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  1. #1

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    In Jazz Guitar Today there's an article on Jazz Blues changes. One variation he calls the "Lewis Changes".

    I'm not asking anything about the changes themselves. I'm just asking about the name. Has anybody ever heard of the "Lewis Changes"? If so who was Lewis? I can't find anything about this.

    Here's a link to the article. The Lewis Changes and the Bird Blues – A Chuck Anderson Lesson - Jazz Guitar Today

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  3. #2

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    I think Vince Lewis has material in Jazz guitar today.... or maybe spelling thing.
    the changes are basic. Not many just play basic changes

  4. #3

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    I saw that article too and was thinking "Lewis changes? That's a new one on me!" Glad you asked the question here, Jack E Blue.

  5. #4

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    John Lewis, MJQ.

    Danny W.

  6. #5

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    That would also be my guess, but it's only a guess. Never heard of it before. I pulled out some of my old MJQ LPs yesterday. I had forgotten how good they were.

  7. #6

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    Yea John Lewis makes sense , worked with Parker, blues for Alice...Which are Parker changes... (but some how I would have though... the pianist would have come up with the changes).
    What’s your source for the John Lewis reference...
    is the Fmaj7 G-7 / A-7 Ab-7 two bars the reference Was there a tune of his?
    And...yea those were cool years, great player/ composer.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Yea John Lewis makes sense , worked with Parker, blues for Alice...Which are Parker changes... (but some how I would have though... the pianist would have come up with the changes).
    What’s your source for the John Lewis reference...
    is the Fmaj7 G-7 / A-7 Ab-7 two bars the reference Was there a tune of his?
    And...yea those were cool years, great player/ composer.
    It is John Lewis. I learned this by going back to a previous article in the same series by Chuck Anderson. ("Characteristics of the Blues") In it, Anderson writes:
    In blues. the I7 and IV7 are considered Full Diatonic – not to the key but to the blues. For variety, writers have substituted a maj7 for a 7 in order to achieve variety. The composer credited with this is John Lewis. The chord move is called the Lewis Changes. It occurs at bar 7 where you would normally have a C7 (I). The progression is Cmaj7(2 beats), Dm7(2 beats), Em7(2 beats), A7(2 beats), Dm7 (4 beats),G7( 4 beats) etc. Many variations in the evolution of jazz blues have been used throughout the years.

  9. #8
    Thanks for all the responses. My question is answered. Apparently "Lewis Changes" is not a term in common usage. I'm talking about the term "Lewis Changes," not the progression itself.

    I hate to keep referencing the Mickey Baker book, but he does use the Imaj7 in bar 7 several times and this exact progression at least once. I now understand where it came from.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Yea John Lewis makes sense , worked with Parker, blues for Alice...Which are Parker changes... (but some how I would have though... the pianist would have come up with the changes).
    What’s your source for the John Lewis reference...
    is the Fmaj7 G-7 / A-7 Ab-7 two bars the reference Was there a tune of his?
    And...yea those were cool years, great player/ composer.
    I just took a well-educated guess.

    Danny W.

  11. #10

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    (but some how I would have though... the pianist would have come up with the changes).
    John Lewis was a piano player.

  12. #11

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    Yea I’m aware of Lewis...Well educated musician, was trying to hint that Lewis probably came up with Parker blues changes also.
    Im old and never heard term Lewis changes. Usually there is a tune which picks up as being the reference for the label.
    Imaj7 for I chord is pretty common back in the swing and even into the bop years
    All good, great to learn new labels

  13. #12

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    I apparently misunderstood your meaning, which I sort of suspected in the first place. Your writing style, with all the ellipses, seems to sometimes make it difficult for me to understand everything you're saying. Perhaps I'm a little slow...

  14. #13

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    If ' Lewis changes ' is referring to bar 7 Imaj IImin IIImin bIIImin , isn't that Stormy Monday changes ? That's what I used to call it .

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgosnell
    I apparently misunderstood your meaning, which I sort of suspected in the first place. Your writing style, with all the ellipses, seems to sometimes make it difficult for me to understand everything you're saying. Perhaps I'm a little slow...
    Lol... no your normal, Hell exceptional.... I always have way too many concepts going on all the time,
    and need a proof reader, not to mention I tend to think everyone knows everything
    like being able to play anything anywhere on the guitar anytime... I’m also old, I grew up with approach that you needed too actually figure things out yourself. Anyway sorry for misunderstandings

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pycroft
    If ' Lewis changes ' is referring to bar 7 Imaj IImin IIImin bIIImin , isn't that Stormy Monday changes ? That's what I used to call it .
    Yes... that’s why I was looking for the reference of the label
    even though Stormy? What’s date of tune

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    It is John Lewis. I learned this by going back to a previous article in the same series by Chuck Anderson. ("Characteristics of the Blues") In it, Anderson writes:
    In blues. the I7 and IV7 are considered Full Diatonic – not to the key but to the blues. For variety, writers have substituted a maj7 for a 7 in order to achieve variety. The composer credited with this is John Lewis. The chord move is called the Lewis Changes. It occurs at bar 7 where you would normally have a C7 (I). The progression is Cmaj7(2 beats), Dm7(2 beats), Em7(2 beats), A7(2 beats), Dm7 (4 beats),G7( 4 beats) etc. Many variations in the evolution of jazz blues have been used throughout the years.
    Ha theory books, bless them.

