What is it about really good jazz playing that makes standards sound lyrical, fresh, and interesting? I have found that having very strong basic intrumental skills is essential. I’m referring to excellent tone production, rock solid time, awareness of swing, digital independence and fluency (left hand), adequate right hand coordination and strong aural “visualising” of chord changes. The playing should sound effortless, and this takes time and repetition.

But how about the material itself? The good jazz players not only know the melody and the changes thoroughly, they know what progressions can be added in between the regular changes to create interest and drama. These embellishments (or choices) are as vital to the improvising as they are to the comping or chord soloing. Sometimes a new chord, or chords, replaces the original one. However, our emphasis will not primarily be “far out re-harm’s” but rather “really getting the tune happening.” Harmony books and chord scales are a help, but songs are what we play.

In thirty years of professional playing I have performed many standard tunes with accomplished players. The ideas that I will share with you are definitely “field tested;” they are derived from extensive listening to the best pianists, guitarists and orchestrators as well as my own creative experimenting. The purpose of this class is to heighten your musical qualities and creativity.

  • 5 Standard Notation Songs Including:
    • “It’s You or No-One”
    • “Move”
    • “It Could Happen to You”
    • “I’ll Remember April”
    • “There is No Greater Love” [Comping]
    • “Manhã de Carnaval” Arranged by Jon Wheatley

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Class Content

Getting Creative With Standard Tunes
Getting Creative With Standard Tunes 01:10:00

Course Reviews


4 ratings
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  1. 5

    An endless field of knowledge source. Every minute counts in this lesson. A brilliant pedagogical approach. A crucial bridge between intermediate and advanced Jazz players. Totally worth it! 2 thumbs up for an humble and great teacher! Thanks to Mike Gellar for making this available. Probably one of the most worthful Jazz lesson I’ve had. You will indisputably get a lot of milage of this one. Reverence to Mr Wheatley.

    Julien USA

    by Julien Chazal
  2. 5

    Incredible lesson from a great player.Jon obviously learned by listening to great players.The informal presentation is great-lots of playing, not much talking.Any jazz guitarist could learn something from this.

    by Mark Stunkel
  3. 5

    What a wonderfull player and teacher !
    There’s a lot to learn and even to transcribe here.
    Unlike most guitar players, Jon does not play scales but lyrical melodies influenced by greats such as Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Sonny Stitt or Hampton Hawes to name a few.
    More than a guitar lesson, his masterclass is a music lesson.


    by Joël Jakubowicz
  4. 5

    Jon uses 6 tunes in this 1-1/2 hour presentation to demonstrate the uses of chords, you probably already use, as substitutions (mostly tritone) to beef up your comping and chord melodies. I attended the class and came away with many new ideas that I am now inserting in tunes I play. Jon’s approach is highly professional, entertaining, and the material he presents is immediately useable during the class. He first demonstrates his ideas in an easy to follow along manner, a couple times, then plays the tune, on 7 string, with a pre-recorded orchestration. I enjoyed it immensely and highly recommend this product.

    by Bill West

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