Sean McGowan Views of the Blues — Truefire — Free download

Charlie Christian, Grant Green, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell Inspirations

Anyone interested in spicing up their blues playing would be well served by studying these four players and their vocabulary, and that’s precisely what you’ll do here in Sean McGowan’s Views of the Blues.

”You’ll play your way through Views of the Blues, first learning the innovative blues vocabulary of electric guitar pioneer Charlie Christian, and then three of his most soulful and influential torch-bearers: Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green. By learning and exploring each of these players’ approaches to the common ground of blues, you’ll gain new perspectives into harmonic thinking, rhythmic ideas, phrasing, and organizing improvisational ideas on the fretboard.”

Sean organized Views of the Blues into four sections. Each section will focus on the signature elements, licks, harmonic approaches, and individual styles of each of these legendary guitarists. To build your vocabulary, Sean shows you 5 licks for each artist that are signature to the artist’s style. You’ll then apply that vocabulary and stylistic approach over 2 soloing performance studies for each artist.

Charlie Christian: SECTION 1
”Section 1 explores the style of the first great electric guitarist in jazz, Charlie Christian. Hailing from Texas and Oklahoma, Christian was a contemporary of the great early blues guitarist Aaron “T-Bone” Walker, and the great Western swing guitarist Eldon Shamblin. Much of their collective guitar vocabularies would influence literally every electric guitarist who followed, ultimately laying the groundwork for blues and early rock guitar vocabulary. We’ll take a look at a couple of his signature approaches to blues, and then work through two etudes over 12-bar blues progressions in the keys of F and Bb.”

CC Early Swing: Lick 1
”This lick shows how Charlie Christian would kick off a solo with a strong opening line. Over a basic blues in Bb, this lick stays in a familiar “blues box” pattern on the fretboard, but also outlines the chord changes using chromaticism and choice guide tone notes.”

CC Swing Riff: Lick 2
”Charlie Christian had the innate ability to create long lead lines, that were beautifully crafted and always had a strong sense of direction. This lick in the key of F showcases how he would create opening lead lines using a chromatic riff that almost sounded like a horn section line in a big band.”

Benny’s Bugle: Stylistic Etude 1
”This etude features two choruses of lead lines over a 12-bar blues in Bb, expanding on the ideas in lick one. In addition to blues vocabulary and chromatic ideas, this solo features techniques such as sliding, double-stops, ii-V lines, and even long note bending in the style of a swing tenor saxophonist.”

Grand Slam: Stylistic Etude 2
”This etude is a medium uptempo blues in the key of F that showcases his rhythmic drive and use of repetition and syncopation, mixing major and minor pentatonic ideas, playing dominant ninth arpeggios over chords, and utilizing the sixth of the key (the note D in the key of F) to great effect.”

Kenny Burrell: SECTION 2
”Influenced by Charlie Christian and the great Texas guitarist Oscar Moore, Kenny Burrell is known for his lush and full tone, fluid bebop lines, and deep blues sensibilities. In this section, we’ll look at some of the ways he would approach blues turnarounds by incorporating modern harmonic ideas, repetition, and call and response between lead lines and comping.”

KB A-Train Chords: Lick 1
”Kenny Burrell is known for his lush, orchestral-like chord playing – particularly in a trio setting. This first lick shows how he would use fresh, innovative, and large chord voicings to complement a “stock” swing progression.”

KB Repetition: Lick 2
”Influenced by Charlie Christian’s use of repetition and rhythmic syncopation, Burrell would often take a simple blues lick and repeat it, moving it around the measure to appear on different beats. This idea creates an interesting polyrhythmic effect against the basic center of rhythm.”

KB Turnaround: Lick 3
”This lick showcases Burrell’s modern harmonic sensibilities by utilizing a horn-like approach to the turnaround of a blues. In the last two bars of the blues progression, he might play a common 1-2-3-5 melodic pattern, but in different cycles. This line starts on the tonic of F major, but then moves through a cycle four starting on Ab to Db, and finishing on Gb – the tritone substitution for the V chord, C7.”

KB Q & A: Lick 4
”This lick illustrates Burrell’s way of creating a call and response, or question and answer approach to the blues, which can be an extremely powerful soloing device. In this case, he “dialogues” between a lead line and rhythmic comping over a three-chord blues in C.”

KB Cascading Blues: Lick 5
”This signature Burrell lick uses a quick picking pattern he would use to great effect, as well as an additional example of creating a question and answer approach simply through the lead line by repeating ideas through the I and IV chords in the way a blues singer might approach it.”

Freight Trane: Stylistic Etude 1
”This chord progression is known as a “Bird Blues” (named after the great bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker) and is usually played in the key of F. Here, it’s featured in Ab as in the song “Freight Trane” by Tommy Flanagan on the Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane recording. This original etude features ideas that Burrell might play over this chord progression that features several chromatic ii-V moves.”

Chitlins: Stylistic Etude 2
”This chord progression and solo is from Burrell’s jazz/blues standard, “Chitlins con Carne”, from his landmark Midnight Blue recording featuring Stanley Turrentine. This stylistic etude features several choruses of blues soloing and illustrates the Q&A strategies from lick four, as well as developing ideas and building momentum, much in the same manner as Charlie Christian.”

