Beginning Improv Scales

 Question by Anonymous

I am trying to apply scales to Autumn Leaves.

Bar 1(Cm7) & bar 2(F7) F mixolydian starting at F up & down
Bar 3(BbMaj7) & bar 4 (EbMaj7) Bb major starting at Bb up & down
all this no problem

Bar 5(Am7b5) ???
Bar 6 (D7) ???
Bar 7 & 8 (Gm7) G jazz minor starting at G up & down.

What scales can I use over the iim7b5/V7 (with or without b9)?

F mixolydion starting at F up & down landing at F# sounds nice but doesnt start at any of the chord tones

D harmonic minor statring at D (ignoring the Am7b5) for both?

A locrian for Am7b5 and G jazz minor starting on D?

M-A’s Answer:

Wow. This is a good question. There are many, many, many ways to look at this. Here are simply what I would consider to be in-line with what you already provided in the question:

I believe that the option that is the closest to what you are already doing in the first 4 bars is:

-in bars 5 and 6, play G harmonic minor starting from D (up and down). It sounds like D7 (b9 b13)


-I wouldn’t use Locrian (ever). Just doesn’t sound right to me.

-G “jazz minor” starting on D (assuming you mean G melodic minor) is also a good choice, better than Locrian anyways. It sounds like D7(b13).

-I don’t really understand why/how you use D harmonic minor, in the context of practicing scales like this.

-Last “hip” option: play on D7 altered scale, that is Eb melodic minor starting from D (aka Ab7(#11)) throughout the duration of the Am7b5 / D7. Lots of tension! Make sure you resolve it well into G minor.

I hope this helps,

Marc-Andre Seguin

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