Blues Thursday @ Whitehorse


D Jam Blues (known as C Jam Blues or Duke’s Place: 12 bar blues)

Check out these music videos for inspiration and ideas:

Duke Ellington jam- an original “music video”

Ellington Big Band

Ellington Band with Ella Fitzgerald


  1. Play melody    - AA rest rest rest AA AA A--- D rest, rest, rest, rest, rest - 3xs
  1. This is the 12 bar blues form:
I chord I chord I chord I chord
IV chord IV chord I chord I chord
V chord IV chord I chord I chord
  1. Harmonic/rhythmic accompaniment: with chops on the off beats 1 2 3 4 – chops: up and down, row bow hold
I –(open)A/F# (E1) I -A/F# I -A/F# I -A/F#
IV – (A1)B/G (E low 2) IV – B/G I -A/F# I -A/F#
V – A/E IV – B/G I -A/F# I -A/F#
  1. Bass Line type of accompaniment
I: D A D A I: D A D A I: D A D A I: D D E F# WALK UP
IV: G D G D IV: G D G D I: D A D A I: D A D A
  1. Arpeggios accompaniment:

D Jam Blues I : D IV : G   V: A

D F# A F# D F# A F# D F# A F# D F# A F#
G B D B G B D B D F# A F# D F# A F#
A C# E C# G B D B D F# A F# D F# A F#
  1. The Art of the Jazz Solo
    1. Messing with the melody – rhythm and notes
    2. Using notes from the scales/making up your own melody:
      1. Major scale – works everywhere too.

D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D

  1. Blues scale – magic—it works everywhere

D, F, G, G#, A, C, D


Next jam Nov 6

That was a fun jam today. Paul Dietrich is a great trumpeter, and Rand, Paul, and John have played together for years and you can hear it. We had a good batch of jammers, too, although it  was a bit of a trumpet fest. Where are the sax players?

One of them is Tony Barba and he will join us next time on Nov 6th. Tony Barba keeps busy with his solo project, small groups, and  "The Youngblood Brass Band" (they just completed another European tour) The rest of the our band will be UW Jazz Studies professor, Johannes Wallmann, on keys, John Christiansen on bass, and Michael Brenneis on drums. You don't want to miss this group!

The featured tune on Nov 6th is Horace Silver's, "Song For My Father." This is a common jam tune and it's not too hard.  Here's the post from the last time we did this tune.  It has helpful prep info for jammers .


October 20, Thursday at Whitehorse

Version 2

Hi Whitehorse String friends,

I get to meet you all this week on Thursday as i will be in your orchestra classes. I thought you might like this photo!? It's a gig i played on Labor Day with 2 of the musicians coming to your school with me in December, Jon Vriesacker (on violin) and John Becker (on keys).

I want to encourage you all to practice the things in the post from last week and to write me notes. Make comments or just say "hi, with your name and instrument" by clicking the "leave a comment" button.  below this post.

Looking forward to Thursday!

A Foggy Day

Gershwin's, "A Foggy Day" is the tune-of-the-week for our upcoming jam on Oct 16th. This is a nice one for beginning improvisors: the melody is memorable yet simple, and much of the chord changes are variations of 1-6-2-5 progressions, a common progression found in many other standards. One thing to watch out for are the 2 extra bars in the last section. These can easily trip you up if you're not paying attention.  You can find a play-along and sheet music at Learn Jazz Standards.

The rhythm section this week has played together for many years as the Rand Moore trio: Rand - drums, Paul Muench - keys, and John Schaffer - bass. They'll be joined by Paul Dietrich on trumpet. These guys really swing together!

Lately we've had drummers and bass player jammers but not so many horn players. If you play sax, trumpet, or trombone and want to jam there should be lots of opportunities to play. Come out and join us!

Getting Started- C Jam Blues


Learning scales and arpeggios is a good way to build your vocabulary as an improviser. For C Jam Blues (for the ease of string players we will learn this song in the key of D Major) practice these exercises:

D Major scale - D, E, F#, G, A, B, C# D (up and down)

D arpeggio  - D, F#, A, octave D, A, F# D (up and down)

G arpeggio - G, B, D, octave G, D, B, G (up and down)

A arpeggio - A, C#, E, octave A, E, C#, A (up and down)

D Blues Scale - D, F, G, G#, A, C, octave D (up and down)


Sister Sadie

I just noticed I forgot to write about our next jam (Oct 2nd). It's kind of late now so this will be brief.

If you are a jazz fan, all you need to know is you are welcome to join us! You may learn a bit about jazz and will enjoy our music. The band tomorrow is terrific: Darren Sterud - trombone, Mark Davis - keys, John Mesoloras - bass, and Rodrigo Villanueva on drums. These guys are all college and/or high school educators as well as busy performing musicians.

If you are a jamming musician the featured tune is "Sister Sadie." It's an AABA tune and the A section chord progression consists of just one chord: G7. Like "So What" and other tunes of this type it can be challenging to fill all that space while maintaining interest and keeping the form. Thinking in 4 and 8 bar phrases can help you keep track of where you are, and alternating between ideas using different pitch sets like mixolydian , dominant bebop, and blues scales helps with variety. Alternating ideas between eighth note lines and more rhythmically interesting lines adds variety, too.