Sheryl Bailey


I would like to share a few concepts for creating modern jazz lines by combining the Dominant 7 “Bebop” scale with some common chord substitutions.

First let’s take a look at the the Bebop scale. Ex.1 The Bebop scale has a passing tone (natural 7th) between the Root and the b7, creating an eight note scale. The reason for adding the passing tone is to shift the chord tones 1, 3 5, b7 onto the downbeats. By playing chord tones on  downbeats you develop stronger harmonic clarity.

You can start the Bebop scale from the Root, 3rd, 5th or b7. Ex.2

Ex.3 shows a typical bebop line that can be used over the following chords:





C-7 F7 (II-7 V7)

The line demonstrates how to link arpeggios of those four chords together. In the beginning of the line, chord tones are sounded on the down beats but as the line progresses, the displacement of those tones is initiated (bar 4) and if you were to continue the line, the displacement would continue further.

Get this one under your fingers and into your ears. Within this line there are several secrets to chord substitutions, voice leading, and playing extended phrases. I consider this line a microcosm for a myriad of harmonic situations that I will bring to light in a future article.

Good luck and good music!

Sheryl Bailey

“Cedar’s Mood” from Sheryl’s new CD “Live at the Fat Cat”.

Jazz Line Dojo

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