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String Theory with Jimmy Brown: Some Crafty, Ambitious Improvising Over “Song for My Father”

These videos and audio files are bonus content related to the September 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.

As a final lesson on improvising over the changes to Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father,” this month I present a chorus of original melody played over the tune’s 24-bar, AAB form that features musically crafty contours with interesting twists and turns (see FIGURE 1).

Following last month’s sparser, bluesy chorus, I now shift into higher rhythmic and harmonic gear and play double-time 16th-note bebop-style lines over the tune’s laid-back bossa-nova groove and loosely spaced chord changes, which present an opportunity and challenge to try and “get inside the changes” and say a lot over each chord, while bringing the two-chorus solo to an exciting climax.

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.