Guitarist Cameron Mizell

New York Guitarist & Composer

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Lick of the Week 31: Cry Me A River

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The last few weeks have been a little crazy for me, and I've fallen behind on my Lick of the Week posts. Much of the time and effort I usually put towards these posts went into my last lesson on creative uses for the minor pentatonic scale. I hope you found that lesson helpful! Now back to the regularly scheduled programming. To catch up, I'll double up on licks the next couple of weeks.

Our first lick this week is one of the most popular pieces of jazz vocabulary--the "Cry Me A River" lick. The melodic fragment is derived from the opening phrase of "Cry Me A River" and is frequently used over altered dominant chords. Once you get this lick under your fingers and into your vocabulary, you'll start to hear it more and more in your favorite classic records.

The example today could be played over an A+7(#9) resolving to a Dm7. The notes in the "Cry Me A River" lick are all part of the A Super Locrian Mode: C (#9), Bb (b9), F (#5), and C# (3)--with some notes repeating in the lower octave. The end of the lick uses a chromatic enclosure resolve to an A before leaping up to the final F, wrapping it up nicely over the Dm7 chord.

At the end of the video, I also play the lick using a rhythm commonly used in jazz, including an upstroke rake to play some 16th notes. Once you learn the lick with 8th notes, play around with the rhythm, there are many possibilities with this figure.

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If you've enjoyed the last few months of Lick of the Week, please see my other guitar and mandolin lessons on this blog. I am also available for private guitar and mandolin lessons in NYC or via Skype. Also, I'm always looking for recommendations for Lick of the Week. Click here to make your requests.

If you're viewing this from a mobile device, click here to see the video and here to see the notation.