Jazz School: “Chameleon”

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This two-chord funky jazz rock fusion classic by Herbie Hancock is all about the groove…

This extended form is really just a bunch of 8-bar sections stitched together. The really trickly part is being able to play the bass line!

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Listen to Original Recording


Improvisation Lessons

Lesson 1: The Form…

Form = 8 bars, which can be played as two 4-bar phrases, which can be further broken into two 2-bar phrases…

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Lesson 2: Meter & Feel…

4/4 Time, count out loud “1 2 3 4” or “1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &”, feel the funk in the 1/16th notes!


Lesson 3: Tonality & Useful Scales…

Tonality = Bb Dorian

Useful Scales = Bb Dorian, Bb Minor Pentatonic, Bb Minor Blues


Lesson 4: The Harmony…

Bbm7 = i7 (home base), Eb7=IV7 (away from home)


Lesson 5: Comping Ideas…


Lesson 6: Riffing…


Lesson 7: Mindset…


Lesson 8: Play the Idea…


Lesson X: Please let Frank know if there is something else you would like to understand!


Listen to Frank’s synth solo recorded live with band Chameleon…


Your Turn to Improvise…

Download the following bass and drum practice track recorded by Frank…

Yes, Frank is neither a bass player nor a drummer!

Improvisation Tips

  1. Think, hear, feel, and play in 8-bar choruses and 4-bar phrases.
  2. The “feel” is a funky Rock Beat 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
  3. Tonality: Bb Dorian
  4. Useful Scales: Dorian, Minor Blues, Minor Pentatonic
  5. Don’t get scale happy.
  6. Commit to playing coherent IDEAS.
  7. Vocabulary Sources: Rock, Jazz, Blues
  8. Borrow ideas from the head (the original melody).
  9. Cop ideas from other players.
  10. It’s not all about playing leads. It’s often about creative and tasteful comping, too!
  11. Don’t just think… FEEL & LISTEN!
  12. Experiment like a child playing with building blocks.
  13. Take your shoes off!

learn more… Jazz School