Django’s solo on the original 1937 recording of “Minor Swing” is spectacular. You’ll learn the first 32 bars of the solo (two choruses). Joe walks you through the first chorus in this video.
Check out these songs featured in the Swing and Jazz Mandolin course.
Learn to play swing and jazz melodies and classic solos from jazz legends like Lester Young, Miles Davis, and Django Reinhardt, as well as swing mandolinists like Tiny Moore and Jethro Burns. For each song, you’ll learn the melody and a solo, along with tips on technique, phrasing, and improvisation.
Joe shows you essential arpeggios and closed scales you’ll need to know to play swing and jazz mandolin. He starts by showing you two fundamental major arpeggio shapes, and then shows you how to modify them to play minor and dominant seventh arpeggios and variations of those like minor seventh, major seventh, minor sixth, major sixth, and minor seven flat five. He also shows you two closed-position major scales and how to modify them to create Dominant, Dorian, and natural minor scales.
“Minor Swing” is one of the most popular tunes recorded by Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and Django’s spectacular solo on the original 1937 recording of “Minor Swing” is a classic.
“Lady Be Good” (also known as “Oh, Lady Be Good”) is one of the most popular swing and jazz tunes, and one of the first tunes that bluegrass-oriented mandolinists learn when they’re first exploring swing and jazz. You’ll learn the basic melody and chords to “Lady Be Good” as well as Lester Young’s famous 1936 solo, which has influenced generations of jazz and swing musicians.
“All Blues” is one of the most popular tunes from Miles Davis’s classic album Kind of Blue, which features a raft of jazz legends: John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb. “All Blues” is a 24-bar blues in 3/4 in the key of G with a D7♯9 and an Eb7♯9 where you would usually find a V7 chord. In addition to learning the form, you’ll learn the melody as played by Miles, part of Cannonball Adderley’s solo, and how they approached playing over ♯9 chords.
Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” is a swing and jazz classic and seemingly everyone has recorded it. You’ll learn the melody and the basic form, of course, but you’ll also learn a solo by tenor sax great Lester Young from Benny Goodman’s 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, as well as an excerpt from a 1946 Benny Goodman recording
“Spiritual” comes from the legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, who is known for his playing with Ornette Coleman, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, and countless others. He recorded “Spiritual” on an album with pianist Hank Jones called Steal Away. It’s a waltz in Bb and you’ll learn the melody as well as Haden’s bass solo in this lesson.
Miles Davis’s “So What” comes from one of the most popular jazz albums in history, Kind of Blue, which started the modal jazz movement in 1959. “So What” is based on the Dorian mode, in the keys of D and Eb Dorian. You’ll learn the melody to “So What” as well as Miles’s solo, which is a beautiful example of developing a melody in an improvisation.
George and Ira Gershwin’s song “But Not for Me” is a beautiful ballad that has been recorded by many great musicians. In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody and chords, as well as Chet Baker’s trumpet solo from his recording of “But Not for Me” on the classic album Chet Baker Sings.
“On the Sunny Side of the Street” is a jazz and swing standard that was written in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields, It has been recorded by numerous great musicians. In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody and chords in the key of C as well as the first chorus of alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges’s solo from Duke Ellington’s The Great Paris Concert.
“Sweet Georgia Brown” is one of the most ubiquitous tunes in the swing repertoire and everyone plays it. In this lesson, you’ll learn an improvised solo by mandolinist Tiny Moore from the recording Tiny Moore Live! that includes a chorus based on the melody and a chorus based primarily on the chord progression.
The jazz standard “Indiana” (also known as “Back Home Again in Indiana”) was composed in 1917 and was recorded that same year by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, making it one of the earliest jazz songs to be recorded. It’s often associated with Louis Armstrong, but there have been innumerable versions, and Miles Davis used the chord progression of “Indiana” for his classic bebop contrafact “Donna Lee.” In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody and chords as well as a solo by jazz mandolin great Don Stiernberg and some different ways to think about soloing on the chord changes.
The Cole Porter standard “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” is one of Joe’s favorites, and he often plays it in his duo with guitarist Grant Gordy. In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody and chords, as well as a Chet Baker solo that comes from the Jim Hall record Concierto.
In the next two lessons, you’ll explore some blues vocabulary in Bb, using the Miles Davis tune “Freddie Freeloader” from Kind of Blue. In this lesson, you’ll learn three choruses of Miles’s solo and in next month’s lesson, you’ll learn part of pianist Wynton Kelly’s solo.
In the second part of the lesson on blues vocabulary in Bb, you’ll learn pianist Wynton Kelly’s solo on “Freddie Freeloader” from Kind of Blue. The solo has an array of interesting phrases rhythmically and harmonically that can be difficult to pull off on the mandolin, but Joe shows you the way he has figured out how to phrase them.
The jazz standard “Diane”—also known as “Diane (I’m in Heaven When I See You Smile”)—was written in 1927 for the silent movie Seventh Heaven, and later became a favorite of jazz musicians in the 1950s, with great versions by Miles Davis, Chet Baker, and Sonny Stitt, among others. There’s also a great version by jazz mandolinists Jethro Burns and Tiny Moore on their duet album Back to Back. In this lesson, you’ll learn the melody as well as Tiny Moore’s solo from the Back to Back recording.