    But good to know the Stormy Monday turnaround had another name.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reg
    Yes... that’s why I was looking for the reference of the label
    even though Stormy? What’s date of tune
    Well , I've just consulted Professor Google ...T-Bone Walker's original recording was 1947 but doesn't use those changes . It became a feature of the song after Bobby Bland's version in 1961 .

    But I bet it's much older than that .

  19. #18

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    I've always called it the Stormy Monday changes.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I've always called it the Stormy Monday changes.
    That's because you're just a young whipper-snapper. That Lewis Changes stuff is for the old guys.

  21. #20

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    I'm getting older every day

  22. #21

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    I think the John Lewis changes have been superseded by the Waitrose cadence which is surely derived from the Sears Roebuck bridge .

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pycroft
    I think the John Lewis changes have been superseded by the Waitrose cadence which is surely derived from the Sears Roebuck bridge .
    Oldster! It’s all Amazon Prime changes now.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    Oldster! It’s all Amazon Prime changes now.
    Isn't that a drone?

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pycroft
    I think the John Lewis changes have been superseded by the Waitrose cadence which is surely derived from the Sears Roebuck bridge .
    It's just the Amazon bridge now

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz
    Oldster! It’s all Amazon Prime changes now.
    Godammit, always check the thread. I'm leaving my post up though, as a sign of shame.

  27. #26

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    I have to admit ... this is fun

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I'm getting older every day
    And that definitely beats the alternative option by a long shot.

  29. #28

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    Getting younger everyday? Hmm, if it was an option...I'd consider it.

  30. #29

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    No, to the best of my knowledge there are only two options, and of those only one is acceptable. But eventually everyone accepts the other, since there is no other choice.

  31. #30

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    Back to business for a moment, can anybody name a tune that uses Lewis changes that I might find on a real? Other than Stormy Monday that is

  32. #31

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    Yea they’re very vanilla jazz blues option...before we shut down I used them on a Parker’s Barbados. I never play that vanilla. But using a version of Imaj and a chord pattern like
    Ima7 II-7 / III-7 bIII-7/. Or I II / III-7 VI7/....for approach of II-7 V7 is very common.

    There are millions of standard options that are used, not to mention that you can actually start using Blue Note referenced chords. Where I’m going is that basic blues changes are just the vanilla staring point.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I've always called it the Stormy Monday changes.
    ...but Tuesday’s just as bad.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach5G
    Back to business for a moment, can anybody name a tune that uses Lewis changes that I might find on a real? Other than Stormy Monday that is
    I sent Chuck Anderson an email asking about this. We don't doubt his word but none of us had heard the term before and a Google search for it leads to Anderson's article and this thread. Maybe it's a regional thing.

    If he gets back to me, I'll let you all know.

  35. #34

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    Here's Bobby "Blue" Bland (with Wayne Bennett on guitar) doing "Stormy Monday" live in 1962. Fans
    of the Allman Brothers version will find much familiar about this.


  36. #35

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    I heard back from Chuck Anderson (the guitarist who wrote the article about "Lewis Changes".)
    Very gracious of him to get back to me.

    Chuck first heard the term when he was 19 and studying with Dennis Sandole. Since Chuck was born in 1947, I figure this would have been in 1966.

    He pointed out that T-Bone's original version of "Stormy Monday" (1947) did not have the "Stormy Monday changes" we think of from the Bobby "Blue" Bland and Allman Bros. versions. Bland's version came out in 1962, IIRC. The Allman Bros. version was nearly a decade later.

    Nice of him to get back to me. He's used the term for a long time now and has forgotten its origin.

  37. #36

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    Thanks Mark... puts in perspective.

  38. #37

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    The John Lewis changes relate to his simplified changes with C. Parker,


    Blues for Alice


    |F |A7 |Dm |F7 |


    |Bb |Bbm |F |Abdim |

    |Gm7 |C7 |F D7 |Gm7 C7 |


    Blues for Alice uses ( what is called UK Round the clock Blues] Bird Blues,


    This is courtesy of Lionel Grigson & Pete Burdon Rip, both authorities bebop players on C. Parker,


    It was mentioned C Parker did not depend on passing chords, and could pare down to sequence to its essential changes.


