In this mini-series about block chords, I have waited as long as possible to talk about resolution (or release). I feel that covering the tensions available is where the meat of a line comes from and decided to give it priority for a while. Well, the time has come the walrus said … to talk of many resolutions.
The Raw Material
Let’s first have a look at the inversions of a FMajor7 chord (ex.1). I often change the root inversion and the 2nd inversion to F69 chords(ex.2). I find them a little easier to grab and I think they sound more modern due to their stacked 4th structure.
Now, let’s add some tensions to the inversions. I often use these next voicings when I want a resolution with a 9, #11 or 13 in the melody of the chord. Note that the 11 or 4 has been replaced with a #11. The 4 is often called the avoid note. It sounds odd in a major 7 chord. There may be times when you would use it, but for landing a line on some type of resolution, we will just raise it a half step to the #11.
The last bit of raw material is what I like to call the Wes Montgomery thing. We have seen it in previous posts. This technique involves harmonizing chord tones with inversions of a FMajor7 or FMajor6, and harmonizing non chord-tones (tensions) with a diminished chord that implies a C7b9. This gives us a 5 to 1 resolution built into scale harmonization of a Major be-bop scale (1,2,3,4,5,#5,6,7). The major be-bop scale will land the 1,3,5 and 6 on strong beats (if we choose and if played correctly). Also note we are using the natural 11 in this example. The natural 11 sounds like the b7 of the C7b9 chord we are using to harmonize it with.
Some Musical Examples
Here are a couple of licks I threw together. I suggest you look over my previous posts about block chords and see the 2 5 1 resolutions I used.(I you want some more examples). Also do some listening to Wes Montgomery. Pick out lines,licks and chords you like and make them a part of your playing. Be sure to attach new information to material you already know how to play. This will help you remember and integrate it into your playing.
Essential Wes Montgomery Listening
- The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery
- Boss Guitar
- Smokin at the Half Note
- Full House
- So Much Guitar
- Dynamic New Sound
- Jimmy & Wes: Dynamic Duo
- Groove Brothers
Learn More about Wes Montgomery’s style
- Mel Bay Essential Jazz Lines: The Style of Wes Montgomery for Guitar Book/CD Set: by Corey Christiansen
- Wes Montgomery: by Adrian Ingram
- Best of Wes Montgomery: Guitar (Signature Licks): by Wolf Marshall
- Mel Bay Presents Wes Montgomery Jazz Guitar Artistry: by Zafar Saalik Saood
- Mel Bay Wes Montgomery The Early Years: by Dan Bowden
- The Wes Montgomery Guitar Folio – Fourth Edition: Steve Khan
- Vol. 62, Wes Montgomery For All Instruments (Book & CD Set): by Jamey Aebersold