8 Bar Jazz Improvisation Based On A Groove

A discussion on how to work with slightly longer improvisation patterns, includes a Free MP3 Backing Track.

This lesson should be a approached as a continuation or extension of our Groove Based Jazz Improvisation Lesson. Through this lesson I will be briefly discussing how to approach a similar exercise to that linked but spread over eight bars rather than four. You will need a copy of This Free MP3 that is used as a backing track for the exercise (this MP3 was updated 05/03/2017). The content on this page will also be very similar to our Groove Based 8 Bar Rock and Groove Based 8 Bar Funk improvisation lessons.

Note: The backing track starts with an eight beat count in.


This lesson will be very straight forward if you have covered the exercise linked at the top of the page as all you are doing is taking the same structural ideas and extending them. The groove given in this example is a simple two bar Basic Jazz Groove with very minimal kick and snare use. The basic exercise is given below, note that it uses Swing Time Notation:

The sheet music for the exercise

In previous improvisation lessons the first thing we discussed was structure and part placement. Obviously for this longer pattern you could just play the same thing twice, but that won't earn you as many marks as creating a full self contained eight bar phrase. What I would recomend doing is placing the 'B' and 'C' sections at the end of each line in the example shown above. That would give you an 'A A A B A A A C' type structure. If you haven't come across this pattern it would be well worth looking through the linked lesson.

As you can see you will be using the same part construction ideas, 'A' being the groove given to you at the start of the exercise, 'B' being a variation on that and 'C' being a fill. There is just more groove this time between each change in the part. In the lesson linked at the top of the page I discuss ideas for varying grooves, varying fills and making them both appropriate to the jazz genre so have a go now at working out a part that would fit with this exercise. Remember, in an exam situation you will have 90 seconds to two minutes to do this.

Below I have included two examples of parts that would be appropriate to play in this exercise. Try constructing your own part before looking at my ideas as this will be far more beneficial in the long run. When you have done that compare them to my examples.


Full Phrase 1

A full four bar phrase for this improvisation

Full Phrase 2

A full four bar phrase for this improvisation
TASK:
  1. Create your own part for the improvisation exercise presented at the start of this lesson.
  2. Play your part to the backing track and see if you think it fits well.
  3. Think about different ways you could approach this exercise.