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Dominant scale ii V7 I Jazz lick

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Sweets

Here is a pretty easy dominant scale ii V7 I Jazz lick I got from a friend of mine some time ago. It simply starts on the tonic of the ii chord and goes up the dominant scale until hitting the 3rd of the I chord and then ending on the cry me a river Jazz riff. You can play the lick faster depending upon the tempo of the tune you use it over and hit the 3rd on the V7 chord like I do in the below video clip.

Dominant ii V7 I Jazz-lickHere is a sound sample over the Bb Blues on trumpet:

How to memorize this lick in 12 keys:

The reason I call this a dominant scale ii V7 I Jazz lick is because it is simply a dominant scale pattern in whatever whatever key you’re currently in going up the scale. In the above example were are in C Major. What’s the 5th of C? It’s G7, so we play the G7 scale starting on the 5th. You repeat the pattern until you hit the 3rd of the I chord. In the above example that would be E. So if you know your dominant scales really well, you’ll have this lick in 12 keys really fast.

It ends with the cry me a river Jazz lick, which is something you can work on separately. For me, that lick is best learned in 12 keys simply by feel.

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  1. Ann Saitta says:

    cheers very much, I am obliged to say your blog is fantastic!

  2. Otto says:

    actually it’s the 13 you hit on the V7

  3. Frenchie says:

    Hello !
    This morning i was searching for some licks to practice in
    my home studio , and after have seen some of your video ,
    i feel happy inside , so … I’ve enjoyed !!
    You sound great !!
    Very very cool blog !

  4. James says:

    WOW I am glad I have found your site! Ill be blunt (or ill try) While I have been playing for over 30 years and frankly improving for 18, I have truly been “self taught” kind of “sink or swim” with the ad lib soloing. Sometimes I sound great, other times its stepping on my %^&* w/golf shoes. I use my ear, my basic knowledge of major/minor scales, blues scales and tricks to jam. My point is this…. While I have some extremely solid musical knowledge, Im a little lost at the theory and all behind the true Jazz improv. Where is the easiest and best place to begin? My playing does sound much better than you would think from my statements as I am quite skilled at rock/funk/ blues etc… But MAN do I need help to grasp and actually play and comprehend the true Jazz playing. HELP!! What is your recommended start and game plan? Thank you in advance if you are kind enoughg to offer an answer. James

  5. Sweets says:

    Well, I’m more of an ear player myself. Started off improvisation with simple blues in F and C playing by ear. It wasn’t until later on that I started learning the theory behind everything. This is when the combination of knowing the Jazz theory and combining my natural skills of hearing really boosted my progress.

    With everything in life, it’s going to be an on going process. It really all depends on how much you really want to succeed at it.

    You know what I mean?

  6. James says:

    I can appreciate that. Its a little odd for me being as i am a full time Sales Manager, and yet I gig 4-10 times per month away from my day job and frankly am somewhat “sought after” for my area in which I live. However, as of late I wish to really take my abilities to the next level. My problem I guess is that I have always loved Maynard, Mangione, Tower of Power and areas of Rock & roll. I never really felt Miles… I guess thats “blasphemy” to some extent. (LOL) But I truly want to “figure out” what the Nocholas Paytons and Roy Hargroves are hearing/feeling. WOW am I a bit lost. You sound great I must add! J

  7. Alejandro says:

    Hi!! Im a guitar player! but I was looking for some turnarounds and II V I licks and I made up here! It´s really useful man! Im glad to be wake up so late! haha
    Cheers from Argentina!

  8. Curtis says:

    You played it double time over a long ii V… should have been played as a short ii V over the 4th bar

  9. Sweets says:

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  10. @Alejandro – I’m the same except I do this on my bass. I take licks from other Jazz instruments and integrate them into my playing.

    Sounds awesome when it all lines up with the rhythm section and the horns.

  11. fred says:

    Hi am just starting and your site WOW!! great,it’s possible to have the whole transcription of this video …thks and again great site!!

  12. Sweets says:

    I don’t know if I would get a transcription done, but I tell you what, it would be a good ear training workout for yourself to go ahead and do one.

  13. Paul says:

    Rather than remembering the scale as the 5th note of the dominant on a C, I find it easier to remember this lick by just thinking its the ii dorian scale notes, starting on the root.

    So in C, ii-V-I is D(ii) G7(V) C(I), so just play the D dorian scale up.

    This seems to work in all keys but I don’t know if theres anything wrong with that approach?


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