Monday, November 21, 2016

John Coltrane's "Countdown" - Improv with Chord Tones, Scales and Four Note Groupings

I had a little practice time today at Berklee and was working on John Coltrane's classic composition "Countdown". My improv students and I have been working this week on improvising on this song focusing on several techniques including the use of Chord Tones, Scales and Four Note Groupings (1,2,3 and 5 for each chord). This tune is based upon the 16 bar jazz standard "Tune Up" which is basically a series of II-7 V7 I Maj's through various keys down in whole steps. Coltrane applied his 3 Tonic System (3 major keys a major 3rd apart) to each II-7 V7 I Maj. So for D-7/ G7/ C Maj/ C Maj 7/, we now have D-7 Eb7/Ab Maj 7 B7/E Maj 7 G7/ C Maj 7/.