Group Transcription - Pound Cake Phrase 3

There is a lot of focus among improvisers on the third phrase of the blues, and rightly so. This is the phrase that pulls the first two together- its the phrase that creates the energy to either transition into the next chorus or wrap up the solo. Its the phrase whose content is easily transferable to ii-V's in other tunes. In short this is where the magic happens!


As we continue to learn the first chorus of Lester Young's solo, we continue to be fed material that is a model of what coherent soloing should be. Each phrase is a masterpiece in its own right and can be used as material to build your own solos and phrases on. Here, the turnaround lick can keyed in different centers and used as 'core language.' As you do so, keep in mind that this is a Blues in Concert G. So the ii-7 V7 I in that last four bars is (concert) A-7 D7 G.


Click Here to listen to phrase 3


As we look at this phrase we can see Young outlining chords before finally resolving to the 5th of the key. The first measure starts on the 7th of chord (or root in our blues key) and progress through the 9th to the 5th of that chord. The second measure of this phrases is where the fun begins. I am looking at this measure and thinking its role is largely to crease some dissonance. Young is playing outline a concert Eb chord. There are a few ways to analyze that movement (tritone of the ii chord, or 1/2 step above V) The salient feature here is how Young starts this phrase firmly in the key, moves outside of the key, and them comes right back into G.


Over the last month, I have made a conscious effort to breakdown the transcription process and demonstrate how we can learn to become better improvisers through this process. I have also showed that you do not have to be transcribing full solos to gain some benefits from this process. For members, if you are looking for a place to get started, check out the common language licks in the members only section. Begin to transcribe those ideas and work them into your solos!

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