The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Hi, I am working on the tune Windows by Chick Corea.
    I would like to ask a question regarding the scale choice.
    In particular, how would you improvise over that middle section where Ab7 and A7 alternate, one for each measure, except for the last measure of that section where Ab7 and A7 both appear in the same measure?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Sorry, cannot help, I am only improvising over Linux.

  4. #3

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    Heavy tune.

    That's prime time to go after those Phrygian Dominant "Spanish" sounds.

  5. #4

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    I wonder if a possible choice could be Db harmonic minor over Ab7 and E Melodic minor over A7

  6. #5

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    I'm lazy, and those chords are moving fast...I'd find one set of notes that works over both.

  7. #6

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    Dunno, I’d probably start by asking, what does chick do?

  8. #7

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    Here it is. As far as I can see he's not playing anything clever, just treating them as straight dom7's with chord tones and using short phrases at that. Wise man :-)


  9. #8

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    Here's one by a guitarist (pretty good). Again, just short rhythmic phrases and simple stuff.

    Actually, I think that section is the least of your worries. It'll be more fun trying to get the right floaty feel and interesting lines over the rest of it. Personally speaking, that is.


  10. #9

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    Thanks, the Internet is such a useful resource. I also found a transcription of Pat Metheny solo from the album with Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Roy Haynes and Dave Holland.

  11. #10

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    In general what I've noticed with players, if a chord sits around, explore it. If chords move quickly and unexpectedly, outline them.

  12. #11

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    Theoreticaly, I notice this thing that Chick liked to do where he set up a V7 Im and subs in relative major. So Spain for instance we go from B7 to Gmaj7#11 rather than the expected Em. Here its G#7 going not to C#m but Emaj7

    Because of this I see the A7 as a predominant chord, sub for a II. In classical theory this would be an augmented sixth/phrygian cadence chord. In jazz lets call it bVI7.

    OK, so who cares?

    Well this chord takes a #11, so we can use A7#11. The default modality of the the G#7 chord is more minor/altered. Say G#7b9b13. G# Phrygian Dom in this case (Spanish vibes, Chick loved that scale)

    C# blues also sounds great on A7#11. Lean into the b5.

    This bVI7#11 chord comes up A LOT. look at tunes like Bernies tune, for instance. Or another Chick number, Armando's Rhumba.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    In general what I've noticed with players, if a chord sits around, explore it. If chords move quickly and unexpectedly, outline them.
    I think this is a good piece of advice and is what I will try to follow in my improvisation, however your subsequent analysis is also worth commenting.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Theoreticaly, I notice this thing that Chick liked to do where he set up a V7 Im and subs in relative major. So Spain for instance we go from B7 to Gmaj7#11 rather than the expected Em. Here its G#7 going not to C#m but Emaj7

    Because of this I see the A7 as a predominant chord, sub for a II. In classical theory this would be an augmented sixth/phrygian cadence chord. In jazz lets call it bVI7.

    OK, so who cares?

    Well this chord takes a #11, so we can use A7#11. The default modality of the the G#7 chord is more minor/altered. Say G#7b9b13. G# Phrygian Dom in this case (Spanish vibes, Chick loved that scale)

    C# blues also sounds great on A7#11. Lean into the b5.

    This bVI7#11 chord comes up A LOT. look at tunes like Bernies tune, for instance. Or another Chick number, Armando's Rhumba.
    I had noticed in Spain that resolution of B7 going to G major#11 instead of E minor, but failed to recognized that the same thing happens here.

    Eventually your analysis leads to the same thing that I wrote in one of my previous posts where I asked if Db harmonic minor and E melodic minor would be a right choice for Ab7 and A7 chords. But my reasoning was different. From the way the two chords alternate, I thought that we are sort of a Db minor key, also because the A triad is in the Db harmonic minor. So Db harmonic minor for Ab7 is the same as the Phrygian dominant, as I understand. For the A7 chord I modified the scale to accomodate the b7 of the chord and another note (B instead of C) and I ended up in the E melodic minor scale, which is the scale generally used on A7#11 dominant chord.
    I hope this makes sense.

    As for the C# blues scale, if you remove G#, you are left with the TRUE E minor pentatonic scale, which comes immediately from the E melodic minor scale.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    In general what I've noticed with players, if a chord sits around, explore it. If chords move quickly and unexpectedly, outline them.
    Agreed. I hear this section not as two unrelated or unexpectedly moving chords, even though they move quickly...the two dominants a half step apart in this context very much creates a "harmonic environment" to my ears. Listening to Chick, I think he hears it similarly. It's basically a "modal" section.

  16. #15

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    The score is broken up into 8-bar sections by double bar lines. The Ab7-A7 bit is a separate section between the first bit and the Dbm bit.

    The strong chord isn't the A7, it's the Ab7. The shift into A7 only creates an interesting harmonic movement, as Jeff suggests.

    The melody over the Ab7 outlines an Ebm chord and lands each time on the 13th of the A7.

    That's all, it's not Phrygian/Spanish-y, it's just a movement.

    Here's a midi of the tune (lousy quality) up till that section (before it goes into the more complex Dbm bit).


  17. #16

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    Listening to the original recording, it looks like Chick is mostly sticking to major pentatonics for each chord (Amaj pentatonic for A7, Abmaj pentatonic for Ab7), except for a furious flurry of chromaticism in the first chorus -- you'll know what I'm talking about if you listen. But even that is set up by a pentatonic line.

    That makes a lot of sense, because each of those scales have distinct notes:

    A B C# E F#

    Ab Bb C Eb F

    So it's very easy to hear when he's changing. Smart guy, that Chick!

  18. #17

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    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the more obvious way to see and hear that section. It's a "I | V | I | V " for 8 bars. We are basically sitting modally on Ab7 for 8 bars but emphasizing it by going to its V on the weak beats. Here of course the "V" chord (Eb7) is substituted with its tritone (A7).

    This is also the reason that the last two bars of the section remains Ab7 (instead of going to A7 on the last bar) since it doesn't "turnaround".
    Last edited by Tal_175; 09-29-2022 at 10:01 AM.

  19. #18

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    man just think of the A7 as the sub V.... (E7alt)....It's just Ab7 to Eb7alt... that's about as blusey as Chick gets .... at least recently.

    Obviously you go through the standard development process to get there. You don't start with Blues and then get modal. LOL

  20. #19

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    Can't go wrong with a pentatonic tbh

    Barry Harris used to teach permutations of 1-2-3-5 over fast changes. This is a common technique that you might be aware of this technique form Giant Steps... Trane did go to a Barry class once in Detroit, so who knows..

  21. #20

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    Can't go wrong with a pentatonic tbh

    Barry Harris used to teach permutations of 1-2-3-5 over fast changes. This is a common technique that you might be aware of this technique from Giant Steps...