This is the third version of this tune that I have uploaded. The tune is relatively simple yet I try to explore the rhythmic structure and hopefully succeed, by delaying some notes, playing others early and others in the spaces in-between. The crucial element is the rhythm guitar that holds all the parts together, while supplying them with a smooth, rich harmonic framework. With the cymbals I try to create a three-dimensional space across the stereo filed that in its own way, reminds me of the birds in the tree outside my balcony, each creature staking out its territory while communing with its species. Although I have played this tune many times I deliberately leave parts of the music unplanned so I do not know beforehand what I will play. This helps to keep the music alive and hopefully helps it sound more authentic and uncontrived. If as a result there is a certain coherence lacking in the rhythm I hope that emphasis on mood and feeling outweighs any technical looseness.
This version of classic song My Foolish Heart produced with two guitar, Bass and Drums. Listen with headphones.
Using the tune Nuages from Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) I workshop some ideas about how to create a satisfying melody based around the chord progression, particularly by using a motif based on the Dominant seventh chords.
This blog is an early draft of a video analysis of Larry Corryell's Turkish Coffee contained in his book Jazz Guitar.
What we notice about Coryell’s playing from previous lessons are his chord substitutions, about using for example C7 as chord one, then substituting that with C9 , Em7b5, or even Bbma7 as a substitution for C, using diminished-type chords moving in parallels, and of course chords built on fourths.
In the second part of the book, Coryell goes into some detail with a tune called Turkish Coffee, and he tells a story how he needed to play a blues in Em when he was working with a saxophonist called Benny Golson (b.1929), and Golson showed him how would practise the chord progression by rehearsing all the chord changes including the chord substitutions. So for guitar-players often we are using in E minor for example we can play a standard E minor pentatonic scale like every beginner guitar-player tends to play the minor pentatonic pattern and you can get a lot of mileage out of that kind of pattern. But Coryell takes us into another kind of sound-world, and a sound-world that belongs more to jazz. He gives us a series of substitutions which use many chromatic notes, notes outside the scale, but and the harmony also moves at a rate of about one chord per beat.
In the first bar he uses four chords Em, F#m7, G6 G# diminished. Then he outlines how we would play a melody line over the chord progressions as they are moving there, but if you analyse those chords you can see the Em, F#m7 and G6 are all diatonic chords, they have not really left the key of E minor. However when he gets to the G#dim chord, of course he has got two new notes in there G# and F both of which are outside the key of E minor. Nevertheless that G# diminished chord is a passing chord and has not got a lot of structural content so basically he is staying the key of E minor for the first three chords but then he uses G#dim as a leading chord to take us into the next diatonic chord which is A minor.
Now in that second bar he gives us four chords, Am7, C7, B7 and Ab over C. Now again if you look at those chords, the Am7, the C7 are blues variations of diatonic chords. With the B7 and Ab over C, you can see that he is starting to incorporate some secondary dominants and some chords which are outside of the key. Am7 is fine in the key of Em, but C7? C7 of course is not directly in the key of E minor. It has the notes C, E G Bb so its main notes outside of the key are well possibly the C, but definitely the Bb. Now the same with B7, the chord can be seen as a Chord V in E minor if you are using harmonic minor, however the chord Ab over C is definitely outside of the key. It has two notes here, Ab and Eb, both of which are outside of the key. So as he builds a melody through this bar here we would be forgiven for thinking that Coryell would outline the chords something like A minor, the C, the B, and Ab, but he does not actually do that. What he does is he takes the four chords, and he identifies just one chord in the bar that is unique to that bar, which is B7. So over those four chords he plays a melodic pattern which is based on B7. Although there are four chords there he is only selecting one chord out of those four to create this melodic line. So Ami7, C7, B7. Ab/C and then [ ].
