Here is an original solo on the chord progression to “Take the A Train.” I introduce this chord progression early with students interested in learning to solo on jazz progressions because
- It is in the key of C major, so identifying chromatic tones is easy
- It is a thirty-two bar, AABA form, which is incredibly common
- It contains a long ii-V-I, which allows us the opportunity to develop vocabulary on this common harmonic device
- It contains a classic I-VI-ii-V turnaround at the end of the first and last A section
- It moves to the IV chord, a common arrival point
- It contains a II dominant 7 chord, which is very common and is a great place to start addressing the harmonic progression by playing a F#
This solo was composed entirely of arpeggios, passing tones and neighbor notes, demonstrating that a lot can be said by embellishing chord tones.