nigel starts his solo in the way most of us would: using a minor Pentatonic (Bar 2 is particularly interesting because although he’s playing over a ii-v, he’s still using the same scale). What’s important to note is that he happens to choose notes that belong to the chords in that bar – Bm7b5 and e7. The main note is that d note that is, in fact, the b3rd of Bm7b5 and the b7th of e7. Coincidence?
in bars 5 and 6 nigel uses d Harmonic minor scale to highlight the v-i chord change – a7-dm. This is a very be-bop approach, especially the b9 (Bb) over the a7. also it’s interesting to note the ‘delayed‘ resolution of bar 6, which happens on beat 3 and lends a lovely languid feel.
in this section nigel goes a bit more into the details of the chord changes over which he’s improvising and highlights some oNftIhGeEkLey When this is done well we can potentially remove the rhythm guitar and still hear the changes. in order to achieve this, nigel is relying heavily on arpeggios as in bars 7 and 10.
This is the first turnaround and it’s very interesting to see how nigel approaches it. in this instance he decides not to go into the harmony and keep things easy and melodic. so his approach to the first turnaround is simply playing off the key centre (am). in this case he’s playing a blues scale ‘ignoring’ the individual chords of the turnaround.
The beginning of the second chorus already shows a slight change in direction. nigel is highlighting all the chord changes and bringing out more colourful notes in his phrasing. You can tell that he’s totally in control of the
bPyanrotti4cin-g- hiDspalraicoemCeonrt tehe chord tones.