Wes Montgomery: SECTION 3
”Section 3 explores the inimitable style of Wes Montgomery. We’ll look at how he used phrasing, chromatic ii-V and sub ii-V lines over blues, plus his signature approaches to soloing with octaves and block chords using the thumb. Originally from Indianapolis, Wes Montgomery is typically cited among most jazz guitarists as their all-time favorite and is reputed to have learned by ear and memorized every Charlie Christian solo to play on the bandstand of early jam sessions and gigs in Indianapolis.. His incredibly relaxed yet fluid rhythmic flow, inventive harmonic lines and substitutions, and of course his signature use of ‘impossible’ octaves and block chords in a solo context solidified him as a jazz guitar legend and even commercial music star within his lifetime. Montgomery’s inherent genius and remarkable musical abilities quickly garnered acclaim regionally, and internationally.”

WM ii V I: Lick 1
”Montgomery had an uncanny ability to mix standard blues language with exciting bebop lines full of chromaticism and substitution devices. This lick in the key of D shows how he approaches the IV chord (G7) in the 5th measure of a blues progression using a ii-V line and altered extensions.”

WM Diminished Neighbor: Lick 2
”This lick showcases Montgomery’s use of the diminished scale in a blues context, neighbor tones to outline chords, as well as minor 9 and 11 arpeggios moving down chromatically in a turnaround.”

WM on the Five: Lick 3
”Montgomery would often play minor ideas based on the 5th of the dominant-seventh chord. For example, this lick starts with an Am11 idea on top of a D7 chord. He also loved using chromatic ii-V lines to approach tonal centers, as illustrated in this lick.”

WM Octaves: Lick 4
”This next lick showcases two Montgomery signature traits. First, his technique of playing lines in octaves, brushing against the strings with his thumb. And second – in the same manner as Charlie Christian – creating the sound of hard-swinging big band riffs, strengthening them by playing in octaves as a horn section would.”

WM Block Chords: Lick 5
”Another signature aspect of Montgomery’s style was his use of block chords in soloing. This lick shows a few of his most common voicings and harmonic strategies with a sub ii-V approach to a Bb7 chord.”

Gulf Coast Blues: Stylistic Etude 1
”Based on the chord changes to Montgomery’s standard, “West Coast Blues”, this original etude features elements of tritone substitution, repetition of ideas, characteristic phrasing, and lead lines in octaves.”

D Blues: Stylistic Etude 2
”This stylistic etude is a tour de force of blues ideas and vocabulary. Featuring several of the concepts explored in the previous licks, this etude will offer an abundance of ideas to use in any jazz blues setting.”

Grant Green: SECTION 4
”The final section will offer some insight into the style of jazz and soul guitar giant Grant Green. We’ll look at how he would always start a solo with a great opening line, and how he utilized ii-V lines and patterns in a blues setting. Grant Green was equally at home in blues and bebop settings, evidenced by his prolific recording career. His distinctive and deeply soulful work as a leader and side musician covered hard bop, organ trio, gospel, Latin, and helped lay the foundation for acid funk throughout the 1970s (to this day, Green is one of the most sampled artists by modern DJs). Like Burrell and Montgomery, Green was heavily influenced by Charlie Christian, yet created and developed his own immediately recognizable style and approach to the guitar.”

GG Opening Line: Lick 1
”Like his chief influence on the guitar Charlie Christian, Grant Green had a unique ability to kick off every solo with a great line that captured the ears of listeners and told an interesting story with a rich, lyrical quality.”

GG ii V Turnaround I: Lick 2
”This lick illustrates he Green works through an expansive ii-V bebop line to set up the IV chord in a blues progression.”

GG ii V Turnaround II: Lick 3
”Here’s another example of a ii-V line on a turnaround, this time at the end of the blues progression leading back to the top of the form.”

GG Repetition: Lick 4
”Like Christian, Burrell, and Montgomery, Grant Green also developed signature lines by repeating a lick and moving it through multiple octaves and using blues chord tones in a rhythmic fashion.”

GG Guide Tone Comp: Lick 5
”Green would often comp using simple two-note guide tone voicings. These types of voicings are sparse, super clean, and particularly effective in organ trio settings.”

Green Blues: Stylistic Etude 1
”This stylistic etude showcases Green’s lines on a medium uptempo blues in the key of Bb. It features many of the aforementioned concepts covered in each of the five licks and offers plenty of ideas that mix blues and bebop vocabulary that you can use in your own soloing.”

GG Minor Blues: Stylistic Etude 2
”Green’s forte was playing medium tempo blues – especially minor blues in an organ trio setting. This stylistic etude features several of his signature ideas and licks in a 12-bar Cm blues progression, common in jazz. Throughout the two choruses presented here, you’ll explore using the sixth on minor chords, motivic development, ii-V turnarounds, and chromatic approach – all in a blues context. These approaches also illustrate why Green was a favorite among blues guitarists such as B.B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

Sean will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way.  You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the licks and soloing performance studies. Plus, Sean includes all of the backing tracks for you to work with on your own. In addition, you’ll be able to loop or slow down any of the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace.

Grab your guitar and let’s expand our view of the blues with Sean McGowan!


Truefire Sean McGowan Views of the Blues   (download)
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