Here is a draft version of my first guitar backing track on YouTube, the first of many more to come. This version will be replaced very shortly, because JC has agreed to write drums for it.
Guitar backing tracks have become very popular in the past few years. I’m getting in the game because I enjoy improvising over backing tracks, and I see a lot of the same type of stuff over and over. I see many possibilities for taking jammers in new and interesting directions, from the usual offerings on YouTube.
I’ve started with a track based on Brian Auger’s Straight On, an early jazz fusion hit. It’s based on a modal progression that is challenging for many improvisers. I think this is a great track for learning to think in terms of modal progressions. It has the same chords as a 12 bar minor blues, with a V7#9 turnaround, except for this one chord that isn’t normally in the key. The ‘off’ chord moves up in parallel by a half-step. This is an opportunity for some interesting melodic possibilities when you play complex lines across the half-step change.
This track is in A minor, a favorite key with guitarists for practicing improvised lines. It’s also got Dm7, and the E7#9 lets you follow-up the abstraction of the half-step chord change with any of your favorite swampy open E7 blues riffs.
Once you’ve tried out this unique progression, you should listen to what Brian Auger played over it. Brian Auger, master of the Hammond and scholar of the Rhodes, is an improviser’s improviser, a jammer’s jammer. Anyone who plays improvised lead solos should study this guy’s lines.
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