Here’s a great seven measure line from the pianist Wynton Kelly, transitioning from the end of the first eight measures into the second eight measures of “On Green Dolphin Street.” I have provided analysis to explain the use of devices, a la Jerry Coker’s Elements of the Jazz Language for the Developing Improvisor. Analysis aside, I believe that Kelly is hearing the line and these sounds on a very intuitive level. I do not believe Kelly is thinking any of these things while he is improvising. The most important thing the beginning improviser could do is get to a place where they can hear these types of ideas, leading to the natural occurrence of these ideas while soloing. Singing small melodic fragments from solos helped me internalize the sound.
Some interesting musical features are
- The smooth transition from Emaj7 to E♭maj7
- The E♭ blues lick turned ascending chromatic run into C7alt
- Consistent and natural use of enclosures
- The anticipation of B♭min7–E♭7 to connect to A♭min7 at the end of the line
- The overlap that occurs with multiple devices