Improv Tip Week #29- More on Your Minor

Welcome to week #29, which is the last tip before Christmas! If you’re still looking for ideas for a musician’s Christmas (or other holiday) gift, then Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose would be an affordable and practical gift! The E-book version works great on mobile devices and the printed version is sturdy and sits nicely on a music stand. For more information, you can click on the link to the right or you can go to Jason Klobnak Music. If this is your first time here…welcome! If you’re a returning visitor, welcome back!

Last week we looked at how we can use major lines over minor harmony. This week, we’re going to continue with our similar theme of how we can use our current licks over other harmonies. We’re going to look at how we can use minor lines over minor 7 (b5) chords, or as some known them- half-diminished. To some, this may seem like a no-brainer, but I hope this opens up some new possibilities for some of you.

We’ve all seen this chord in a progression before (many times in a minor ii-V-i): Xmin7(b5). Some of you may wonder, “what can I do with that?” I want to share a quick, but effective tip that should help give you more melodic ideas over that chord (or progression). If you base your ideas off of the melodic minor starting on the flat 3rd of the Xmin7(b5)…you can now use your “minor” lines over the Xmin7(b5). For instance, if you have an Amin7(b5)…your ideas in C minor (more specifically, C-melodic minor) will work over the Amin7(b5).

Let’s take a look at this idea in three brief examples below over the minor ii-V-i progression. Over each of the Amin7(b5) examples below, you’ll see lines that I might construct in C-minor in place of the Amin7(b5).


I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip and hope that many of you find it beneficial for you or your students! Please feel free to share this tip (or blog) with your friends, colleagues and students. For easy access, you can use the Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+ links below. Also, please feel free to share this on any site or blog that you’re a contributor for as I’d love to continue to see people benefiting from this. Merry Christmas!

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About the Author jasonklobnak

Jason Klobnak is a versatile trumpet player that has been performing as an active musician, author, clinician, composer and educator. His band, J's Ruckus, is Denver's blend of Post-Bop, Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop. They perform infectious and up-lifting originals for audiences hungry for a memorable live experience. J's Ruckus released their latest album, Suck Less, in March of 2020 and their first EP, Sermons, in July of 2019. Both were recorded live in front of an audience. Suck Less was recorded to a packed auditorium at Arapahoe Community College's Waring Theater in Littleton, CO. Sermons was recorded in front of a sold out crowd at the Soiled Dove Underground.  The JKQ (the Jason Klobnak Quintet/Quartet) is Mr. Klobnak's Hammond B-3 centered groups. The JKQ released their third full-length album in March of 2018 called Friends & Family. It has been very well reviewed, on numerous Top 10 lists for Jazz radio stations across the country (including Denver's KUVO 89.3FM which named it May 2018's CD of the month), and in Jazzweek's Top 100. Each composition was written for specific family and close friends (that might as well be family). Their second album, New Chapter, was recorded in part thanks to the Pathways to Jazz Grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance. In 2015 and 2016, New Chapter was in the Top 75 on the Jazzweek charts and on the Top 10 playlists for over a dozen radio stations worldwide. Their first album, Mountain, Move made the Best Recordings of 2013 list from AllAboutJazz.com by C. Michael Bailey. His very well reviewed Christmas single, Hark the Herald, in 2016 as part of a creative project with musicians James Roberson and Nathaniel Kearney Jr. Besides the JKQ, Mr. Klobnak is a B.A.C. (Best American Craftsman-custom trumpet), Denis Wick (mouthpiece and mutes) and Westone Audio endorsed artist (ES20 and Tru Customs). Mr. Klobnak has played and recorded for numerous groups ranging from jazz, soul/R&B, indie-rock/pop and gospel. In addition to performing, he has also written two improvisation-based books called Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose and Breaking the Monotony and is currently an adjunct professor and brass instructor at Arapahoe Community College. Mr. Klobnak holds a bachelor degree from Drake University (Des Moines, IA) and a Master’s degree from the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music (Denver, CO).

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