Creating filtered version of banner image.


Lesson: Bebop Jazz Patterns Pt. 1

Bebop-Jazz-SolosI’ve always loved music books. At the age of 13, a family friend gave me a Mel Bay bass method book that kick-started my bass playing career and love of printed music.

One book in my library is Bebop Jazz Solos by David Baker. (You can purchase your copy for only $5.95 at but I’m not finding it in bass clef anymore.) I had the good fortune of being in one of Mr. Baker’s jazz improv classes at a Jamey Aebersold camp about 30 years ago – an experience I am still grateful for.

Bebop Jazz Solos is chock full of excellent patterns and motifs that will greatly expand your jazz improv vocabulary. I lifted a few from the first etude to share with you.

Jazz is full of altered chords – chords which contain raised or lowered 9ths and, sometimes 5ths. Example 1 is a lick over a C7(#9) chord and spells out both the sharp and flat nines. It’s similar to the opening phrase in the tune Invitation and contains a cool 7th interval between the third and the sharp nine. Note that the lick resolves on an F minor chord which is typical of altered chords.

Example 1


One thing that David Baker teaches in his other books is the use of bebop scales, which contain an extra passing tone. The bebop scale for dominant seven chords is the Mixolydian mode with an extra note between the flat seven and the root. This Mixolydian Bebop scale can also be used with minor scales but it starts a forth up from the root of the chord. For example, if you have an E minor chord, you can use the A Bebop scale as we do in in Example 2. The passing tone which makes this a bebop scale is the G# on the “and of” four in the first bar.

Example 2


Arpeggios are a great way to practice our scales and they can also be strung together to produce some righteous long phrases like Exercise 3. Check out what happens in the third bar: an ascending fourths lick. For more on this, check out the June lesson, “The Magic of Fourths”. This lick resolves on a 9th – the first extension of the chord. This is not what you might expect but, the ninth is a beautiful tone.

Example 3


Playing a motif and then repeating it is a common device used in improv. If the chord changes, all the better. Just move the lick in whichever direction necessary to transpose and make it work as in Example 4. By the way, this lick would also work over Db7 and C7 respectively.

Example 4


I compiled all of these patterns into one video so you can see and hear them played.

My advice is to practice these patterns in all keys and then, spend $6 and buy Bebop Jazz Solos. It’s a lot of musical bang for your buck.

I wrote out a few more of these licks which we’ll look at next month.

Thanks for reading!


Download my latest single Summer Song! Available now at CD Baby and wherever digital music is sold.

Comments Section

gostei muito. obrigado por compartilhar.

Post a comment