Kreisberg Inspired C7 Line Analysis In this lesson, I will be breaking down a Jonathan Kreisberg inspired line over a C7, C9 or C13 type chord measure by measure. There is quite a bit going on in this line, as there are many elements of the jazz language present. And there are a number of harmonic devices that the jazz masters use to create tension and/or get outside the changes. In this case our changes would be a C7, C9 or C13 type vamp.
In bar 1, the line starts out on E the 3rd of C7, and descends chromatically to D the 9th the Eb is just a “Passing Tone” and is a very common part of the jazz language. The rest of bar 1 and the first half of bar 2 use parts of C Lydian Dominant - the 4th mode of G Melodic Minor and parts of C Mixolydian - the 5th mode of F Major, to finish off a really nice melodic phrase. I think the important thing to take away from the first part of this line is when the masters improvise they don’t necessarily get hung up on any specific scale, but rather mix and match related scales to create the melodies they hear in their head.
In bar 2 beat 2, the Eb approaches E the 3rd of our C7 chord, from a half step below. This is called an “Approach Note” and again is a very common part of the jazz language. Once we arrive at our E on beat 3, the line uses a technique called “Side-Slipping”. It slips out of our original key, which is F Major. Remember C7 is the V chord in the key of F. We are now in the key of E Major, but we are thinking half step below C7 so B7 is now being sounded/played over C7. The line pairs two major triads, A Major and B Major. This is called “Triad Pairs” and ascends through two inversions of each until coming back to our home key in the second half of bar 4.
The second half of bar 4 on through most of bar 6 of our line goes back to our original C7 chord and again uses “Triad Pairs”. This time pairing a C Major triad with a Bb Major triad and descends through two inversions of each. Why would you pair two triads together? I’m glad you asked. If we look at the notes in a C Major Triad we have C, E & G. If we look at a Bb Major triad we have Bb, D & F. If we relate these notes to our C7 chord we get C the root, E the 3rd, G the 5th, Bb the 7th, D the 9th, and F the 11th. Pairing these triads gives us a C9sus4 or C11 sound. Pretty cool!
In bar 6 beat 3 the notes Db and B are approaching our root C from a half step above and below this is called “Enclosure” again an element of the jazz language. Beat 4 of bar 6 through beat 2 of bar 8, we have a very cool pattern of ascending 4ths that ascend through a cycle of minor 6ths seamed together with some chromatic passing tones. This creates a very modern, angular outside sound. I took this part of the line right out of one of Jonathan Kreisberg’s solos from his album, “New For Now”. He plays this line on the tune, “Five Bucks A Bungalow”. I highly recommend you check it out!
Bar 8 beat 2 superimposes a series of triads descending in whole steps, again seamed together with chromatic passing tones. “Superimposition” simply means laying one thing on top of another. In our case we are laying 3 triads, Ab Major, Gb Major and E Major on top of our C7 chord. If we relate these triads to our C7 chord it gives us Ab the b13, C the root, Eb the b3 or #9, Gb the b5, Bb the 7th, Db the b9, E the 3rd, Ab the b13, and B the M7th. Playing a Major 7th interval against a Dominant chord can create a lot of dissonance and tension. If that is your intention and it is done tastefully this can be totally fine. But if you’re not careful it can sound like a “wrong” note. In this case it is just a "Passing Tone” so we are good!
In beat 4 of bar 9, the line wraps up with what I will just call a chromatic pattern or sequence since I wasn’t thinking of any specific scale or tonality. This continues until beat 4 of bar 11. Here, I land on an A, which is the 6th or 13th of our C7, and let it ring out while I grab Bb the 7th of the chord. If our bass player were playing the root C these two notes and the C from the bass would create a C13 no 3rd type voicing. I like this sound a lot. When you remove the 3rd from a typical Drop 3 C13 voicing it creates a much more dissonant sound due to the M7th interval the Bb and A create.
Well that wraps up this lesson guys. Hope you get something out of it. Peace, until next time.