Kenny Burrell Minor Blues Solo

Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar


One of the albums that many guitarists check out when first exploring the jazz genre is Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue record. As well, since it was covered by Stevie Ray Vaughan, a lot of players are drawn to the classic tune “Chitlins Con Carne.”

When learning how to play in the style of Kenny Burrell, especially like a tune such as Chitlins, one of the key elements to explore is mixing chords and single-lines during each phrase of an improvised chorus, which you can hear during the melody section of Chitlins especially.

To help you get that cool-sounding Kenny Burrell chord/single-note sound in your jazz guitar soloing ideas, this lesson will explore a sample solo written out of an A minor blues chord progression that is inspired by Kenny’s playing on Midnight Blue and “Chitlins Con Carne.”

The single notes in the solo are all based on the A minor blues scale, and the chords used are typical, three-note shapes that many jazz guitarists use in this type of soloing/comping situation, including Kenny.

So, grab your axe and let’s dig into some smooth sounding cool jazz in the style of Kenny Burrell.

Kenny Burrell Chitlins Con Carne

Kenny Burrell Minor Blues


Kenny Burrell Minor Blues Solo

Kenny Burrell Minor Blues Backing Track

Here is a short backing track that you can use to practice the solo in this lesson, as well as work on improvising over the minor blues chord progression in the woodshed.


Practicing This Solo

Learning a solo from memory is a great way to digest the material in that improvisation, but there are also other exercises that you can use to continue your study of this material in the woodshed.

Here are 3 ways that you can continue your study of this Kenny Burrell Minor Blues Solo as you dig deeper into the concepts in this solo in the practice room.


1. Play the solo with a backing track over the first chorus, during the second chorus you improvise the single lines but keep the chords as is. Continue this alteration throughout the backing track.

2. Write out your own Kenny Burrell inspired solo over an A minor blues progression, using the blues scale for the single notes, and small, three-note chords for the comping sections of the solo.

3. Practice singing an improvised single-line where you see the single-notes in the solo above, then comp the chords on the guitar where they land. This is a great way to connect your ears and voice to your fretboard while working on a minor blues solo at the same time.

To learn more about jazz blues guitar playing, check out our ebook:

Introduction to Jazz Blues Guitar v1


  1. PaulJan 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Great lesson! I’ve been working on this tune. Thanks ever so much.

  2. ErwinJan 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Chitlins con carne is in Cm

    • Matt WarnockJan 31, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      yeah, it’s actually in C7 but the 7s are 7#9 chords, gives them a minor feel. This study is based on the feel of the song, not the exact chord changes.

      • Jon TaylorFeb 20, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        Yes, you’re right, Chitlins is not a minor blues but the first chord is C7+9.

      • SeamusNov 27, 2014 at 2:42 am

        What doe’s A7th alt. look like written out in full – please explain. GREAT lesson!!!

        • Matt WarnockNov 27, 2014 at 6:36 am

          A Bb C C# Eb F G

      • ErwinDec 18, 2015 at 7:10 pm

        I don’t have an absolute hearing, but if you listen to the recording it’s definitively a Cm7. I’v played a C7 and C7 alt against it, but that’s very dissonant

        • Matt WarnockDec 18, 2015 at 7:17 pm

          Hey, it’s a C7#9 and F7#9 chord he uses. Try these fingerings.

          8788xx for C7#9

          x8789x for F7#9

          Play those with his recording and see what you hear. Cheers.

          • ErwinJan 22, 2016 at 11:05 pm

            Yes, I guess you’re right. It’s that high Eb note that confused me 🙂

  3. ErwinJan 31, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Being a great fan of KB, your lick is highly appreciated. Transcriptions of Midnight blue to follow;-)

  4. bjhFeb 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I am actually working on this tune – the lesson comes exactly the righ time…
    Thanks for the work
    cheers bjh

  5. JorgeFeb 1, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Muchas gracias Dirk. Muy linda lecciòn.
    Saludos para todos-

  6. GeraldFeb 1, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Wonderful stuff from megastar guitarists.. wish I had 10% of their talent

  7. bishopFeb 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    great lesson thanks so much

  8. stanley westerborgFeb 1, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    hi Kenny,

    thanks a lot for this nice sound. you’re great. thanks to people you playing guitar will means a lot more for those who like this instrument.

    it was not so difficult to play the tune, because your lesson was very clear.



  9. randy muiseFeb 1, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you for all the musical knowledge you send me. I find it very helpful and useful in my musical endeavours

  10. rob !Feb 2, 2014 at 1:58 am

    very nice lesson and very informative also ! Rob !

  11. NicolaFeb 2, 2014 at 8:38 am

    great lesson

  12. Joep van LeeuwenFeb 2, 2014 at 9:21 am

    If you listen to the chords you will hear that Chittlins con Carne is a major blues, not minor! It’s the #9 voicing on the C7 that leads listeners to call this minor. It is however a real blues: both major third an minor third (as #9)are present!

    • Matt WarnockFeb 2, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Absolutely, great progression because of the 7#9 chords! This lesson is based on the feel of the tune, not the exact chords.

  13. ShimmyFeb 2, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this great piece of music

  14. Steve CamposFeb 2, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for this! Such a great album! I’m currently working on transcribing Kenny’s Sound. Really cool tune. Kenny Burrell is the coolest!

