JAZZ GUITAR HARDBALL
Strollin’ with T-Bone Walker, Part 2
Welcome to our exploration of T-Bone work, T-Bone recorded this in 1942; it’s just as
Walker, part 2. Last month we covered some fresh and inspiring today!
T-Bone history and ended with some classic
T-Bone licks. Today, I have transcribed the
introductory 12-bar chorus on “I Got a Break
Baby” (available on You Tube.com). This is
essentially an improvised guitar solo that
opens the piece, and there are some fantastic
classic T-Bone riffs here! An important early
T-Bone shows his interest in jazz horn-like
phrasing by alternating swing eighth-note
phrases with double-time sixteenth note
lines. His mastery of the blues scale is apparent, but mixed in are a few jazz-like harmo-nies, such as leaning on the A natural note
at times. Other jazz tendencies include the
Charlie Christian-style licks, which use the
natural third (C-Eb-E-G-C), using a pure, natural archtop tone with no overdrive, and using
syncopated rhythms that are very akin to jazz
phrasing (especially the implied hemiola that
starts on beat two of measure 5 [F7]).
The chorus immediately following this one
starts with a classic double stop (notes Bb
and G played together). Continue transcribing that chorus as a great ear-training exercise and to incorporate T-Bone’s vocabulary
into your own!
“I Got a Break Baby” solo on You Tube.com:
search for “roots of blues t-bone walker.”
Just for fun, there’s also a charming You Tube
video showing T-Bone Walker sitting in with
Chuck Berry… the “student” honoring his
main influence: search for “every day I have
the blues t-bone walker chuck berry.”
T-Bone Walker perfoming at the Olympia in Paris, France on
October 20, 1962. © Chenz / Dalle / Retna Ltd.
A clinician and jazz educator, Jim Bastian is a ten year
veteran of teaching guitar in higher education. Jim holds
two masters degrees and has published six jazz studies
texts, including the best-selling How to Play Chordal
Bebop Lines for Guitar (Jamey Aebersold Jazz). He actively
performs on both guitar and bass on the East Coast.