CREATIVE JAZZ EXERCISES Volume 3 - 2nd Edition


Accompaniment Files in iReal Pro and MIDI formats for all three volumes can be found in my Public Dropbox Folder - Click on the folder icon to the right.

I recommend downloading the iReal HTML Playlist for all of the exercises in this Volume by key. When you open the iReal Playlist link you’ll be prompted to open it in the iReal Pro App; or if you prefer, download the iReal HTML or MIDI folders as a Zip File:

If you upload the MIDI file into digital audio software (DAW) you may need to raise the bass part one octave.

iReal Pro sometimes makes the keyboard/guitar part a little busy. you can lower the volume or mute that instrument in the iReal mixer or DAW.

Volume 3 presents “Approaches for Improvisation” such as those listed below, that can be used to initiate and develop an improvised solo.

They are described with text, charts and exercises in this book.

A solo Approach can be practiced as a technical exercise until it becomes a subconscious part of Improvisation. Space between phrases, varied articulations and dynamics should be applied to all improvisation Approaches.

Horizontal Playing – Simplifying chords and progressions to a general tonality and common tones; altering pitches in simple scales to fit changes; using rhythm, repetition, space, etc to make small amounts of material interesting.

Vertical Playing – Relating to the differences within chords in a progression; use tensions to let the listener know that you can navigate through the song progression. Resolve phrases into target notes such as the 3rd, 5th and resolve tensions.

Patterns – Creating motion using patterns; “draw the listener in” with a pattern sequence; imply tonality (such as II-V pattern), blues lick, etc), imply tonality or raw chromaticism as an effect (also known as intervallic improvisation) – usually end on a chord tone or tension to complete a phrase.

Melodic Development (Motives) – Using a motive or multiple motives (or intervals) to engage listener (material from the song is effective); embellish with approach notes; create melodic variation using contour, transposition, extension, fragmentation, etc.

Color (Tensions/Non-harmonic Notes) – Using tensions and non-harmonic notes to “brighten” or “darken” melodic lines (for example: Lydian brightens Major chord, Phrygian darkens minor chord); use super scales (different root from chord – for example B minor pentatonic on CMaj7).

Pedals (Pitch and Rhythm) – Emphasizing common tone or pivot note is very effective in rock, blues and modal music); repeated rhythmic figure (such as a hemiola) to interact with rhythm section – commonly done on modal songs

Harmonic Development –Implying more harmonic movement such as adding mini-progressions (passing and substitute chords), substitutions, super-chords; anticipation chords/progressions, secondary dominant chord cadences, etc.

Rhythm – Focusing on the center of the beat, laying back (tail end of beat), pushing the beat (forward motion) against the rhythm section; adding chromatic approach notes and tension/resolution to create a sense of moving forward

Vocal Phraseology – Using vocal effects; rhythm of lyrics or verbal phrase; emotion; “bluesiness”; space

Sound Painting – Treating the rhythm section sound as a palette; impressionism; atonality; shading and density – “sound as a color” rather than a harmonic unit; think of images, nature, emotion, etc

Styles and Effects – Using: stylistic interpretation based on the genre of music (rock, blues, modal jazz, avant garde jazz, etc; use range to create interest; effects unique to your instrument; use varied articulation, bends, vibrato, growls, etc. Creating “peaks”

and “valleys” in your solo.

This book can be purchased for $14.95 by contacting me at  You can use PayPal. Shipping is free in the US.

You can also purchase the book at You can also purchase the book from the Aebersold Company: please request the 2nd Edition version.

Select the book cover for some sample pages.

Vol. 1, 2, 3 Files
Vol. 3 Concert
Vol. 3 Bb
Vol. 3 Eb

Accompaniment for exercises has been created with the iReal Pro app in both HTML and MIDI formats. You can change the tempo, style, loop, etc in the iReal app or download the MIDI file into software and modify as you wish. Details for accessing the files are below. Contact me if you need help.

Improvisation is about communication with your fellow musicians and the audience. The goal of this book series is to give you the technical skill to be spontaneously creative.

The accompaniment files serve as a harmonic metronome and not intended to replace the opportunity to play exercises “live” as a starting point for improvisation.
NEW! Select to access AAC audio play-alongs in Concert for Vol. 3, other keys will be posted soonCreative_Jazz_Ex._Vol._3_files/