Now in the following bar, bar three he uses again four chords, he is using G over B, G6, Em7 which uses the same notes, and then this unusual chord, Cm7. Again the Cm7 although it sounds like it is outside of the key of e minor, it has an Eb in it, it has a Bb in it, nevertheless it functions quite well as just a passing chord to take us into B7 in the next beat. So what Coryell does here is he plays a kind of blues pattern and that blues pattern is based around a standard E minor blues. So that third bar makes a lot of sense does it not? Even though there are many chords in theory in fact it is a kind of Em7 tonality all around.
In bar four he moves through Bm7 F7, E7 and Bb7, and you think ‘What is going here?’ Well actually it is really just Bm7 and E7 but he is approaching the E7 from a semitone above and then he is using a chord substitution a flat five to take us back to Am7 in the following bar. So the key notes in that fourth bar are really the Bm7 and E7 and the line that he plays there [ ] . What he does there is just taking a diminished arpeggio which leads into E7 so it really is a kind of E7 arpeggio. So the four chords Bm7, F7, E7 and Bb7 actually are only supporting the melodic line on E7. What we are saying here is that you do not have to be ‘frightened’ of those four chords. This bar has just one main pivotal chord, one main structural chord the E7. The others are just supporting chords.
In the next two bars, he takes us through this sequence of ii-V's: Am7 D7, Abm7 Db7, Gm7 C7, F#m7 and B7 and he gives a series of interesting notes that he would use there. For example Am7 and D7 [ ] . You might think, ‘Why does use choose that particular set of notes. E D C Bb Ab G F?’ In his book he calls that a Super-Locrian or Diminished Whole-Tone scale and of course it is on E. Now you think why does he use that over Am7 and D7? Why could he not have use Emi [ ] or why could not he have played an A minor? So if you listen the sound of that Super Locrian scale, [ ] compare that with say, E min or A minor, [ ] you can see that the minor is a fairly bland kind of sound, but the diminished whole-tone starts like a minor scale, flattens out right at the end and gives us a kind of falling, diminished kind of sound to that melody, and I think that is the effect there, a kind of blue effect. So that takes us through Am7 and D7. When it gets to Abm7, Db7 that is just straightforward, he is just using notes from the chords, and the same with the Gm7 C7. When he gets to the fourth chord progression, F#m7 and B7 however he gives us this pattern C, E and [C,B E]. So that C is functioning like a kind of a flat nine over the B7 chord. That gives a touch of dissonance over the chord progression and again if you think of the chord, F#m7 and B7, the note C over a F#m7 chord, well F#m7 has a C# in it and he is playing [C]. That C natural again gives the impression of a kind of falling, a kind of compressed minor sound to this passage. So although the chord progression [in bars five and six] is using standard sequences, you get [ ] and that takes us into a new pattern, into the key of E minor.
Now with that E minor pattern he goes through a cool chord progression, an E minor chord, C a diatonic chord, moving to a B over D#, just a diatonic chord, chord V and Bm7. There are no surprises in that bar. It has just standard diatonic chords, but they sound very cool there in context.
In the following bar he takes us through Em7 and then a Bb chord with D in the bass, going to C6 and Am7. So no surprises there except the chord progression though Em7 uses a non-diatonic Bb chord, then diatonic C and Am7, so the effect of that Bb chord is again a kind of a flat five, bluesy kind of sound [ ].
He then starts an ascending run for the next three of four bars in the chord progression so we have F#m7b5, G6, Am7, A#dim7 and this extraordinary progression going through Am, C#7#9, D9, Eb7b9, E7, Eb7b9, Eb7b7, Dm7, and G13, a series of rising chords, moving through progressions of a semitone higher each time. So from the Am7 he jumps to the C#, then uses parallel dominant chords [ ] . What helps to make this progression sound anchored in the key of E minor is the fact that it has that E note constant throughout the whole. So Am7 to C#7#9: Even though that C#7#9 is way out of key, it has still that note E in it. D9 still has the E in it, Eb7b9 still has the E. E7 quite an unusual chord for E minor, it still has the E in it then it comes back down though Eb7b9, D9 and G13th which resolves in the final bar to a slightly unexpected Cma7, F#7 and Fma7. Now the Fma7 functions as a kind of Dominant, because it leads us back into E minor. So in traditional harmony, we tend to think of B7 leading us to E minor, but Fma7 actually sounds quite effective as a chord to take us back to E minor.
