The Blues is one of the most common forms in jazz music and is essential to know for a competent jazz musician. The tradition of jazz is steeped in the blues and certainly evolved from this language. The blues has been adopted by many different styles of music, such as rock, country and of course jazz. Jazzers have adapted the blues into their own unique style over the last century, adding more harmonic complexities, re-harmonization, and of course making the blues into a platform for virtuosic improvisation.
Practicing the Blues is a life-long venture, one that both beginners and professionals alike must focus their attention on. It is important to listen to early forms of the blues such as Robert Johnson and others to understand its origins. As a jazz musician it is also important to check out jazz greats who had a masterful grasp of blues such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, and a plethora of others. Transcribing solo’s and memorizing them on your instrument is a great way to start understanding the language of the blues.
Practicing the Blues in all 12 keys is important because it opens up your understanding of your instrument and navigating it. In addition it opens up your ears to hear this language, rather than rely on key centers to conjure up regurgitated licks.
Mastering the blues in any key sets you up for huge success with any of the jazz standard repertoire. Included in the posts below is information, play-alongs, and chord charts in concerts C, Bb, and Eb.