Blues Licks

Copying ideas from recordings is the best way to learn musical style. Serious jazz students make it part of their daily routine. Just a few minutes a day will yield dramatic results. If you are an advanced player, jump down to "Stay Loose With Bruce." If you are new to transcribing solos, copy some of the simple but swinging blues licks that I recorded here for you. Listen to these recordings several times, until you can sing along with them. When you can hear the solo in your mind, you are ready to copy the licks you like. Use this free software to write out the solo: Finale Notepad.

I start the solo using the Major Blues Scale with special emphasis on the 6th to the root, two very swingin' notes. 
C Instruments:   F G Ab A C D F, emphasis on D - F
Bb Instruments: G A Bb B D E G, emphasis on E - G
Eb Instruments:  D E F F# A B D, emphasis on B - D
F Instruments:   C D Eb E G A C; emphasis on A-C

After 2 choruses, I use the "regular" blues scale:
C Instruments:   F Ab Bb B C Eb F
Bb Instruments: G Bb C C# D F G
Eb Instruments:  D F G G# A C D
F Instruments:  C Eb F F# G Bb C
Download the accompaniment track below to practice.

This classic F Blues from Maynard Ferguson's 1973 album "Live at Jimmy's features Bruce Johnstone on bari sax. Check out "MacArthur Park" from this album for another amazing Bruce Johnstone solo.  

Here is a GREAT Bb blues featuring lots of terrific players, great ideas to copy. The up-tempo introduction lasts for a minute, then they go into Joe Avery Blues.

Here's the same tune featuring Trombone Shorty when he was only 13 years old. 

Blues in F, recorded Live at the Concord Jazz Festival in 1981 

Great Blues lines in F. Joe Newman's trumpet solo is playable by young players.
F Blues 110 BPM.mp3
Mary McDermott,
Oct 9, 2017, 7:19 PM