John Scofield & Essentialism

In this post I’m going to show you a BURNING line from John Scofield’s Rhythm Changes ‘Flat Out’.

And you’re going to learn how to use it in your own playing without making your fingers bleed :)

Let’s get to it…

Scofield Line #1

Ok, so that’s the line.

Maybe you’re staring at that thinking, “Well, that’s just lovely, Mike. Really nice, and good for you. But I will NEVER be able to play that in a million years.” :)

Well, fear not my friend, because I want to show you a framework for simplifying a line like this so that you can make up your own stuff…

Step 1

We’ll start by reducing each bar to Quarter-notes. What you’re looking for here is the essence of what’s going on in the line. Here’s a walkthrough of how I’d do that:

Here’s that in notation

Scofield Line #2


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Step 2

More simplification! Stripping away more stuff to get the essential…

Scofield Line #3

So now you’ve got some big targets to aim for when making up your lines.

Your task is to use this framework and creatively connect those landmark points.

Here’s a little example:

Wrap up

Ok, so we took that line, simplified it, simplified it again, and then used THAT as a framework to play off of. A framework where you can think creatively about getting from point A to point B. It’s a starting point that can help you get into the sound of rhythm changes, and any set of changes for that matter.

The point is to make it simple enough so you don’t have to do masses of thinking, so that you can be creative and play your ideas.

Good Luck!