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So getting back into the jazz game again after a 20 year retirement. I signed up at the local community college jazz band class. I have 2 songs in which I have solos in. One is in Blues in Hoss Flat which is in Bb, the other is The Best of Earth, Wind and Fire. It's during the song September.

Now I got the chord changes above it so I know what chords to play along with. My question is, which scale to apply during the appropriate song? For instance, Blues in Hoss Flat. Do I play a C blues scale for the solo or a pentatonic scale? I know it's a one note difference, but when do you pick the right scale for the correct song?

Also September, it's got 2 flats for me. Again, would a pentatonic scale work there better than a different scale?

I appreciate any advice.
 

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This is a huge subject. But the answer is that the scale changes with each chord. There is not a single scale that works for an entire song (unless the whole song is one chord). But nobody just plays scales in a good solo. Scales are just a framework on which to build a solo. If good solos were just a bunch of scales, improvisation would be really easy, and all good classical players would also be good improvisers. But they are not.

Here's a list of what scales "fit" which chords. But a good solo will have approach notes, enclosures, etc. that aren't even in the chord or scale.
https://www.jazzbooks.com/mm5/download/FREE-scale-syllabus.pdf

The big band arrangement of Blues in Hoss Flat that I'm familiar with is not in Bb, but in concert Db. It's hard to tell from your avatar, but looks like you play tenor, in which case, that's the key of Eb. If it's a standard blues, the changes are Eb7 Ab7 Eb7 Eb7 Ab7 Ab7 Eb7 Eb7 Bb7 Ab7 Eb7 Bb7. Yes, you could get by with parts of the Eb blues or F pentatonic scale on much of it. But that would be a very boring solo with many nasty note clashes on certain chords. Say you play an Eb minor pentatonic on the first chord and land on Db. If you're still playing that Db when the chord changes to Ab7, you're on the 4th, which is going to sound terrible unless you resolve it to something in Ab.

On September, I assume the solo is on the chorus. In your key (Bb), the chords are probably G- C7 A- D- repeated a few times with an Ebmaj7/F on the last one. Similar story as the other song. You play your G minor pentatonic, land on F, then clash big time on the C7 (4th again).

I would take a voice leading approach, meaning smoothly transition from the guide tones (3rd and 7th) of on chord to the same guide tones on the next. For September, you could play a G minor line, emphasizing the Bb or F, then either remain on the Bb when you change to C7 or transition from F to E. Then continue on playing something in C mixolydian. It's these transitions to the guide tones that makes a solo sound melodic and outlines the chord changes. Somebody should be able to listen to your solo entirely unaccompanied and still "hear" the chord changes.

From your other posts, sounds like you play by ear mostly. You should stick with that until you learn some music theory. I imagine the whole purpose of this class is to teach you what I've outlined above.

EDIT: I found the original Blues in Hoss Flat which is actually in Db and revised my post to match. But your class could be playing an easier arrangement in a different key. So don't use the chords I posted ver batim unless you know they match your arrangement.
 

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mdavej hinted at what soloing should be. It's you using your instrument in the same way you'd sing. If you're just playing chord tones that's not much of a solo. Put the horn down and sing/hum or even internally HEAR a line. If you're playing a bunch of notes and don't even know what it will sound like then you've gone in a very bad direction. Practice ideas that come from you...as you would sing. If you can't hear a line to sing, then try doing simple variations on the melody. Start simple then move further away from the melody. Play what you sung on your horn and practice that. Teaching "theory" that simply encourages the player to cut and paste riffs and arpeggios using the changes, is the antithesis of creative improvisation. You can hear thousands of players doing this and watch billions of people who will run the other way. Having something to say is where it's at. The other road runs towards musical oblivion.
 

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I would never think of changing scale for each chord.

The trick is to find a set of chords that are diatonic to one key.

So as an example the chords of the Spetmeber chorus (ba de ya)

Gm7 C7 Am7 Dm7

The C7 gives us a big clue, as a dominat chord it is the V7 of F , so these four rpeated chords will be fine if you chjoose a scale of F major as the group of notes to form your solo with.

Of course for it to make most musical sense you do need to ideally know the notes of the bchords and their tendencies - there is no escaping taht, but initially you can get by with just the scale notes and your ears to tell you what works well (trial and eror!)

This applies on a basic level and asumes you want your solo notes to always be diatonic, for being more adbenturous then again, you'll need to learn a bit of theory or even more trial and error.

Regarding the blues, that is a different kettle of fish.

Ove a standrad (major) 12 bar blues the minor blues scale (or minor pentatonic) will fit over the whole sequence. It will get you through it, and it works because you can nearly always play a minor 3rd of a major chord - it's one of the main things about blues. but can become rather boring because one of the main aspects of bues is when you alternate between minor and major.

So if a blues is C C C C F7 F7 C C G7 F7 C C

Then the minor blues scale C can work over the whole lot (tiny bit of ear + trial and error can improve things)

But over the C bars, then you can use the C major blues scale.

Please note: when thinking about scales in impro, always try to not just run up and down scales but create melodies, phrases, riffs the are based off the notes in those scale.
 
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