String Theory with Jimmy Brown: Learning Hip Chord Changes and Voicings from a Mid-Sixties Jazz Classic — Video

These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the July 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now or at the Guitar World Online Store.

Of all the standards I learned as a cadet in jazz college, one of my favorites is “Song for My Father,” the classic title track to the 1965 album recorded by pianist and bandleader Horace Silver with the Horace Silver Quintet.

The tune features a sinuous, well-written melody, harmonized by trumpet and tenor saxaphone, and some rather cool-sounding chord changes played over a laidback Latin-flavored bossa nova beat and signature root-fifth alternating bass line, which was later borrowed nearly verbatim by several pop artists, most notably Steely Dan on their 1974 hit song “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”

“Song for My Father” is built around a handful of closely related chords and is played at a fairly moderate tempo that is conducive to improvising 16th-note “double-time” licks over the changes.

These are attributes that would no doubt appeal to rock musicians who want to get into jazz, making it, like “Blue Bossa,” which we looked at in the December and Holiday 2013 installments of String Theory, an ideal “gateway” tune.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.