In those last three bars he is taking us through an interesting chord progression. Listen, and melodically there he has an interesting pattern. What he does is takes the Am, the C#7#9 and D9, but he selects out of that bar one key chord, and that one key chord in this case is D9 and that is right in the centre of the bar and he plays an ascending scale on that. But does he play a Dominant scale? Does he play a Lydian Dominant? No. He just plays just a straight minor scale. Now remember the chord progression here is Am, C#7, D9 and his choice of notes there is D minor. Now you say why would he play a D minor scale over a D9 chord? I think that this is a characteristic that Coryell uses a lot. Over a Dominant chord he will harmonise with a minor scale. So if you are playing the minor scale over the Dominant chord you are going to get a flat third. The Dominant chord here has F# in it, but when he plays the melodic line [he uses F]. That gives us [D7#9] again a kind of bluesy sound. D9 with a flattened third gives a kind of bluesy flattened ‘down’ sort of sound and you notice that is a characteristic of Coryell’s style in this music here, in that he prefers to go onto a kind of compressed, flattened sound over each of the chords.
In the last two bars he just plays standard arpeggios, so he has Eb7 starting on G, E7 staring on G#, and back again [ ]. For D9 he just plays from the chord, E, C, and A, all just notes from the standard D9th. For the G13th chord just before the final bar, he has a short run, [D E F G A]. Now that is just notes from the D minor scale and we have already talked about the D minor scale. He is also taking us into a new key and that is taking us to a C major chord and his melodic line [A F E D]. Then he uses a chord substitution, F# and resolves that onto Fma7. So Cmaj7, F#7 and Fma7 and listen to his line there [ ]. That gives us a cool four-note descending pattern, a sequence to finish his kind of blues-based line but he has really extended that blues idea and over twelve bars has used many interesting melodic patterns through that.
Coryell shows us in this composition he used a Dorian minor scale with Dominant Seventh chords. He would usually build his melodies on structural chords and he used the Lydian Dominant scale as a substitute for the Natural Minor.
So there we have it. That is a brief harmonic analysis of Turkish Coffee. I hope you found that interesting and I hope that you can use some of those interesting chord progressions and melodic patterns for your own excursions in E minor.
So once again I would say thank you for watching. Play guitar every day. Find some good people to make music with and thank you very much.
Welcome to this Lesson six in the series about Larry Coryell’s approach to Jazz Guitar. The musical examples we are using come from his book called Jazz Guitar in which he kindly outlines his understanding of the blues and jazz style customised to the guitar.
Vocabulary in Jazz/Blues:
You remember in lesson five that we looked at Coryell’s harmonised melodies or chord-melodies in which he showed that, for him, the blues pattern consists of four or five structural chords, C7, F7, G7, plus Dm7. When harmonising melodies he stays close to the underlying chord with occasional ventures into diminished chords and chord substitutions. In fact, he showed us a kind of vocabulary of substitutions in that context: For C7 he would use Bbma7, and Em7b5, for F7, F7sus4#3, F#13, F#b13, for connecting passages diminished 7ths and the Gb/G diminished chord.
