A ‘Two-Speed’ Approach To Rhythm Changes

It’s probably the second most called tune in the repertoire, after the blues, but the famous “Rhythm Changes” (i.e. the many variants of Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”) always presents a challenge to musicians at every level of experience.

As we study this tune, we should be aware that it’s simultaneously the most complex and the simplest piece in the book; hence the ‘two-speed’ approach. This lesson has been carefully designed to offer something to everyone: on the one hand, it includes a wide range of chord substitutions, lines and progressions we can add to the basic form, whilst on the other hand, we deconstruct the song and reduce it to its barest essentials.

This jazz guitar lesson includes:

  • Advice on creating lines over a static major tonality.
  • Advice on breaking down the difficult A section into a simpler (but still convincing) progression.
  • Simple lines to negotiate the full A section changes, broken down into their component parts, so that you can create similar ones of your own.
  • Thorough discussion and demonstration of several different bridge progressions.
  • Thorough discussion and demonstration of many different harmonic substitutions, including ideas relating to the playing of great saxophonists like Sonny Stitt and John Coltrane.
  • Advice on how to get “outside” the changes in your lines.
  • Clear and detailed PDF containing many written examples.
  • Synchronised on-screen captions, so that you know exactly what you’re hearing at any given moment.
  • Every concept discussed is broken down slowly, and then performed at tempo with rhythm section backing, so you can hear it in a performance context.
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Class Content

Rhythm Changes - A Two Speed Approach
Rhythm Changes – A Two Speed Approach 01:12:00

Course Reviews


8 ratings
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  • 4 stars1
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  1. Profile photo of George Kormendi


    Great presentation!

    A note on one of the previous comments: Unless I am forgetting something of past Abersold studies, I find Jamie’s approach actually quite different than Abersold, in that it does not so much focus on a chord by chord analysis, but rather goes for the big picture, giving students the barest bones structure, the essence, of Rhythm Changes and then working up from there, gradually adding more sophisticated harmony.

    This matches my approach to teaching and studying jazz harmony. I really appreciate how Jamie is able to impart this understanding with less technical jargon, than the usual approach, and still impart something substantial — as opposed to either getting very abstract and technical (which is a tendency I struggle with when teaching), or on the other hand just giving a bunch of licks to play, a la "50 licks you must learn", which don’t necessarily impart a deeper understanding of the music. Well done Jamie! This approach is well worth developing and fleshing out with other standard progressions. I would say go for it!

    And thanks so much to Jamie and Mike for making this particular lesson avaIlable for free!

    ~ George Kormendi (September 19, 2017)

  2. Profile photo of Paul Brooke


    For me, the Rhythm Changes "Two Speed" video is the best I’ve ever seen on the subject. I’ve looked at lots of other books and videos and never had things explained so clearly, simply and effectively. Jamie Taylor gets my vote as being one of the very best guitar/music teachers ever. Great teachers are great communicators, who know how to break their subject down to its basic foundations in a way that makes things fascinating and easy to understand. In addition to his superb teaching skills, Jamie really knows how to play. That’s a rare combination. He’s someone you want to emulate. His extremely clear and organized explanations have really opened up my eyes and ears. I’m on to his Blues video next and I have no doubt I will buy all his lessons, they are that good.

    ~ Paul Brooke (March 14, 2017)

  3. Profile photo of Wai


    Awesome!!It’s the most completed and organized course I’ve seen so far. Take ideas from this video and use the practice method from Jake Langley’s video, we have a complete practice system at last~!

    ~ Wai (October 8, 2015)

  4. Profile photo of Steve Vetter


    Jamie is the real deal. Such a wealth of ideas that just flow out of this musician. I instantly bought his 2 speed blues approach right after going through this one. Very likeable fellow as well! Studying with Jamie is like having direct access to all of the greats in just one person. He can and will make you a better player if you let him. Very good instructor and human being!! Thanks Jamie!

    ~ Steve Vetter (March 11, 2015)

  5. Profile photo of Fred C.


    Excellent presentation on Rhythm Changes. Jamie lays out everything in a very methodical and progressive manner, which will help anyone who struggles with fast moving changes. I’d like to see him do the same thing on Giant Steps.

    ~ Fred C. (June 9, 2014)

  6. Profile photo of Eric Byron


    Jamie is a very good teacher and I like his tone and the way he explains things. Everything is laid out clearly.
    I am a bit less enthusiastic about the content of this lesson because 80-90% is from aebersold there is nothing really new or better explained and I would have appreciated more examples on the real sound of the A section because it is really what it s all about.
    I still rate 4 stars because it is very well taught.

    ~ Eric Byron (August 23, 2013)

  7. Profile photo of Steve Barnette


    Just finished watching this for the first time and have to watch it again. There is so much info, it not only covers the stuff you typically hear, but is a history lesson in how the legends approached rhythm changes to make hip and take them out. There is something for all level players interested in playing Rhythm Changes.

    ~ Steve Barnette (December 29, 2012)

  8. Profile photo of SCOT GORMLEY


    Thank you, Jamie, for this excellent class! Jamie plays some great lines and demonstrates very useful, tangible concepts for getting a handle on this difficult subject. Jamie begins with some thoughts on building melodic statements from a basic Bb tonality, and he progresses with techniques for targeting chord key chord tones. I especially liked Jamie’s discussion of alternate changes for the bridge section, too. Lots of great information, presented very articulately and with great tone and time feel. I’m looking forward to more classes from Jamie in the future.

    – Scot Gormley (1-12-2012)

    ~ SCOT GORMLEY (January 12, 2012)

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