Our next jam is only 1 week away. Sorry about being slow to name the 1st two tunes. For the December jams we’ll go back and play Blue Monk, a Bb blues we’ve played before, and we’ll add Perdido. The chord progression of Perdido is a variation of rhythm changes and we worked on that progression when we did Lester Leaps In.

The concept we’re focusing on, especially for Perdido, is using bebop scales. Here’s Jim Doherty with some thoughts on bebop scales and Perdido.


Be-bop scales. You probably already know about these. These are scales with an extra half note in them. This half note gives the player another target note choice of where to land depending on if he uses it or not. Putting that half note in also requires an extra bit of mental work, so the running of scales becomes both more interesting and more beneficial.

For starters, practice all dominant chord-scales (mixolydian), from the 1 up to the one and back, adding a chromatic passing tone between the 7 and the 1, in other words, play both 7’s. Play the exact same notes, but run up and down between the 3rds, the 5ths and the b7ths. Do this to dominant chords in all keys.

Any scale with a whole note between the 7 and the one gets the bebop tone there. So, minor 7 chords (dorian(ii7) and aeolian (i7)) could be practiced the same way. Since the ii7/dorian mode is so often paired with a following V7/mixolydian mode, ii7 in its dorian form (major 6th) a good one to start making bebop scales with, after having mastered V7’s.

A good place to apply bebop scales once they are learned in ii7 and V7 is, logically, ii7/V7/I progressions. These are everywhere, of course, and should eventually be recognized immediately, even when sight-reading changes.

Perdido is a great tune to learn and is built mainly on the ii/V/I. The A sections are comprised of 2 ii/V/I’s going to Bb, the bridge is a rhythm changes bridge (III7/VI7/II7/V7, 2 bars of each), and the A section repeats, typical 32-bar songform structure (AABA).


For more information on Perdido, see this article at JazzStandards.Com.  And here is Ben Webster, Oscar Peterson and the gang for you to listen to.