Learning Charlie Parker

Exercise - "Yardbird Suite ii-V-I"

The Notes

This exercise is based on the Yardbird Suite ii-V-I lick found in Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite solo.
A jazz improvisation exercise based on an excerpt from Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite

Notes about the Notes

This exercise is designed to help demonstrate the larger-scale chromatic lines that permeate elements of bebop melody and harmony. On the surface it is a one-measure ii-V turnaround pattern that cycles through itself and then repeats up a half-step. The exercise is based on a Charlie Parker's Yardbird Suite ii-V-I and, thus, has a lot of interesting chromatic and neighbor motion. A deeper analysis, however, yields some interesting patterns about chromaticism and jazz harmony. The highest note in each two-beat block, each chord change, is one half-step below its previous counterpart. This quite prominently demonstrates a larger-scale chromatic line that often takes place in bebop turnaround progressions. It is this chromaticism that leads to such chord alterations as the tritone substitution and allow the soloists to utilize a more interesting variety on note choices in their solos.

Patterns for Jazz

This exercise uses a common practice pattern of ii-V's that move down the whole tone scale as they resolve. For more patterns like this and more parctice exercises based on the ii-V progression check out Patterns for Jazz on amazon.com. It has helped thousands of jazz players expand both their technical ability and their understanding of the music.