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Rhythm Changes - Introduction

Martin Miller 43 lessons

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Hello and welcome to my first IG tutorial! I'm really excited to share some of my knowledge and experience with you guys. So let's dig right in, shall we?

So this tutorial is about Rhythm Changes. No, that has nothing to do with odd meters :). Here’s a little bit of history for you:

 The term “Rhythm Changes” refers to a set of chord changes that is based on the famous George Gershwin song “I Got Rhythm”, which was very popular among swing players. The story has it that Charlie Parker, when he was playing in bars and clubs for several hours a night, wanted to improvise over those changes more than just once per gig. So he started writing new heads (composed melodies over the progression) and the audience wouldn’t notice.

Over the decades the number of tunes based on Rhythm Changes has become countless and its mastery is mandatory among jazz pros. Here are some of the most famous examples. Listening highly recommended:

- “Anthropology” (Charlie Parker)

- “Oleo” (Miles Davis)

- “Rhythm-a-Ning” (Thelonious Monk)

For some more cutting edge guitar influenced adaptions you might wanna check out:

- “What Do You Want?” (Pat Metheny)

- “Spark” (Tim Miller)

- “Suspone” (Mike Stern)

There goes your history lesson, let’s move on to the 2nd part of the tutorial!

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