JUMP BLUES Learn this exciting style
This combination of blues, jazz and western swing is one of the most infectious styles of all. Learn six full solos in the style of half a dozen of its foremost exponents. Come on, be a hepcat!
An up-tempo cousin of the blues, jump blues directly preceded the rock and roll explosion of the 1950s. Rhythmically, the style is closer to rock and roll than jazz with a strong backbeat groove. So, in come Pentatonic licks and out go the bebop lines? Well, not exactly! There’s more to playing jump blues than Minor Pentatonic noodling, so if you’re looking to jazz up your blues playing then you’ve come to the right place. Above and beyond note choices, the key to sounding authentic lies in controlling swing and straight eighth-note phrasing at swift tempos. Here’s a summary of the players we’ll be checking out:
Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown was proficient in a wide range of styles including blues, country, jazz and Cajun music. He was a gifted multi-instrumentalist who played guitar, fiddle, drums, harmonica, and mandolin. His guitar style was rhythmic and fluid with controlled phrasing, and often featured straight eighths over a swing groove. He frequently interspersed his single-note lines with chord riffs using inversions on the lower strings.
Duke Robillard is a former member of The Fabulous Thunderabirds and co-founder of the swing revival big band Roomful Of Blues. His huge back catalogue of solo work includes tribute albums for T-Bone Walker and Les Paul. The T-Bone influence can be clearly heard in Robillard’s style, which features double-stop phrasing, minor 3rd and quarter-tone bends and impeccable timing.
Ronnie Earl was also a former member of the Roomful Of Blues, but is best known for his work with his own band The Broadcasters. Winner of Guitar Player Of The Year three times in the American Blues Music Awards and a respected educator with five years under his belt as Associate Professor of Guitar, at Berklee College of Music. Ronnie’s style features jazzy chord riffing, flawless phrasing and use of the Minor 6th Pentatonic scale over the IV chord.
Brian Setzer is famed for his work during the early 80s with The Stray Cats. This Grammy Award-winning guitarist has always been held in high esteem. During the early 90s swing revival he formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra, highlighting his skills as a swing and jump blues guitarist extraordinaire. Brians’ style is a tantalising mix of be-bop licks and rock and roll swagger, punctuated by chord dips and wobbles courtesy of his trademark Gretsch’s whammy bar.
Hollywood Fats’s career was cut tragically short by a heroin overdose at the age of 32. He worked as a sideman with blues legends such as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Jimmy Witherspoon, but released just one self-titled studio album with his group The Hollywood Fats Band. He made the old-school style sound new and exciting, and his timing was immaculate. Single-note lines would often be punctuated with jazzy chord stabs or interspersed with boogie-woogie style riffs.
Jeff Beck is the only non-American player in our lineup. Beck’s 1993 album Crazy Legs featured a collection of Gene Vincent songs as a tribute to Vincent’s own brilliant guitarist, Cliff Gallup of The Blue Caps, who is one of Beck’s biggest influences. Beck was a true innovator of electric guitar during the 60s and 70s; listening to his work from this period you could be forgiven for thinking that he ignored the players that came before him but, like all great pioneering musicians, he’s also steeped in the history of his instrument.
the key to sounding authentic lies in controlling Both swing and straight eighth-note phrasing at swift tempos