JAZZ

If you’re look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion but can’t de­cide be­tween blues, rock or jazz, John Wheatcroft has the very player to an­swer your ev­ery need.

Guitar Techniques - - CONTENTS -

John Wheatcroft ex­am­ines the play­ing of a jazzblues guitar ti­tan, the great Scott Hen­der­son.

I con­sider my­self more of a blues-rock player, but I bor­row from jazz and I like the colour It brings to mu­sic Scott Hen­der­son

Scott Hen­der­son com­bines the dy­namic ex­pres­sion of Hen­drix and SRV with the har­monic po­ten­tial of Coltrane and Miles Davis. A typ­i­cal per­for­mance could con­tain Jimi-like Pen­ta­tonic blaz­ing, huge Al­bert King style bends and Beck-style whammy bar an­tics. We might also hear chro­mat­i­cally-em­bel­lished chord tone ac­tion that wouldn’t sound out of place from the sax of Michael Brecker. Not sur­pris­ing re­ally when you con­sider the time he spent with Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul, two of the most har­mon­i­cally-ad­vanced mu­si­cians of all time.

He first found fame in Corea’s 80s fu­sion pro­ject, The Elek­tric Band. Af­ter a stint with Ma­hav­isnu vi­o­lin­ist Jean-Luc Ponty, he con­tin­ued to stake his claim as one of the most sig­nif­i­cant gui­tarists in fu­sion with his stel­lar con­tri­bu­tion to Zawinul’s post Weather Re­port pro­ject, The Zawinul Syn­di­cate. At the same time he achieved ac­claim with his own pro­gres­sive pro­ject, Tribal Tech, with vir­tu­oso bas­sist Gary Wil­lis. Since 1994 Scott has re­leased a steady stream of solo al­bums, dis­play­ing his unique and un­com­pro­mis­ing take on the blues. Hen­der­son takes his mu­si­cal de­vel­op­ment very se­ri­ously and has been a mem­ber of the teach­ing fac­ulty at The Mu­si­cian’s In­sti­tute in Hol­ly­wood for well over 20 years. He has also re­leased in­struc­tion books, videos and on­line lessons, all of which are well wor­thy of your at­ten­tion.

We’ve taken a slightly dif­fer­ent route this month, so rather than the usual col­lec­tion of short lines and phrases we find two full so­los. The first is based on a swing­ing 6/8 feel, while the sec­ond is a funky 4/4. Both are two cho­ruses long and ori­en­tated around a 12-bar blues se­quence, with some slight de­vi­a­tions from the norm; so 24 bars each in to­tal, chock full of Hen­der­son-ism. There’s a huge amount to be gained from learn­ing these so­los in their en­tirety but you can al­ways di­vide them up into bite-sized licks should you pre­fer – it’s good prac­tice to iden­tify the phrase struc­ture of a solo. Are they four bars long? Just two? One? Do they move across the bar line? Imag­ine at­tempt­ing to read this text with no punc­tu­a­tion and you’ll get some in­di­ca­tion of just how sig­nif­i­cant these mark­ers and mu­si­cal di­vi­sions can be.

Scott is a master at cre­at­ing an al­most in­fi­nite amount of vari­a­tion by toy­ing with rhythm, note se­lec­tion, dy­nam­ics and ev­ery other mu­si­cal de­vice in his im­pro­vi­sa­tional tool­box. These so­los could be viewed as just the be­gin­ning, so go on, jump in and en­joy.

NEXT MONTH John delves deeply into the play­ing of Amer­i­can jazz guitar leg­end Steve Khan

Scott Hen­der­son play­ing one of his John Suhr gui­tars

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