How to Play Cherokee like a Pro: 24 Melodic Tricks for Insanely Fast Tempos

Have you ever wondered how the best players can play incredibly fast, regardless of the key, the chords, or the tune? I’m not just talking about running memorized licks and technical patterns…I mean soloing at breakneck speed with actual melodic lines over the progression.

Trying to improvise on uptempo tunes is something that can be frustrating for even the best players and the truth is, you hear more than a few players faking it. Unfortunately, most resources leave you with more questions than answers.

But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t specific techniques to practice that will teach you the skills you need. If you’ve been stuck wondering how to create long melodic lines, improvise at fast tempos or create double-time passages you’ve come to the right place…

Today we’re going to show you 24 improvisation techniques for creating melodic lines at fast tempos – taken directly from the solos of the music’s greatest improvisers.

While there are dozens of factors that go to into improvising at fast tempos – technique, time, phrasing, swing, articulation – today we’re going to put these solos under a microscope for one reason. To understand the nuts and bolts of creating long melodic lines at very fast tempos.

And to do this, we’re going to take one of the most well-known standards in the jazz repertoire: Cherokee.

Why Cherokee?

Composed by Ray Nobel in 1938, Cherokee has been played by nearly every important jazz musician to pick up an instrument and is famously noted as the musical vehicle that sparked Charlie Parker’s harmonic revelation about bebop.

If you’ve practiced improvisation for any amount of time, I’m guessing that you’ve played this tune. And if not, rest assured that you’ll encounter it in jam sessions, private lessons, and your study of improvisation.

Cherokee, along with a few other standards, is a rite of passage for any serious player…

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