September 26, 2012

Signatur lick - Again!

A while back I wrote a post about Kurt's signatur lick. As I mentioned back then the word lick, which mostly is a no-go in jazz music, really isn't the right word to use. I'm calling this a lick because it's something that I can immediately recognize when I'm listening to Kurt soloing - just like a lick. To those who have no clue what I'm talking about, I've put together a short audio example.

- Download as .MP3

What I'm trying to demystify here is; what's the recipe for these lines? I don't have the golden recipe yet, but I will share with you what I've got so far. Below is a transcription of some of these lines from various from tunes. I should mention that the MP3 audio contains example 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 from the PDF below, but the order is a mess - sorry!

The lines transcribed above, isn't derived from a single pattern, but, rather a variety of patterns. The most basic pattern I've come across, and probably also the one Kurt most frequently uses, consists of mere triads. By looking at a few videos, I see that Kurt is almost always moving the pattern up the neck.

My homemade recipe
Below I've created an example in F melodic minor which will work over a E7 alt. chord. While E7 might seem like an odd choice, I think it works well because we have the opportunity to start our pattern at the root of F melodi minor scale while being at the lowest end possible of the fretboard. If you know your theory, you will know that this will also work on other chords like AbMaj7(#5) and Bb7(#11).

As you can see the recipe here is pretty simple:

  • Take a chord
  • Find out which scale it derives from
  • Play arpeggioed triads on each step of the scale

I'm still amazed by the speed of which Kurt can play these lines. With the line above, it's possible to obtain a decent tempo, but some of the lines I've transcribed leaves me thinking; How does he do it?

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