What is a combo?
A jazz combo is a small group,
usually between 3 and 7 people. It can be any combination of
musicians, but always has a drummer ans usually a bass player. It is a group that plays a head, and
then each person can take a solo. The head is the melody that everyone knows. For example, Dave
Farrell and I have written a simple blues called Hot Potato. Below, you will see the head.
This is the melody. The form is what we call standard blues. After you play the head, you would
play an improvised solo.
Improvisation is part of the true jazz experience. When you improv,
you spontaneously put forth
the creative ideas in your head into music. It involves lots of practice and you have to know what
chords to solo over. Below is a standard blues. To start with improvisation, you can use the blues
scales to solo.
Bb Instruments use this blues scale: C, Eb, F, F#, G, Bb, C
C Instruments use this blues scale: Bb, Db, Eb, E, F, Ab, Bb
The blues scale only works over songs that are in the standard blues
form. Most combo tunes aren't
however. To learn about soloing over chords, talk to a jazz instructor. The best way to learn about
jazz and develop ideas for soloing is through listening. Therefore, I highly suggest you visit our sound
You can use any of these notes to play solos over a standard blues form.
To listen to a digital midi file of Hot Potato, click here.