    I think the Alice changes in the form we know today, came a few months later. It is unclear. It also seems that the Lewis Changes are not really mentioned as it really just basic blues changes, issues over whether Bar is Maj or Dom, and perhaps Bar 7 are min7 or min7b5 are sometimes mentioned.

  39. #38

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    We're almost back to vanilla dance band changes... Sure glad we eventually added some color.

    Nice research, thanks.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by marvinvv
    Blues for Alice uses ( what is called UK Round the clock Blues] Bird Blues,


    This is courtesy of Lionel Grigson & Pete Burdon Rip, both authorities bebop players on C. Parker, .
    I'd never heard "Round The Clock" blues before but I certainly get it. (I used to have a diagram of the cycle as a clock face on my music stand. I don't need it anymore but I appreciate the usefulness of the clock analogy.)

    I like the term "Bird Blues". Short and sweet. Though I never cared for "Blues for Alice." Carol Kaye teaches those cycle changes with "Bluesette", a much better tune (IMHO).

    IF people use "Lewis changes" to mean "Bird Blues" changes (or the first four bars of them), I don't see much value in it.
    IF people use "Lewis changes" to mean what we call "Stormy Monday changes" I don't see much value either.
    (Beyond getting the reference when hearing older musicians talk.)
    IF "Lewis changes" just mean varied-blues-changes, well, that's too vague to be helpful.

    I'm glad we've had this discussion and I appreciate everyone's input but I can't see myself saying, "Let's play X but with the Lewis changes."

  41. #40

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    Yea... Mark. lewis changes isn't really used because of the obvious, which you laid out.

    As you point out.... cycles like Blussette with Kaye, (still love that tune), anyway personally...it's about Targets and Cycles or Chord Patterns approaching them. With Blues part of the fun is the changes within the Tonal Targets.

    I generally think of Blues, Jazz blues as just I IV relationships with a V chord sometimes just to start over or I V with again extended V to start over. The rest is filler, cycles, chord patterns etc... obviously, I'm over the top Blue... I make Giant Steps feel like a Blues tune...

  42. #41

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    Speaking of blues, I have a new one that is unusual for me. It's a 12-bar minor blues in G(m) but the last four bars are: Ab7 / G7 / Gb7 /F7. So in a sense it doesn't "turn around" at the end. You just go from F7 back to the i (Gm)

    The reason I did it is because I like the melody line there. I think it's killer, but of course, I just wrote it so of course I think it's great. (And six months from now I'll be embarrassed by it and then a year later I'll think, "That's not so bad.")

    I wrote those changes and then came up with a line over them. But it kinda stinks to blow over those changes. (They're all static---they don't resolve!) Think I'll use standard changes for the blowing section.

    I'll record this soon. (Still awaiting the digital audio interface I ordered back in May.)

    Anyway, it sounds good with the line I play over it for the head. But it still seems like an odd last-four bars for a minor blues. Maybe I just don't know enough minor blues....

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Speaking of blues, I have a new one that is unusual for me. It's a 12-bar minor blues in G(m) but the last four bars are: Ab7 / G7 / Gb7 /F7. So in a sense it doesn't "turn around" at the end. You just go from F7 back to the i (Gm)

    The reason I did it is because I like the melody line there. I think it's killer, but of course, I just wrote it so of course I think it's great. (And six months from now I'll be embarrassed by it and then a year later I'll think, "That's not so bad.")

    I wrote those changes and then came up with a line over them. But it kinda stinks to blow over those changes. (They're all static---they don't resolve!) Think I'll use standard changes for the blowing section.

    I'll record this soon. (Still awaiting the digital audio interface I ordered back in May.)

    Anyway, it sounds good with the line I play over it for the head. But it still seems like an odd last-four bars for a minor blues. Maybe I just don't know enough minor blues....
    Nice! A dominant cycle with flat five subs that resolves to the final chord's relative minor. Moving around the clock but in small increments, it will be known henceforth as "Second Hand" blues changes!

  44. #43

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    You can also think of F7 -> Gm as a back door or minor plagal cadence. You have two half step pulls: A -> Bb and Eb -> D.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Nice! A dominant cycle with flat five subs that resolves to the final chord's relative minor. Moving around the clock but in small increments, it will be known henceforth as "Second Hand" blues changes!
    Ha! Maybe I'll call it "The Second Hand Blues." (I'd been stuck for a title.)

    Thanks for the analysis. I can follow that but believe me, it's not how I was thinking when I came up with it. I had been looking at a sheet for "Mr. PC" and it goes to Ab in the 9th bar but of course, "Mr. PC" is in Cm. So I thought, "what if I go there in a blues in Gm? What's the worst that could happen?" (<<<<<This is exactly how my mind works.)

    I'll let you know when I post it so you can hear it.

  46. #45

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    But there's already a "Second Hand Blues." Dang.

    Maybe, "...and On the Second Hand." (A play on 'one the one hand...and on the other hand.')