Beyond scales, music theory, and all those memorized licks lies something that gets to the core of what improvisation is all about – the art of crafting musical ideas.
It’s what we often refer to as phrasing…
The ability to take a tune, hear its melody, understand its chord progression, and then focus on that inner voice and sing it through your instrument…you know the saying: “Play what you hear!”
This skill of creating musical phrases is something that every serious improviser needs to develop, yet it’s also one that’s trickier than it sounds.
You see, phrasing isn’t something that you can learn from a book or a few theory exercises, it’s a skill you learn by studying and imitating great players.
That’s exactly why in this Premium lesson we’ll learn from one of the masters of musical phrasing: Chet Baker.
Chet is one of the most melodic and musical players you’ll ever listen to, and if you’re serious about improving your own phrasing, he’s precisely the player to study.
Today, we’ll take a look at Chet’s iconic solo on “Let’s Get Lost,” studying the art of musical phrasing directly from his lines. Take a listen to his solo, starting at 1:54 in the recording:
Below, using Chet’s solo as a musical guide, we’ll explore 6 essential elements in learning phrasing for jazz improvisation. You’ll learn things like:
- How to make sense of the harmony
- Simplifying your approach for better phrasing
- Using the melody as your starting point
- How to utilize the phrasing structure of the melody
- Creating a melodic approach to common progressions
- Using rhythmic ideas to develop lines
For reference and as a study guide, you can download a transcription of Chet’s solo here in C, Bb, Eb, and Bass clef…