Chord-on-chord, part deux
In our last installment, we took a quick look at the idea of "chord-on-chord" thinking, whereby we play over harmony by using chords other than the actual written changes. This can be a good way to introduce wider interval motion into an improvised line without succumbing to the "hip patterns in 4ths" syndrome. It also can spice up a line that's being played over more or less static harmony (in other words, chords that don't change much).
To further illustrate this method, I've played a sample chorus on the changes from a minor blues such as "Mr. P.C." In the first four bars, I'm playing a minor scale sequence much like the ones Trane actually played on his tune. Starting in the last half of bar 4, I begin using the chord-on-chord principle, implying a C7b9, which of course would be the dominant of F minor; that's where the tune's going next. This is a pretty common move; there's a slight 'rub' between the implied chord and the written chord, but that's OK: the effect is to intensify the harmonic pull to F minor.

In bars 5 and 6, a sort of "turnaround" is implied, first using Ab7 as a tritone sub for D7, then outlining G7b9. The harmonic pull back to C minor is heightened in this way.

Bars 8 - 12 use tritone subs for D7 and G7. Since the harmony of the tune moves more quickly here, I only played one change per bar.

For another look at this approach, check out my lesson Playing Over Static Harmony.
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