Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

Steep into the Blues and then Jazz is Easy – 2008 Bay Area Guitar Workshop

1 Comment

Hey y’all. This week has been really a blast. I have been doing a small guitar workshop with a few students on “blues and jazz”.

I was not quite sure what my students were requesting when they asked for a blues meets jazz type workshop,but we managed to strike gold about 2/3 of the way through the week.

Most guitar players can get a pretty good blues feel happening but experience a “disconnect” when they switch into what they “think” is playing on jazz chord changes.

Here’s what we re-discovered:

What’s getting lost is the basic notion of what a key is. A key is a “central tone around which the others revolve” , not a scale. So, “D Blues” has D as it’s central tone. “D Blues” can be a major or minor key blues.

Now, if you have a ii-v-i in D Major, D major or minor blues could work. In the minor key, D minor blues will work.

Here’s what is important though, and here is the essence of the experience rather than the book smarts – you can get the depth, the nuance and the magic in your blues going and then plop it onto jazz changes.

Doing this and only this is limited – but spiritually, it is more correct than running scales and licks.

Once I was able to get the students into this “place”, or “zone”, or get their playing into the behavior of grooving, soulful blues, I had them play over me playing chord changes to tunes like “Autumn leaves”.

With ear to ear smiles and in a state of utter disbelief, here’s what they said:

“This feels too easy.”
“This feels like cheating.”
“I’m not even thinking.”
“I feel so relaxed.”
“I am not even trying.”

And so while I strongly advocate music school and becoming literate with reading, scales and theory, there is a BIG difference between learning vocabulary and learning how to speak or write with a “flow”. Essentially it’s “book smarts” and “street smarts” on a musical level…

Unless a teacher can take you into that “flow” all the scales and licks (book smarts) don’t mean squat!!!

Until next time…. keep swingin’


Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

One thought on “Steep into the Blues and then Jazz is Easy – 2008 Bay Area Guitar Workshop

  1. When are you coming down to Australia?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s