Vocabulary of Substitutions:
In lesson six we look at how Coryell expands his vocabulary of substitutions and shows us how he develops these ideas. Let us look at the opening phrase:
The first chord, the tonic chord is a chord built on fourths F,Bb,Eb,A. [I call this chord F74, sometimes referred to as F7sus4] That is chord one in his expanded tonal vocabulary. Next Ebma7 although he called it Bbma7, then F9/A, and Cmma7, a slightly more active version of Cmi7 with that B natural, down to Ebma7, his favoured substitution and resolving to B7#5/A. Why B7#5/A? Well firstly, this chord could also be called F7#5/A another variant of F. That means his phrase does not exactly rest here. He has built up a level of Harmonic ‘richness’ some would say instability that is maintained here even at cadence points.
The following phrase (Figure 1, Bar 2), starts with a supertonic (G74) to tonic decoration using more chords built on fourths, the G,C,F chord with the melody note Bb. Moving down by semitone to F, Bb, Eb, really Chord One again, Eb, Ab,Db,G a variant of his Ebma7, D,G,C, Bb, with the bass moving by step down to C,F,Bb,Eb and resolving to F in the bass. In one sense this entire phrase has not left Chord One, with each substitution acting as a decoration of the main sonority.
A brief melodic flourish and here we have this extended phrase of parallel diminished seventh chords (Figure 2, bar 4) going through, F#, A, C, then tumbling back down through Eb, C, A and F# to rest briefly before another tumble using these A/Bb type diminished chords moving down in minor thirds to land on B/C, extended and resolving on a stable B power chord. Harmonically speaking the music has taken us on a journey from the Chord of F to its polar opposite B through a so-called unstable but tuneful progression.
At this point the harmony pivots using a Gmaj7 chord to F#m (Figure 3) and resolves down to Chord One again F7sus4, ornamented by its supertonic, and another flight of the bumblebees (Figure 4) with a rapidly rising series of diminished chords through a dissonant and, for me, unplayable G13#11 chord to rest on Bbmaj/C the nearest to an imperfect cadence this music is likely to approach. Through another diminished passage ornamenting chord V, the harmony twists as if it is going to modulate and rest on D minor. An Em7b5 chord, followed by A7#5,#9 sounds like it would be heading to Dm, but Coryell instead rests on Fma7#5. He calls the chord Dm/ma7 but it sounds very much like F major. This deceptive but beautiful cadence is decorated melodically and rests on our unplayable, for me, G13#11 resolving as intended to D. This note D chord is arguably the high point of this brief tone poem. From this moment the music tumbles down to its close.
Though parallel seventh chords, (Figure 5) a chain of suspensions takes us to another brief flight of diminisheds, further falling diatonic sevenths, resting on Gm11, another chord of fourths (Figure 5).
Further melodic decoration, and an improvised cadence. Then F#7#9, pivoting to an altered C7b5 and a harmonically rich but tonally ambiguous fourth chord, A,D,G,B suspended in the upper reach of this tessitura before being anchored by the low F, which brings us back to Chord One not exactly Chord One as we know it Jim but Chord One nevertheless (Figure 6).
Coryell said of these two pages of writing that the music has a blues essence. What did he mean by that? Well we can say that there is none of the rhythmic drive, repetitiveness and dark humour of the blues, but there is the concept of harmony based on the 7th chord. Chord One is a seventh chord the music explores through that a sound world of harmonic depth that invites reflection.
In some ways the first eleven bars just lead us via diminished and altered chords to chord V, then resolve on D at bar 14, the music finally falls down though more stable diatonic chords back to Chord One. On the way Coryell turned the guitar inside out and led us on a harmonic and melodic path supported by mostly parallel chords; the bass and melody moving mostly in parallel motion.
The vocabulary of sounds goes beyond a simple blues and has some of the richness of harmony that we would find in the music of for example Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) or the late symphonists. Perhaps it is reading too much into two pages of music but Coryell’s classical European leaning shines through in this music and reminds us of the harmonic excursions of that other brilliant guitarist Joe Pass (1929-1994).
Well there we have it; I hope this look at harmonic extension inspires you to explore this vocabulary in your own playing. As always, play guitar every day, stay in the groove, make music with cool people and there it is.
From Stephen Galvin