Chromatic Improvisation

A word of warning: This article will require some minimal knowledge of music theory.

Here’s Jacam Manricks with Chromatic Improvisation at its best!!!

Today, we are going to be talking about the concept of Chromatic Improvisation. We’re going to be using this ‘ii – V7 – I’ as an example.

Typically, when improvising over a set of changes, the first way that most jazz students are taught to improvise over this particular progression would be to play the ‘changes’. That is, to play the notes that are dictated in those particular changes, sticking to mostly chord tones (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 & 13 if we want to make things interesting).  Included below are the chord tones for each chord up to the 9th:

Another way that an improviser can formulate a solo over this particular set of changes is by using the chromatic scale either in passing of as the basis of his/her solo. By highlighting chord tones along with the use of the chromatic scale the improviser can get an extremely hip sound. The chromatic scale beginning on a Concert C is depicted below. I’ll post a pattern that can be in your solos in a day or too.

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