I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’re already at week #51! Next week will be our 1 year anniversary of weekly improv tips. I haven’t fully decided what topics we’ll be covering after the 1 year mark, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this past year. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the past tips, you can go to the archives (listed by month/year) at the bottom of the homepage. This week I wanted to expand on the chromatic targets that I mentioned in my book, Targeting: Improvisation With Purpose.
The chromatic targets (or enclosures, upper/lower neighbor, etc) mentioned in my book were simply expanding out from our targeted note by as little as a half step or as much as a minor third. The chromatic targets themselves aren’t the focus, but they’re one of the tools mentioned to get to the note that we’re intending to land on (or as it’s mentioned in the book-aiming at a goal note with purpose). For this week’s tip, I wanted to give you an additional chromatic targeting tool that I like to use that’s not mentioned in my book.
You’ll notice with this chromatic target that the pattern starts a half step above your intended target, moves up a minor third, back to the half-step above and up a whole-step before resolving back to the targeted note. This tool has an exotic sound to it that doesn’t conform to the standard chromatic targeting principles (approaching chromatically from above/below, etc). You will want to use your ear to decide which target applications work best for you. For example, I like using this tool when my targets are landing on the 5th of the chord. Let’s take a look at what this would look like in an application on a ii-V-I in C-major:
To get this sound under your fingers and in your ears, practice the targeting tool on all 12 notes. This way you can apply it at any point in different harmonic situations on the fly. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tip! Please feel free to share it with your friends, colleagues, students or any other sites you’re a contributor. For more information on how you can creatively target notes (chromatic as well as others), check out my book at my Digital Store.
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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