When Looking for jazz improvisation literature people will walk into a sheet music department and sometimes be astounded at the prices of the theory and practice books. A concise quality book that contains all of the essential information and is well written and easy to follow can start anywhere from $30 to $150 plus for the Lydian Chromatic Concept!
So I have whittled it down to 3 books. [I am sure there are some other very well written books out there that is not on my list] but any of these three books will hold you in good stead when you are starting out.
The first 2 books are “Inexpensive” and contain a mountain of material.
BOOK 1: JAZZ SOLOS BY LES WISE. THIS BOOK IS IDEAL FOR GUITARISTS BECAUSE IT HAS TABLATURE
BOOK 2: JAZZOLOGY BY ROBERT RAWLINGS AND NOR EDDINE BAHHA
BOOK3: A BIT MORE EXPENSIVE BUT IT IS A COMPLETE ENCYCLOPEDIA BY MARK LEVINE CALLED “THE JAZZ THEORY BOOK”
As I state in the video you can get these books secondhand on Amazon [CLICK LOGO/LINK BELOW] even cheaper or you can try your local library. But, I would suggest owning a copy of one of them in order to pencil in your own thoughts, directions and favourite exercises etc.
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Outside playing using approach notes/target tones.
Below is a Jazzy Bebop sounding line from Don Mock. It also has that Brecker chromatic feel to it where it can easily be pushed in to a more fusion-esque line. Here we are targeting arpeggio and scale tones
If we look a little closer we can see all of the Target tones/Approach notes setting the line up
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When looking at musical notation it can seem like random notes. But if we break down each group into 4 note groupings called “Tetrachords” we can break down the music theory and play each group on our instrument.
We can then remember the “Sound and Shape” of each cell and then join them together. In turn we can then apply these cells to our own instrumental playing/improvisations.
FULL SOLO LINE/PHRASE
1st Grouping of 4 notes [Tetrachord]=E flat Pentatonic shape/sound [Mixolydian]
2nd Tetrachord=A flat Minor triad and 4th interval [or #11 #9 and #5]
3rd Tetrachord=Minor scale fragment [#11 Lydian]
4th Tetrachord=Changing cell. [From flat 9 to C Jazz melodic minor]
5th Tetrachord=Very “Outside” D major pentatonic/4ths
6th Tetrachord =D major Pentatonic sound/shape [very “Out”]
7th Tetrachord=C minor arpeggio and 4th
8th Tetrachord=B flat major Pentatonic sound/shape
9th Tetrachord=C Melodic “Jazz” minor [Augmented] sound/shape [same as 4th Tetrachord]
10th Tetrachord = Perfect 4th and major 3rd creating triad pairs sound/shape [or E flat minor 11 implication or G FLAT/a flat]
Lastly= Flat 6 for C minor
In terms of fingering and musical application on our instruments learning shapes and “Connections” and breaking phrases down into 4 note cells [Tetrachords] is really useful because complex lines can be understood and learnt quickly.
In turn this gives us lots of patterns for improvisation and theoretical knowledge to improvise with as opposed to just playing scales and arpeggios.
If you found this easy then try and break this little solo down into” Hexatonic” scale application. You might find it really interesting!
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THE LCC BY GEORGE RUSSEL: “Lydian chromatic concept of tonal gravity”.
If we look at the diagram below we see the “Overtone Series” The perfect octave and the perfect 5th. If you can think in terms of perfect 5ths then the LCC will be much easier to understand.
First we start with C Ionian [C Major in Classical western tradition].
Next George raises the 4th forming C Lydian [Raised 4th or#11]
Below we see Stacked 3rds in C major [Ionian] and then in C LYDIAN [Hence the f sharp at the top below the a note]
C ionian C Lydian [13TH]
Below we see George Russel’s TONAL GRAVITY of Stacked 5ths. Notice the flattened 5th in the first bar but the “Perfect 5th” in the second bar. [The second bar creating C Lydian].
Below is the piano layout which one can easily hear tonal gravity across the long span of the piano keyboard. We have the #11 [F#] to create stacked “PERFECT” 5THS” [which again results in C Lydian]
Below is a layout starting on the lowest F note in order to hear it all in full along the guitar fingerboard. There is also a version in the second bar that moves around with C as the tonic due to lack of span on the guitar fingerboard.
If we take the C major 7th chord and look at the C major scale we can see the “Avoid” note. The E note clashes with the F note and the B natural and the F natural produce a Dominant sound. By adding the Perfect fifth F# there isn’t any “Avoid” notes as displayed in the second bar below.
"The interval of a fifth is the building block of tonal gravity, a seven-tone scale created by successive fifths
establishes the most vertically unified harmonic order whereby the gravity falls down each fifth back to the singular
Lydian tonic". "Andy Wasserman"
F C G D A E B = ALL PERFECT 5THS = F LYDIAN
“The Lydian Chromatic Scale” The ANSWER TO ANYONE CONFUSED!
By stacking PERFECT 5ths George Russel creates a chromatic scale
[F] C, G, D, A, E, B, F♯,C♯, G♯, D♯(E♭), A♯(B♭), E♯(F), [B♯(C) = a 12 tone scale.
But “why” does he skip the interval between the Seventh and Eighth notes in the diagram in his book with the outgoing tonal gravity?
2] The answer is because the outgoing tonal gravity level goes to C# next [not F# for perfect 5ths]. Hence the 1st “Lydian scale” then goes to the 2nd scale “Lydian Augmented” with the raised 5th.
ANSWER BELOW IN DIAGRAM FORM
BELOW: AS SHOWN IN GEROGE RUSSELLS LCC BOOK
In the example diagram above we see George Russels “Tonal order” going from numbers 1 to 12. Numbers 1 to 7 being the Lydian mode.
When we go beyond the 7 notes of the lydian scale and further up the cycle of 5ths things increase in terms of dissonance.
George Russell terms the scales as”Ingoing” “Semi ingoing” “Semi outgoing” and “Outgoing” . The more we move to the right of the diagram the more “Outgoing/Dissonant” the scale will sound.
In terms of scale substitution we see a C# and not a D flat as this would be a raised 5th [Augmented 5th] and it would make no sense reading it enharmonically as a D flat as we see in the diagram above and in Georges scales.
GEORGE RUSSEL “VERTICAL” SCALES:
Basic Lydian [#11]
This could also be seen as 3rd mode of Melodic Minor
This could also be seen as 4th mode of the Harmonic Major
This could also be seen as the 4th mode of the Melodic Minor
This could also be seen as the Whole Tone Scale
This could also be seen as Octatonic Whole Half Diminished
This could also be seen as Octatonic Half Whole Diminished
Finally, Horizontal Scales. Notice the B FLAT hence the Major.
Finding a parent scale,
From E Flat 7 going to A Flat major 7th we would employ the D Flat Lydian mode due to the G natural or #11 of the D FLAT LYDIAN to modulate to A flat major 7th.
PART 2 Final Analysis
The Lydian Chromatic Scale and best explanation from “Wikipedia”
Russell builds a prototype chromatic scale starting on the Lydian Tonic by stacking fifths, skipping the interval between the seventh and eighth tones. Using C as the Lydian Tonic yields the following 12-note scale with enharmonic respellings:
C, G, D, A, E, B, F♯,C♯, G♯, D♯(E♭), A♯(B♭), E♯(F), B♯(C). Thus the Lydian Chromatic Scale and all its derivatives contain only Pythagorean intervals.
LYDIAN PENTATONIC ASCENDING SCALE THROUGH THE CYCLE OF 5THS.
As an “Afterthought” for any guitarists here is my fingering always leading with the 1st finger on George Russell “Vertical” scales.