|Eb7                       |(Edim7)                |Bb7                      |G7                        |

|Cm7                      |F7                        |Bb7      G7            |Cm7     F7           ]


The bracketed Edim7 in bar 6 is optional – but I quite dig it.


In jazz, there’s a whole bunch on jazz tunes that use this progression either in F or Bb for their chords. 


Here’s the same progression in F


[F7                       |Bb7                      |F7                         |F7                         |

|Bb7                     |(Bdim7)                |F7                         |D7                        |

|Gm7                   |C7                         |F7         D7           |Gm7    C7            ]


Practical:  Learn these progressions for the Jazz Blues for both these keys by heart.  Be able to play them.  If you get stuck, I have included the Bb Jazz Blues as a chord library in the community content (where you can download it for guitar). 


Here is a list of songs that use the Jazz Blues (or some variation) for their chords.  If you want to learn a couple of them, look them up on Youtube and find the sheet music from Google images.


  • Tenor Madness

  • C Jam Blues

  • Sonnymoon for Two

  • Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

  • Watermelon Man

  • Mr. P.C.

  • Stolen Moments

  • Straight No Chaser

  • Blue Monk,

  • Pfrancing (also known as No Blues)

  • Walkin’

  • Blues in the Closet

  • Turnaround

  • Comin’ Home baby

  • All Right

  • Ok, You Win

  • Ool ya coo

  • Route 66

  • Billy’s Bounce

  • The thrill is gone (B.B. King)

  • Searchin’ for a woman

  • Israel

  • Blues on the Corner

  • Blues Connotation,

  • 3 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West

  • Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

  • Chitlins con Carne,

  • Now’s the Time

  • Blues for Alice

  • Relaxin’ at Camarillo

  • Au Private

  • Blues Walk

  • Blues March,

  • Cool Blues

  • Teenie’s Blues

  • Twisted

  • Dance of the Infidels

  • Five Spot After Dark

  • Bag’s Groove,

  • Birk’s Works

  • Blues by Five

  • Blues for Stephanie (John Clayton)

  • Cookin’ at the Continental,

  • Blowin’ the Blues Away

  • Senor Blues

  • The Jodie Grind

  • All Blues

  • Doodlin’

  • Cedar’s Blues,

  • Bemsha Swing

  • Green Onions

  • Freddie the Freeloader

  • Night Train

  • Footprints,

  • Buzzy (Charlie Parker)

  • Blue Train

  • Afro Blue

  • Bessie’s Blues

  • Equinox,

  • Back at the Chicken Shack

  • The Chicken

  • Mustang Sally (24 bar blues)

  • Stolen Moments,

  • One for Daddy’O

  • Jumpin’ with Symphony Sid

  • Barbados

  • Cheryl

  • Sandu,

  • Sippin’ at Bells (Miles Davis)

  • Speedball (Lee Morgan)

  • Twisted

  • Decision

  • Red Top,

  • Wee Dot

  • Bessie’s Blues

  • Chasin’ the Trane

  • Filthy McNasty

  • Eye of the Hurricane,

  • Yabada Ool Ya (Dizzy Gillespie)

  • C.C. Rider

  • Gingerbread Boy

  • Spontaneous Combustion,

  • Dig Dis

  • Blue Bolivar Blues

  • Royal Garden Blues

  • T-Bone Shuffle

  • St. Louis Blues,

  • Stormy Monday

  • Sweet Home Chicago

  • I’m Tore Down

  • Hoochie Coochie Man,

  • Memphis Blues

  • Pine Top Boogie

  • Red House (Jimi Hendrix’s only 12-bar blues),

  • Pride and Joy

  • Black Coffee

  • Mr. Day

  • H+H

  • Go Get It

  • Mohawk

  • Parker’s Mood

  • Bloomdido

  • Vierd Blues

  • Nutville

  • Chi Chi

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