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  1. #1

    chord solo over Freddie Freeloader

    Freddie Freeloader is a simple 12 bar blues in Bb. I was thinking that I could possibly use a chord solo over my solo when playing with an ensemble. The chord solo that I am thinking about is actually from a Frank Vignola DVD. In it he uses much more complex chords than are actually in the Fake Book, including tri tone subs. questions a) if the keyboard and the bass are playing the regular background am I making a mistake and will it cause a clash? b) how does a chord solo sound over an ensemble? Should these just be used in smaller settings? c) perhaps I should be thinking octaves instead?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Northern NJ
    Normally when I solo with chords any other chording instrument should lay out or only play 3-7 stuff. I haven't seen the Frank Vignola DVD but I would look at Joe Pass blues stuff to give you some ideas. Joe was a master of this technique.

    A little help for you is that you can get a lot of milage out of simple minor triads against a dominant 7th.

    Ex: you can use Fmi, Gmi and even Abmi against the Bb7.

  3. #3
    First off: true, "Freddie" is a fairly simple blues, but also keep in mind that it has non-standard changes. Very often it keeps the "F7-Eb7-Ab7" (mm. 9-12) changes for the solos, contrast to standard blues which usually goes "Cm7-F7-Bb7 (turnaround)" at that point. You need to figure out how you guys are going to do the solo and how FV does his. If they match, fine. If not, it's going to take some adjustment.

    But to answer your questions in a general sense:

    A) There are different degrees of substitution. For me, there are substitutions (where the harmonic function stays the same) and rehamonizations (where the function changes.) By these definitions, if they are just substitutions (tritone, reduce to minor, diatonic thirds, etc.), then there is no problem. As you get into the reharm territory, you need to be more careful, depending on how hip your rhythm section is. I'm not sure what you mean by "ensemble," but if there are horns playing written background figures, then you have to be even more careful. Don't worry about the piano - it's his job to stay our of your way when it's your solo. But in general, beginners worry too much about "What if the piano and I aren't playing the same chord?"

    B) Chord solos sound great over the ensemble. But it depends on the chord solo. I don't know the specific chord solo, so I can only generalize, but chord solos that involve low notes (the low E-string especially) are probably meant to be played solo. If I'm playing with a bass, I tend to stay away from the low E-string and to some extend the low-A string so I stay out of the bass' way. I tend to stay on the top 4 strings or on the middle 4 (but I may leave off the low A-string - some may disagree.) Doing that, assuming I'm not contradicting any horn lines, I feel pretty free doing chord solos - I let the bass and piano worry about matching me.

    C) Octaves work nicely, but they are a different texture. I always like the Wes approach of going from single notes to octaves to chords. It's a great way to build intensity.


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