August 31, 2012

Signatur lick

Do you know those lines every musician has, where it almost sounds like a lick? You've probably heard the Pat Metheny "lick" a thousand times. Kurt has a signatur lick too!

"Lick" is actually the wrong word to use here, because it's more of a concept or a pattern. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what's going on and how he can play this "lick" so freaking fast. Any help is much appreciated!!!

He often uses these patterns on dominant chords. It sounds to me like he's moving triads up the neck on a alt. dominate scale ( though that's no the case in the example above ).

You can hear Kurt's use of scale pattern on the following recordings:
  • Cake (Deep song) 3:27 and again 4:15
  • Enemies of energy (Enemies of energy) 3:44
  • Our secret world (Hardcore) 2.42
  • The cross (Deep song) 4:27
  • Alone and I (Mark Turner’s Ballads): 3:25
  • Segment (Intuit) 0:44
  • Perceptual (Brian Blade & Fellowship – Perceptual) 2:14
  • Green or blue (Jorg Kaaij Quintet): 5:17
  • Darn that dream (Intuit) 3:27
  • Ice Fall (Chris Cheeks Vine): 3:29
  • If I Should Lose You (Kurt Rosenwinkel & Seamus Blake live recording) – 6:49
  • All or nothing at all (East coast loveaffair): 4:35


  1. That lovely set of voicings are seventh chords (no third) moved diatonicaly through the Ab melodic minor scale.
    The cool thing about them is they could be used as Abmi, Db7(lydian dom), G7alt, and Fmi7(b5)

    1. Thank you Guitarmageddon :-D I'll be writing an updated "signatur lick" post soon, but if you've got anything else to contribute (fingering, whatever, ...) please get in touch!

    2. This can also be thought of/conceived in a different way. Much the way Mike MIller often discusses when he talks about voicings. In that if you grab a voicing, any voicing, in this instance we could see the first voicing as a set of three notes taken from the Ab melodic minor or even Cmelodic minor. Then you move the voicing up diatonically to that scale. Works for any cluster or voicing you grab. Of course each scale set you use will then imply a different harmony. Its also a way to expand your comping. So in the example you have outlined here, those voicings could be used (Creatively) when you are comping. If the chord was G7alt for eg..then those sounds would work well and a welcome change to the standard G7alt voicings often used.

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  4. I noticed that he sometimes slides the lowest of each 3-note grouping into the next. I wonder if the second note of each is hammered on ever. Hmmm...