3 Easy Steps to Teach Yourself to Play Jazz

Portrait of Stan Kenton, New York, N.Y.

"Caption from Down Beat: Boyd Raeburn and Stan Kenton: Leaders in the trend towards "modernism" in jazz are, unquestionably, Boyd & Stan. Boyd, the enfant terrible of the movement, made a surprise four-day visit to New York from the Coast for no better reason than that his backer happened to have had a $300 credit with an air line. At the moment, Boyd hasn't actually got a band; but he does have that backer. Soon as a location is wrangled, the Boyd will fly. Stan, meanwhile, is killing them with his Artistry album and winning most of the crowns that last year went to Woody Herman. "

Kenton, Stan
Stan Kenton Orchestra
Jazz musicians--1940-1950.
Conductors (Music)--1940-1950.
Introduction to Jazz

 Step 1 - Blue Notes

Blue Notes are typically the lowered 3rd, 7th and sometimes 5th degree of a chord. The jazz sound begins by using blue notes.


C7 = E to Bb to E
F7 = Eb to A to Eb
G7 = F to B to F

Step 2 - The Jazz Chord

Create a jazz chord sound by using blue notes. Play each chord several times.

C7 = C/BbE

F = F/ AEb

G7 = G/BF

C7 = C/BbE

Step 3 - The Jazz Feel

Rhythms in jazz are most important. They are what makes jazz swing.
Practice the following examples several times, and experiment with a "loose" or "jazz" feel. These jazz notes, chords and rhythms are combined  in Straight Ahead.

C7 = C/BbE then play  (r.h. single notes D#, E, C, D)
F7 = F/AEb  then play (r.h. single notes Gb, G, F, Eb, C)
G7 = G/BF then play (r.h. single notes C, C#, D)
C7 = C/BbE, then C/BbG then play (r.h. single notes D#, E, G, E)
F7 = F/AEb, then C/AEb, then play (l.h. single notes Ab, Eb, D, C)
C7 = C/BbE, then B/Eb, then Bb/D, then A/C
G7 = G/BF, then Ab/Eb to C, then G/D then C/C... ending C/DF#A

 I'm reading this very cool book called teach Yourself Jazz by Bert Konowitz. The credit to this article goes to him.

"Jazz washes away the dust of every day life." -- Art Blakey
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