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Discussion Starter #1
A few weeks ago bobsax asked about 12 bar blues tunes consisting of
riffs which don't change with the chords. I enjoyed the question and
responses, and it got me to thinking about blues heads a bit, and how
these nonmodulating riffs are often based off of the minor pentatonic.

How about tunes which consist of exactly the notes of the (minor) blues
scale? I can think of two, "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West" by John
Lewis, and "Sticky Wicket" by Dexter Gordon. Any other good ones?
 

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Theres a weird song we play in jazz band called Abracadabra :) Every note is exactly from F minor blues...it gets old pretty quick.
 

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sonny moon for 2
things aint what they used to be has a major third, major sixth and major second in the melody:argue3:

Blues scale
Since blues notes (or blue notes) are alternate inflections, strictly speaking there can be no one blues scale, but the scale most commonly called "the blues scale" comprises a flatted seventh blues note, a flatted third blues note, a flatted fifth blues note, and the flatted fifth's note of upward resolution along with other pitches derived from the minor pentatonic scale, C Eb F F# G Bb C.
 

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Blues Walk by Lou Donaldson is a nice tune that is entirely from the blues scale. Also, Dig Dis by Hank Mobley fits the bill, with the exception of the leading tone in bar 10.

These are good tunes for my students to transcribe, even if they only learn the melody, because I can just say "It's all from the blues scale, there are only six notes in that entire melody."
 

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kingperkoff said:
things aint what they used to be has a major third, major sixth and major second in the melody:argue3:
Yes, and it also follows the chord changes. At the end of the chorus it employs a chromatic movement through the major 7th to the tonic (wow, that sounds a lot fancier and more complicated than it is). Anyway, Things Ain't What They Used to Be is a good example of a blues tune that does NOT use the blues scale for the head.

Here's one, though: The "A" section (first 12 bars) of "Sack 'O Woe." In the "B" section it departs from the blues scale, using the major third, but going back to the blues scale every 2 bars. It's a great example of how to contrast the blues scale with the "major" dominant sound. I think the real value of those blue notes comes out when they are placed in contrast like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
kingperkoff said:
sonny moon for 2
That was mentioned in the thread on blues heads based on repeating
motives/riffs that don't modulate with the changes. I played that head on my horn and unless I screwed it up it has no b5, so it is a minor pentatonic
rather than being exactly (no more, no less than) the notes of the blues scale.

Great suggestions, I'll have to transcribe some of those heads with your hints.
 

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Blues Minor - John Coltrane

I believe Blue Train is also just minor pentatonic notes...
 

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Blues Walk Video

Matero said:
Blues Walk by Lou Donaldson is a nice tune that is entirely from the blues scale. Also, Dig Dis by Hank Mobley fits the bill, with the exception of the leading tone in bar 10.

These are good tunes for my students to transcribe, even if they only learn the melody, because I can just say "It's all from the blues scale, there are only six notes in that entire melody."
Check this out:

Blues Walk

Great video of Lou Donaldson playing the song.

C
 
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