  15. PaulFeb 2, 2014 at 11:43 am

    You’ve always got so much powerful info on here, and it’s very useful immediately…Much better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere…Thanks…!!!

  16. LucasFeb 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Nice lesson! I really enjoy your posts, always clear and informative. This one kept me thinking though. When you have the A7alt bar there, shouldn’t that last chord (last 8th note of the 4th bar) be Dm already? I mean like an anticipated chord. And the same happens in the following chord changes. I’m just thinking wouldn’t the anticipation sound more natural and keep the swinging forward motion?
    anyway, thanks for the lessons and keep up the good work

    • Matt WarnockFeb 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Lucas. Glad you dug the lesson. Yes, if you wanted to anticipate the next chord in this lesson, you could play one chord ahead on any bar in the tune. So even like in bar six, you could play Am7 on the & of 4 if you wanted. Both ways will work, so check them out and then you’ll have a few options to use when applying these ideas to a jam situation.

  17. PetrosFeb 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Much appreciated,thanks a lot!!

  18. craig morrisonFeb 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    just got this tune on a starbucks jazz guitar compliation

    thanks for the chart


  19. michell royFeb 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I like the sliding from position 5 to position 1 on the fingerboard warm feeling
    Thank you.

  20. Linda PenningtonFeb 3, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Great lesson. Thanks!

  21. DarioFeb 3, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Very cool, great material!

  22. FilipFeb 3, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Another useful lesson from you.Thank You!

  23. SantosFeb 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Excellent contribution to the community.Kenny and Passare my favorites. Thank you!!

  24. HansFeb 4, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Great lesson, trank you !

  25. VictorFeb 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Excellent lesson. Could you explain what is meant by the phrase
    “..comp the chords on the guitar where they land”. What does “where they land” mean?


    • Matt WarnockFeb 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Hey, that just means keep them in the same part of the bar, on the same beats, but improvise the single notes around the chords where they already are.

  26. Peter ColwellFeb 4, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Matt, I’m so impressed by your lessons.

    • Matt WarnockFeb 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Peter, hope you’re doing well!

  27. Julio RodriguesFeb 5, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I love Kenny Burrel sound. Great site!!!

  28. Ron LevenbergFeb 6, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Matt – thanks for the lesson. I wonder if you could provide the fingering that you use in the first 4 bars. Although I can play the notes, I feel I don’t have the right fingering for it to flow smoothly. By the way, I still have Kenny Burrell’s “Midnight Blue” on vinyl. I bought it back in 1963! Thanks for this lesson and all of your lessons!

    • Matt WarnockFeb 6, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Hey, I use my first and third finger only on all those notes, except the A, 10th fret on the 2nd string, where I use my pinky.

      • Ron LevenbergFeb 6, 2014 at 7:39 pm

        Matt – Thanks. Hmmm…I don’t quite see what you mean, for example, I don’t see how to slide up with 1 from 5th fret to 9th fret with 1st finger, because then you can’t play the G on the 2nd string. I’m kind of cheating and sliding with 3rd finger from 7th to 9th, then use 2 to play the G on the 2nd string. Here’s fingering I’m trying: 3,1, slide with 3 (not 1) from 7th fret to 9th fret, then 2 on the G on 2nd string, but now I’m stuck on which fingers to play the Eb, D, C. Seems your saying slide down from Eb to D with 3rd finger, then play the C with the 1st finger.

        • Matt WarnockFeb 6, 2014 at 7:43 pm

          Hey, yeah that’s what I do, I usually start the slide from 7-9 with the 3rd finger, though if you can do it 5-9 will work as well. I use 3-3-1 on the Eb-D-C as well, so a slide form Eb-D then 1 on C. hope that helps!

          • Ron LevenbergFeb 7, 2014 at 1:45 am

            Matt – Thanks, that’s a perfect explanation! Clears it up for me.

  29. JoeyFeb 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Enjoyed this lesson. Thank you very much.

  30. EliasFeb 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Preciosa lección, gracias por enviármela.

  31. erwinFeb 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Realy authenic KB Lines, I like it very much. But it need a lot of time to create lines like that!

  32. Robby CFeb 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Great stuff.

  33. sergioMar 4, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Good job Dirk!! Thank’s!!

  34. sergioMar 4, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Good job Dirk, thank’s!!!!!

  35. BillMar 15, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Killer Lesson, fantastic !!!!

  36. BobJun 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Thank you for making this available. I can play it pretty well. Are there more songs and exercises like this in the Intro to Jazz Guitar book?

  37. BragaJul 14, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Lovely..and amazing tune. Centainly good lesson

  38. ricardo o, tapiaAug 14, 2014 at 2:36 am


  39. TatayoyoSep 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Thanks a lot M. Warnock.

    Your lessons are cristal clear for a newcommer like me (I try to learn jazz guitar since a week, i came from garage-blues with the only knowledge of power chords and pentatonics).

    Sorry for my writing, I’m french…

    Salutations to all the members.

  40. Antonio CarvalhoJan 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks for great lesson :))

  41. Sergi Marcial el TigreOct 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    The best website i know!

  42. lydaluDec 1, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    thanks for this blues bit!

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