Bb Jazz Blues Solo – A Jazz Guitar Study
This lesson sees the return of my jazz guitar studies series and I’ve chosen this time to focus on a jazz blues progression in Bb. This is a very common progression (and key) for playing a blues and it affords us the opportunity to examine how playing a jazz blues differs from regular (or more traditional) blues playing. Let’s firstly look at the chords employed in our Bb blues.
Most jazz musicians will likely add in additional chords to supplement the basic I – IV – V chords seen in more traditional blues progressions and will probably also include some form of turnaround chord sequence. A turnaround is simply a short series of chords, usually played towards the end of an existing chord progression. Amongst other uses, it assists both the listener and other musicians to know when the next chorus is about to begin.
It’s also worth noting that the choice of chords within a jazz blues sequence can vary slightly between individual players, but generally speaking this isn’t a major issue in performance unless the chords have been changed radically. The first PDF below show the chords that I have used for our Bb jazz blues solo guitar study and this particular harmonic sequence is very common indeed.
Please note that this chord chart simply represents the basic structure of the harmonic sequence used in a jazz blues in Bb and you may notice some slight variation from this in the later (full study) PDF. The reason for this is that it is very common for jazz musicians to both extend and alter some chords to help enrich the overall harmony. For example, a chord symbol of Bb7 could easily be changed to Bb9 or Bb13 and G7b9 could become G7#5b9 etc.
The Bb Jazz Blues Chord Progression
Here is a chord chart for the basic harmonic progression we will be using in our jazz guitar study of a jazz blues:
There are a lot of different approaches to playing on a jazz style blues progression, but I have chosen to focus more on bop style single lines in this lesson as most intermediate level guitar players are already familiar with the blues scale and pentatonic playing. Within the musical score, you will also see that I have added some performance notes here and there to try and explain my thinking against the chords in terms of scales, embellishments and arpeggios, which I hope prove helpful.
Here is the entire jazz blues solo (3 choruses) played via MIDI piano for maximum clarity and along with the backing track available lower down the page:
Now here is the PDF of the entire solo played in the audio track above:
Finally, here is a backing track of the Bb jazz blues for you to play along with:
Enjoy playing this Bb blues jazz guitar solo and I’ll see you next time.