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Education » Video Tutorials
Truefire Robben Ford Jazz Revolution TUTORiAL screenshot
P2P | 22 September 2020 | 8.19 GB
Interactive Video Masterclass for Jazz Guitar
Primarily regarded as a bluesman, Robben Ford’s music is influenced and deeply rooted to his love for jazz. Robben has performed and recorded with many jazz artists including most notably Miles Davis, Tom Scott/L.A. Express, the Yellowjackets, Sadao Watanabe, and Dave Grusin.

In this Jazz edition of his TrueFire Revolution series, Robben explores his jazz musicality across 10 performance studies, each focused on a specific comping or soloing approach.

”I'm a self-taught guitarist who began as a blues player, but wanting to expand my musical knowledge, I started investigating what the jazz players were doing. I found that learning chords were the best place for me to begin because even if I wasn't able to solo over them, I could accompany those who could and gain experience.

Once I had the chords under my belt, I learned scales that allowed me to improvise through them. My first opportunity to play in a jazz setting and with players who were far more evolved than I was, was with Tom Scott and the LA Express, accompanying Joni Mitchell. Soon after, I formed the group Yellowjackets, my first fusion band, and eventually found myself with Miles Davis - my hero in jazz for sure!

In this course, I'll be showing you my unique way of blending blues and jazz sensibilities in what I think is a fresh approach to jazz composition, harmony and improvisation. We'll work through 10 different pieces of music, each accentuating a different aspect of writing, comping and soloing.”


Robben will explain and demonstrate all of the key concepts and approaches along the way. You’ll get standard notation and tabs for all of the performance studies. Plus, you’ll be able to use TrueFire’s learning tools to sync the tab and notation to the video lesson. You can also loop or slow down the videos so that you can work with the lessons at your own pace. All of the backing tracks are included to work with on your own as well.

Grab your guitar and let’s dig in with Robben Ford!

Crabshaw: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"Our first track is called "Crabshaw". Here we'll work through the full lead guitar part of the track. Up next, we take a look at how to comp along with the track. Then, we're going to look at a few of the techniques I'm using in-depth. Let's get started."

Crabshaw: Comping Sections - Performance
"This playalong shows you some of the comping ideas you could use over the track for "Crabshaw". We'll work through a section of the tune, and then start to break down a few of the techniques I'm using in the next segment."

Open Strings Enhance Bass Lines - Crabshaw: Harmony & Melody
"This song is called "Crabshaw Don't Care", which is a reference to a blues that Elvin Bishop recorded with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, called "Drunk Again". The song was written in the key of B, something that's unique to guitar, as it doesn't fall under your fingers as easily as something like playing in A. Something we're taking advantage of here is open strings, using them to enhance the bassline. When writing instrumental music, I like to engage the bass player in ways they normally wouldn't. Instead of just having the bassist hit the root note, we're bringing them into the composition here with a melodic line played in unison. In this segment, we'll break down the melody line as well as go through some of the harmonic choices I made with the chords."

Scales, Triads, Personality - Crabshaw: Improvisation
"With "Crabshaw Don't Care", we're in the key of B7. This gives us a different, brighter sound that's a little funky too. It's also great for my voice, so I'm a big fan. Let's talk a little bit about where my head was at with the improvisation for this tune. With the melody riff, the idea was to inject a little bit of humor into it. That's something to keep in mind - there should always be an emotion in mind. In jazz and rock 'n' roll, we're often working with one emotion or theme, unlike classical where we can move between different emotions. So, "Crabshaw" is kind of funny. Nothing too overt, just some playful thematics are thrown in to make it light. Let's go through the lead part, and I'll break down some of the approaches I took while improvising."

Hebb Tide: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"Our second track is called "Hebb Tide". First, we're going to go through the lead guitar part all the way through, then we'll check out some comping ideas you can use. After that, we'll go in-depth with a few concepts that are essential to playing the tune and bringing jazz into your playing. Let's get to it."

Hebb Tide: Full Comping Pass - Performance
"Here we have some comping ideas you can use to play along with the track. When you're ready, head on over to the next segment where we'll break down some of the harmonic choices I used."

Freedom is the Joy in Jazz - Hebb Tide: Harmony
""Hebb Tide" is a series of four chords that are similar to the song "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb. Let's take a look at the progression, some of the harmonic choices I made working through it and how we can bring in the melody to the chord voicings."

Always Look for Common Ground - Hebb Tide: Improvisation
"The improvisation on "Hebb Tide" is over four chords, the first three of them taken out of the Eb major scale. The fourth chord is altered that leads our ear back into the I. A cool thing about this particular progression is that there's a lot of common tones between the chords. When improvising, it's our job to look for common ground to get from point A to point B. Here we'll go through some of the cool connection points in the chords, and how you can take advantage of that to put together a solo."

