Tag: Vocabulary

Melodic Development – How to make your solos more interesting

In this video I quickly explain how to take a basic idea and try to develop it to make your solos more interesting and memorable. Remember to leave lots of space!!

Recommended reading:

Hal Crook: An analysis of his core improvisational style: An analysis of trombonist Hal Crooks’ improvisational style from 1994-96, through the examination of core material

A list of the most popular jazz standards

This post if for the jazz guys, and possibly those that want to venture into jazz territory. I talked about repertoire yesterday, and today I was asked by a friend to put together a list of the most popular jazz standards that might be called at a jam session…this is what I came up with, and I thought of sharing it with you. Comes without saying that this list is by all means incomplete and dictated by my experience with jazz jams.  Feel free to add your suggestion in the comments section!

A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Sqare

Agua De Beber

Ain’t Misbehavin’

All Blues

All of Me

All of You

All Or Nothing At All

All the Things You Are

Alone Together

Angel Eyes

Autumn Leaves

Beautiful Love

Billie’s Bounce

Blue Bossa

Blue Monk

Blue Moon

Body and Soul

But Not For Me

Bye Bye Blackbird

C Jam Blues


Chelsea Bridge


Come Rain Or Come Shine

Cry Me a River

Darn That Dream

Days of Wine and Roses


Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Donna Lee


Easy to Love

Embraceable You


Everything Happens to Me

Everytime We Say Goodbye

Fly Me To The Moon

Foggy Day


Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You

Gentle Rain

Georgia On My Mind

Giant Steps

Girl From Ipanema

God Bless the Child

Good Bait

Green Dolphin Street

Have You Met Miss Jones

Here’s That Rainy Day

How Deep is the Ocean

How High the Moon

How Insensitive

How Long Has This Been Going On

I Can’t Get Started

I Could Write a Book

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

I Get a Kick Out of You

I Got Rhythm/Rhythm Changes

I Hear a Rhapsody

I Loves You Porgy

I Remember You

I Should Care

I Thought About You

I’ll Remember April

I’ve Got You Under My Skin

If I Should Lose You

If I Were a Bell


In A Sentimental Mood


Isn’t It Romantic

It Ain’t Necessarily So

It Could Happen to You

It Don’t Mean A Thing

It Had to Be You

Jitterbug Waltz

Joy Spring

Just Friends

Just One of Those Things

Killer Joe

Lady Is A Tramp


Lazy bird

Like Someone In Love

Love For Sale

Lover Man

Lullaby Of Birdland

Lush Life

Mack the Knife

Maiden Voyage

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy



Mr. P.C.

My Favorite Things

My Foolish Heart

My Funny Valentine

My Little Suede Shoes

My One and Only Love

My Romance


Nature Boy

Night and Day

Night In Tunisia

Now’s The Time

Old Devil Moon

Old Folks


On A Slow Boat To China

On The Sunny Side Of The Street

One Note Samba

Over The Rainbow

Polka Dots and Moonbeams

Prelude To A Kiss

Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)

Round Midnight

Satin Doll

Scrapple From The Apple


Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

So What

Softly as In A Morning Sunrise


Someday My Prince Will Come

Someone To Watch Over Me

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Song For My Father

Sonnymoon For Two

Speak Low

St. Thomas

Stella By Starlight

Stormy Weather

Straight No Chaser




Sweet Georgia Brown

Take Five

Take the “A” Train

Tea For Two

The Man I Love

The Nearness of You

The Night Has 1000 Eyes

The Shadow Of Your Smile

The Very Thought of You

The Way You Look Tonight

There is No Greater Love

There Will Never Be Another You

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

Things Ain’t What They Used to Be

This Masquerade

Time After Time

Tune Up

Watermelon Man


Well You Needn’t

What is This Thing Called Love

When I Fall In Love

When Sunny Gets Blue

Work Song


You and the Night and the Music

You Don’t Know What Love Is

You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

The Importance of Repertoire

In this short post I want to spend a few words on the importance of knowing tunes, either written by other musicians or by yourself. ‘Repertoire’ is often a fancy word we use to identify ‘all the tunes we know’.

In my experience as teacher I have found to be a divide between the guitarist that is obsessed by theory and scales and that who is just interested in learning songs with no real interest in knowing how this songs are created.  I always wondered why  the second category were happier about their playing…

We spend as musicians most of our time learning theory, techniques and we often wonder how these fit in with ‘real life’….a lot of times we forget that tunes and musical pieces/compositions should be the goal of what we do. All these exercises and music theory studies should be a way to better perform and understand the tunes we know and write.

I always suggest to all my students to always keep an updated list of all the tunes they know (or they can busk), and a folder with all their original material, from the completed tunes to the ‘work in progress’ type material.

Keep writing and learning new tunes: this will give you a sense of purpose  in your studies and also it will be a test for all the techniques and theory you have learnt…

Good luck!

Larry Carlton lesson on Diminished scale

The last lesson I posted was about the Diminished scale…I stumbled onto this great video where guitar player guru Larry Carlton Talk about the diminished scale. He is one of my favourite guitarists of all times …if  had to suggest any records, just check out ‘Sleepwalk’ or ‘Strike twice’ or any of his work with Steely Dan. Notice not only the notes he plays, but HOW he plays them…notice how sometimes he put a much more dramatic accent on notes that might sound ‘out’, like a b9, to make them stand out. Just listen to how he plays in the next video and notice the dynamic (soft/loud) and the way he attacks each note.

How to use the Diminished Scale Pt 2

Continuation of the diminished scale video…in this Pt2 I show how to incorporate triads into phrases or altered chords voicings.

If we take a C half step/whole step scale C, Db, Eb, E, F#, G, A, Bb we see that four triads can be found within the notes of this scale: C major, Ebmajor, F#major, A major. In the video I show you how to add this new ‘flavour’ to your phrases.