Substituting the ii chord.


Feb 18, 2021
Southern Jazzville
No boundaries, maybe this new generation of players fit. Young Lyons

<> <= ~ 72 years ago!

Here's Tal and Red - a good example of Tal's playing when playing for the public at large: <> -- If you are short on time, fast forward to 25:46 and check out his chord melody playing to open the tune and his harmonics playing afterwards. He told me that Lenny Breau far surpassed him on harmonics... but that was decades after Tal was the guy who pioneered it!

Tal had huge hands (as many know). When he was very young he first played a ukulele (4 strings) and learned many of the popular songs of the day off the radio. When he got a little older and put his huge hands of a 6-string guitar he discovered he could play the tunes on the top 4 strings and easily stretch his thumb over the top portion of the neck of the guitar and play the E and A strings. This allowed him to play bass lines as well as both regular voicings and voicings what many today call "polychords" (e.g. Amaj/B) quickly. As such, his approach to harmony was more advanced than the traditional guitarists of the day (and many even today). He was known as a speed demon playing those fast lines with Norvo and others but his plectrum chord melody playing was among the most incredible I ever witnessed.

Also there's a poorly recorded example somewhere on YouTube that I saw years ago of Tal "stretching out" into today's modern jazz employing harmonies that he rarely played in public. I think it was recorded at a club in Ireland(?) several years before he passed away and there's only one song showing this really advanced playing. It blew me away; it showed that he was absorbing stuff in his last years that few ever knew, including me. I knew him pretty well the last decade of his life and he never played this stuff around me.

I admire so many players both past and present, including Julian!


Feb 29, 2016
The thesis is you can get bebop lines out of blues progressions by substituting certain things, including the minor V argeggios over the I7 and IV7 and V7 chords.

That is basically playing notes from the mixolydian scale arranged as arpeggios and patterns. It can be useful to some extent, but keep in mind that by using this method you are not really learning improvisation. You are learning arpeggios and patterns. IMO.


Doctor of Teleocity
Silver Supporter
Nov 28, 2006
Los Angeles, Ca
but keep in mind that by using this method you are not really learning improvisation. You are learning arpeggios and patterns. IMO.
We all learn some vocabulary and sentence construction before we have real conversations.
Scales, arpeggios, licks, lines ... they all eventually evolve into one's own way of communicating.

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