On That Morning: Full Lead Pass - Performance
""On That Morning" is our next tune. Here we're going to work through the full lead guitar part, then we'll move on to the comping part that accompanies it. To close things out for this song, we'll break down both the harmonic and improvisation approaches I took for each part. Let's check it out!"

On That Morning: Comping Sections - Performance
"Here's some of the comping techniques I'd use for "On That Morning". I'll work through a few different approaches here, and then when you're ready head over to the next segment where we'll talk about some of the harmonic ideas we're working with."

Break the Mode - On That Morning: Harmony & Melody
"This song, "On That Morning", is an old Gospel tune that I did an arrangement for on my record Bringing It Back Home. This song is in the Aeolian mode - something that I don't really talk about often is the mode, but I feel like it's important to know here. All the chords we're going to play are in the Eb major scale, but we're beginning on C, the sixth degree of the scale, so therefore its Aeolian."

An Altered Opportunity Knocks - On That Morning: Improvisation
""On That Morning" is a minor blues based on the Aeolian mode. Let's look at how improvising in this mode works over the chords, and some of the techniques that I use to turn this old Gospel tune into something jazzy and new."

Philly Blues: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"This track is called "Philly Blues". Here we're going to go through the full lead part, and in the next segment, we'll look at some comping approaches to accompany it. Once we've had a pass-through both parts, we'll check out the harmonic and melodic elements that are important to get down, then I'll break down what I did in the solo. Let's take a look at "Philly Blues"."

Philly Blues: Full Comping Pass - Performance
"Now we're going to take a look at some different comping ideas for "Philly Blues". When you're ready, head on over to the next video where we'll talk about some of the chord choices I've made here."

Unpredictable, Unconventional - Philly Blues: Harmony & Melody
"This song called "Philly Blues" was written for a tenor saxophone player called Bob Malach from Philadelphia. I wrote this for one of his records that I helped produce called The Searcher; it's just a Bb blues song with some jazzy, R&B touches. Let's check out how to play the melody of the song, and what chords I've used to develop the harmony of the tune. What I had in mind was using sounds that didn't necessarily fit - something that was "wrong". We're breaking the mold a bit, using things that are a bit unconventional."

Albert Collins Hipness - Philly Blues: Improvisation
"This track is really akin to an Albert Collins style shuffle. He'd play at faster tempos, similar to this kind of feel. Here I'll work through his style of playing, and how it works over this blues track."

Possaic: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"Moving on, this track is called "Passaic". We'll check out the full lead guitar part, then in the next segment, I'll take you through some comping approaches. From there, we'll break it down. I'll take you through the harmonic and melodic ideas, then show you some improvisation approaches to try out. Let's take a look."

Possaic: Full Comping Pass - Performance
"Now we've got a few comping ideas to get you started playing along with the progression. Once you've got a good handle on it, move on to the next segment where we'll talk about the harmonic approaches I took here."

Inspired Composition - Possaic: Harmony & Melody
"This song "Passaic", full title "Florence Greenberg of Passaic, New Jersey", is a nice little shuffle. There's always a reason for writing a song, and with this one, I sought to specifically write a shuffle - but..let's make it cool! The idea here was to keep things simple but use chords and melody that might be a bit unexpected."

Building on a Theme - Possaic: Improvisation
"The chord changes on "Passaic" are basically C7 to Bb7. But, we're looking for something more refined when trying to get there. Let's first look at some interesting ways to get from point A to point B here. When improvising on the melody for this song, the idea I'd like to focus on is extending or building on the thematic elements. There's plenty of opportunities to hear what's already there and using what's in the chords to find something thematic but new to play."

Samuel: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"Here's a tune called "Samuel". We'll start off by checking out the full lead guitar part, then take a pass through some comping approaches you can use as well. In the breakdown, we'll analyze some of the harmonic and melodic choices I made, then take a look at how I approach improvising over this track."

Samuel: Full Comping Pass - Performance
"Here are some ways to accompany the lead guitar part on "Samuel". When you're ready, head over to the next segment where we'll talk about some of the chord choices I made for this tune."

Repetition Done Right Breeds Vibe - Samuel: Harmony & Melody
"This little thing we call "Samuel" is that the chord progression that Russell Ferrante used to solo on my song "Magic Sam", named after the blues guitarist from Chicago, Sam Maghett. Let's look at the chords I used here. When we cut that record, called The Inside Story, I played only these chord voicings throughout the entire solo by Russell. In this case, I felt like that kind of consistency was key here. Just like the drummer kept doing his thing, I thought it was important to have little interaction between our parts, just keep hammering away. There are times when I feel like it's absolutely necessary to keep things repetitive, and when done correctly with intention, it creates "vibe"."

