Q: I was just watching the video of you doing the minor blues for the Australian movie soundtrack. I have a few questions about it. I can tell it's a minor blues but what is that chord that pops up in the 3rd bar? And what else is going on in the progression. What are some of the things you are plying in the solo? Especially the pentatonic scale things that you are doing. Great song!!
A: Thanks! Glad you like the tune. Your ears do not deceive you my friend, it is pretty much a minor blues with a few twists. The song is for a movie with some underworld type characters so I wanted it to be creepy. That's where that strange chord comes in to play in the 3rd bar. I've always liked tritones (diminished 5th intervals) and that is exactly what I have going on here.
The song has two sections, an 'A' and a 'B' section. Here is the 'A' section (the tritone is the interval between the C-7 and F#7 chord):
|C-7 |C-7 |F#7 |F#7 |
|F-7 |Bb/F |C-7 F/C |C-7 |
Besides the F#7 chord, it is pretty much straight up, but the tritone is what makes it interesting. Next up is the 'B' section. The 'B' section is pretty much a standard garden variety minor blues:
|C-7 |C-7 |F/C Eb/C |F/C |
|F-7 |Bb/F |C-7 F/C |C-7 |
|Ab9 |G7 |C-7 F/C |C-7 |
I wouldn't make too much out of the slash chords, when you think about it they aren't unusual really. The Eb/C chord is really just another way of playing a C-7 chord and the F/C chord could just be thought of as the V chord or even a C-13 chord. You don't have even really think about the slash chords because they are diatonic anyway. Now on to how I approached the solo.
See, this is for a movie so I didn't want to play a bunch of fusion lines. I mean who wants to hear a crap-load of melodic minor scales during a movie? But on the other hand, I didn't want to throw away all the money I spent on a music education so I didn't want to completely ignore my Jazz background either. So I decided to flirt with my fusion side as well without making it sound stupid. So, taking one section at a time:
'A' Section: Obviously I'm just playing C minor blues on the C-7 chord but I'm thinking how to set up that F#7 chord because the C blues scale is going to collide with the F#7 chord like a bird with a 747. So I just looked for the common tone between the C-7 and F#7 chord. What do you think it is? It is a Bb note, Right? Bb is the b7 of C-7 and the 3rd of the F#7 chord. Notice how I play the Bb note on the C-7 chord at 1:40 and again on the F#7 chord at 1:42. Now what I'm going to do is what every decent soloist has told me to do for the last 30 years and I ignored until I got clue: I'm going to pay attention to 3rds and 7ths. First I'm going to Bb and E a couple times (this is the 3rd and b7th of the F#7 chord) at 1:45. Since I'm messin' with 3rds and 7ths, I'm going to do the same thing with the b3rd and b7th of the next chord, the F-7 chord (Ab and Eb) at 1:49. Next, I play an F and C note (which is really the root and 5th of the F-7 chord, sort of continuing on with this motif and finally the b3rd and b7th of the final C-7 chord in the 'A' section (Eb and Bb). People have always said it and it is true, if you play 3rds and 7th you won't need to do much of anything else. Which bring us to the 'B' section:
If you want to pay me a buck for the lesson, download this tune by clicking the 'BUY" link down there. Go on now...