Days of Wine and Roses (Solo Study)

Days of Wine and Roses was written by Henry Mancini in 1962 for the movie of the same name. The song has since become a jazz standard and popular among jazz guitarists with recordings from Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Lenny Breau, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Raney, John Abercrombie, Howard Roberts, and many more. The most famous jazz guitar recording is Wes Montgomery’s version on his album Boss Guitar (1963).

In this lesson, you will learn a solo over the chord changes of Days of Wine and Roses.

We will be looking at some classic jazz patterns, including patterns that mix chords and single-note lines.

Recommended listening:

Days of Wine and Roses

  • Wes Montgomery – Boss Guitar (1963)
  • Barney Kessel – Just Friends (1975)
  • Joe Pass – Easy Living (1986)
  • Bireli Lagrene – Standards (1992)
  • Bill Frisell – East/West (2005)
  • Dexter Gordon – Tangerine (1972)
  • Keith Jarrett – Keith Jarrett at the Blue Note (1995)
  • Bill Evans – Consecration (2002)
 

Video

 

Guitar Tabs/Notation

Backing Track

Days of Wine and Roses solo page 1
Days of Wine and Roses solo page 2

Jazz Guitar Patterns

Let’s have a closer look at the patterns used in the solo.

 

Pattern 1 (bar 1)

This first pattern can be used to mix chords into your single-note lines.

You start with a chord voicing and then play the appropriate scale starting on the 5th and ending on the 9th.

This pattern can be used on major chords:

 

Jazz pattern 1

 

It can also be used on minor chords, such as in this II V I progression:

 

Jazz pattern 2

 

Pattern 2 (bar 2, 8, 10, 16)

The most natural place to mix chords into your solos is on the 4th beat of a dominant chord and the 1st beat of the chord it resolves to.

In the following examples, the chord voicings are played on the B, G, and D strings. These small voicings are easy to fret and don’t get in the way of the bass or the melody/solo.

Here is an example (bar 8):

 

Jazz Pattern 2

 

To add some variety, you can play the dominant chord after the beat (bar 2):

 

Jazz Pattern 2b

 

In this example (bar 10), I use a 7b9 voicing:

 

Jazz Pattern 2c

 

In bar 16, I use a 7b13 chord to go to the tonic major:

 

Jazz Pattern 2d

 

Pattern 3 (bar 6)

In bar 5, I use 6th intervals to bring a touch of harmony in between the single-note lines.

Here is an exercise to practice playing 6th intervals in scales.

On the E-string:

 

Jazz Pattern 3

 

On the A-string:

 

Jazz Pattern 3b

 

On the D-string:

 

Jazz Pattern 3c

 

On the G-string:

 

Jazz Pattern 3d

 

Pattern 4 (bar 7)

Pattern 4 uses slides to navigate through the Bb Dorian mode.

 

Jazz Pattern 4

 

You can apply this principle to other scales as well, such as the C major scale.

 

Jazz Pattern 4b

 

Pattern 5 (bar 11)

A Bbmaj9 arpeggio is a common way to play over G minor chords, resulting in a Gm11 sound.

Playing a maj9 arpeggio from the 3rd of a minor chord brings out the 9/11 sound.

For example: Bbmaj9 over Gm7.

 

Bbmaj9 arpeggioBbDFAC
Played over Gm7b35b7911

 

Jazz Pattern 5

 

Pattern 6 (bar 12, 32)

Pattern 6 starts with the same substitution as pattern 5.

In bar 2 I play the b9 and 13 of C7:

 

Jazz Pattern 6

 

The scale of choice to play over 13b9 chords is the dominant diminished scale, also known as the half/whole diminished scale because it alternates between half and whole steps in its interval structure.

 

Dominant Diminished1b9#93#11513b71
HWHWHWHW

C dominant diminished scale

 

Jazz Pattern 6b

 

Here are two examples of how you can get this sound into your comping as well:

 

Jazz Pattern 6c

Jazz Pattern 6d

 

Pattern 7 (bar 16)

Pattern 7 uses a C augmented triad to play over C7b13.

 

C augmented triad

Jazz pattern 2

 

Pattern 8 (bar 17)

The next pattern is a variation of a pattern Wes Montgomery uses in his solo over Days of Wine and Roses.

It uses an A minor triad to play over Fmaj7, a simpler version of the substitution in pattern 5.

Note how this pattern outlines an Fmaj7 chord shape.

 

Fmaj7 chord

Jazz pattern 8

 

 

Here is the original version of this pattern in Wes Montgomery’s solo (0:06 in the Wes video above).

Note that he uses Ebmaj7 instead of Eb7 in bar 2 of the form.

 

Jazz pattern 8b

 

Pattern 9 (bar 22)

Pattern 9 is a typical jazz guitar cliché that applies an uprake to a maj7 arpeggio (same substitution as pattern 5).

 

Jazz pattern 9

 

Pattern 10 (bar 23)

Pattern 10 starts with a Dbmaj7 arpeggio over Bbm7 (see pattern 5) and continues with an F minor triad (see pattern 8).

 

Fm triadFAbC
Played over Bbm75b79

Jazz pattern 10

 

 

Pattern 11 (bar 30)

This last pattern outlines a C13 chord.

 

C13 chord

Jazz Pattern 11

 

Here is a variation on the same pattern:

 

Jazz Pattern 11b

 

Days of Wine and Roses Guitar Pro FileGuitar Pro File

 

Days of Wine and Roses Band in a Box FileBand in a Box file

 

Band in a Box

  • Arto says:

    Hi Dirk, you have done very good professional work. It was three months
    ago that i can’t played, cause i was ill (not corona). Now I try to hurry
    to get same level with other pupils. I’m now practicing Ellington’s Night Train. I try also play classical guitar at the same time
    So I’ve been busy with guitar playing.
    I would like to know which theorical material will read.
    The band in a box is very good thing and thank you the tutorial
    material you give.

    regards
    Arto

  • Tom says:

    I don’t understand how pattern 9 works, I can’t get it to sound the same as in your recording…

    • Dirk Laukens says:

      Hi Tom, the uprake requires some practice to get it smooth. The first three notes are sweep-picked downwards, the fourth note is a downstroke.

  • Ian says:

    Thanks Dirk, great solo and material to work on! When is your new course ready?

    • Dirk Laukens says:

      The course will be published the second week of December. I’ll let you know!

  • Stuart says:

    Hi Dirk, good lesson well explained and plenty to work with.. I enjoyed reading and listening so thanks.

    • Dolf Schaller says:

      AMAZING

    • Dirk Laukens says:

      Thanks, I’m glad you like it!

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