Monthly Archives: September 2016


I’ve mentioned before that the blues is the basis for more jazz songs than any other form.  On a very basic level, “the blues” to me means a progression of: tonic, subdominant, [tonic], dominant, tonic.  This may not seem like a Bb blues at first listen, but on closer inspection it has some telltale characteristics.  The melody starts by roughly describing a Bb7 tonality, then goes through E to Eb.  We move into a more obscure area until the altered C# chord, which is right where we’d normally find a G7.  Then it cycles through C and F back to Bb.


The Invisible

I first heard this tune on Adam Rogers’ record Art of the Invisible.  The hook has been stuck in my mind this week so I wrote it out in full.

This is a good example of how to construct an interesting song from very simple building blocks.  The essence is in contrast; the A section is built on major chords that jump down by major thirds.  The melody moves mostly in thirds.  It intentionally disorients by quickly shifting tonalities and time signatures.  The B section is built on minor chords that jump up by major thirds.  The melody moves mostly in seconds.  It resolves tension by settling into a single time signature, and rests on each key center for longer.

The Invisible.jpg

The Invisible

On Terri Lyne Carrington’s album Structure, the band solos in 7/4.