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.
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 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 [ ].
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.
So just summing up again I would just point out a few things that we have learnt about Coryell’s jazz style. They are:
Style point: Dominant 7th Chord - Dorian Minor
Style Point 2: Melody on Structural Chords
Style Point 3: Lydian Dominant substitutes for 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.