Melodicism is Key - Samuel: Improvisation
"This particular improvisation over chord progression is for the keyboardist, Russell Ferrante, who played on my song "Magic Sam". I thought they were cool, and wanted to bring them into this course on guitar to show them to you. We'll check out the soloing approach he took, and how it translates to the guitar neck."

Sentimental Mode: Full Lead Pass - Performance
""Sentimental Mode" will be our next tune. Here's my full improvisation over the progression. Next, I'll show you some of the ways you can accompany me on this track. Then, we'll break both parts down, looking at the melody, harmony, and improvisation techniques in detail. Let's get started."

Sentimental Mode: Comping the Solo - Performance
"Here's how I would comp over "Sentimental Mode". This is just a few ideas that you can use - in the next segment, we'll break down the progression and what chord voicings I used here."

Phrygian Focus - Sentimental Mode: Harmony & Melody
"The song "Sentimental Mode" was written in the Phrygian scale. It was unusual for me, and an assignment I gave myself to see what I can come up with. I've really only written in the Ionian or Mixolydian mode, and at that, I rarely thought about the modal approach I was taking. Let's take a look at how this came together."

Soloing Phrygian - Sentimental Mode: Improvisation
"Once the melody of "Sentimental Mode" is played, we have a tempo change, or at least double time the tempo and start a vamp that shakes it up a bit. Let's take a look at the chords for the vamp part, and how I approached soloing over them."

Stanley: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"This track is called "Stanley". We're first going to go through the soloing part the whole way through the song, then I'll take you through the comping approaches that are essential for playing along. When you've got a good handle on them, head over to the breakdown section where we'll check out the harmonic, melodic, and improvisation approaches to the tune."

Stanley: Comping the Solo - Performance
"Here we have the comping part of "Stanley". Check it out, and head over to the next segment where we'll talk some of the chord voicings for this track."

Limitation Breeds Liberation - Stanley: Harmony & Melody
"This song is called "Stanley", named after a bass player I grew up with, is based on a series of minor 7 chords. This is something that I've taken to in lieu of using more complicated chords. Harmonizing a melody to make it interesting is basically a process of finding different chords to rub up against whatever the note of the melody is. Rather than try to find "13b9" or diminished chords, I'll just use another minor 7 chord. Let's check out the melody, and how the chords spell it out."

Contrasting Elements - Stanley: Improvisation
"Here we're going to look at how to improvise and connect the chords over the progression for "Stanley". Something I like to do is use "leaps" - going to new areas of the guitar in quick succession, giving it a playful, bright feeling rather than staying in one area. Another cool thing that I'm doing here is using that same "leaping" up the neck, but instead of playing the arpeggio, I'm moving it up in major thirds - this keeps the same rhythmic ideas alive but changes up the approach. How I get around the guitar, in general, is using arpeggios and scales, taking some sort of theme that relates to the composition. This allows you to take the listener on a journey with you."

Strutnik: Full Lead Pass - Performance
""Strutnik" is our next track we're going to check out. Here we've got the full lead guitar part, and next, we'll take you through the full track again, focusing on some comping approaches you can take. When you're ready, we'll breakdown the chord voicings and harmonic devices I'm using, as well as how the improvisation came together, in the next couple segments. Let's get to it."

Strutnik: Full Comping Pass - Performance
"Now let's go through the track again, this time taking a comping approach for "Strutnik"."

Chord Voicings Keep it Interesting - Strutnik: Harmony
"This chord progression is called "Strutnik", as they're actually the chord changes from a song I took a solo on by Russell Ferrante called "Imperial Strut". Here we'll go over each chord choice I made, why I chose them, and how they fit together. Let's get to it."

Fundamental Devices - Strutnik: Improvisation
"This series of chords that we're applying in "Strutnik" almost lend themselves to just playing blues in Bb minor throughout. Certainly using Bb pentatonic is on the table for this one. Let's take a look at how it fits into the progression while improvising, and how the notes of the scale exist in the chords."

The Little Boxer: Full Lead Pass - Performance
"For our final track, we've got a tune called "The Little Boxer". We're going to take a run through the guitar part, and then we'll talk a little bit about the harmonic and melodic elements that guide us through the improvisation."

Miles & McLaughlin Inspiration - The Little Boxer: Harmony & Melody
"I recently watched a documentary on Jack Johnson the boxer, who was one of Miles Davis' idols for his lifestyle and intensity. Miles Davis was really into boxing, and having watched this documentary, I wanted to hear the tribute album Miles made for Jack Johnson. There's this song on there called "Yesternow", which is a series of chords with no real melody - there's a repetitive bassline, minimal drums, and the guitar. I was inspired by this piece of music, and it gave me the idea for this track. In "Yesternow", it's John McLaughlin playing guitar, who's informed how I'm playing here. Let's take a look."



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Damn, that's too bad! It's been happening often with the latest TrueFire releases
Thanks just the same, what's there is great nevertheless!

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