Miss Jones was called at a jam session the other day and didn’t make a very good showing, especially the bridge. Any tips on getting better with the bridge? I’m kind of a beginner and don’t understand how to move from one key to the next in the bridge. Seems impossible for me. Figured this was a good place to ask.
Yes, the bridge is hard. It follows the same II – V a major third apart as does Giant Steps. Richard Rogers was WAY ahead of his time in writing that progression. It’s usually not something that gets called at a jam session. Lucky you!
I created a chapter out of that tune in my book Trombone Improvisation Savvy[/I]. Attached is the complete chapter. You’ll get a rhythm track, lead sheet and exercises to specifically work on the bridge. Let me know if it helps you get a little bit better command of the bridge!
Mrs. Jones is a fabulous tune. From my experience, sometimes you can use what I like to call “launch and forget” it is basically like the guided missiles that follow the target by themselves.
These are short melodic phrases that go nicely on II-V progressions in a single bar and are very useful when improvising.
What I did was study what JJ Johnson played on a II-V progression, learned it in all keys, sped up the tempo and voila- I had a JJ phrasing running inside my musical bloodstream.
When I reach that B part on Mrs. Jones, I just load one of these phrases and launch it away. I can use it once and leave some space around it, I can use it several times in a row and then it sounds like a musical sequence, I can variate it and then I have new musical material. The thing is that I always sound “IN”, I am always expressing the harmony.
One of JJ’s phrases on a single II-V bar is: 3-4-9-7-6-5 of the dominant chord. On a Gm-C7 progression the notes will be: E-F-D-Bb-A-G played in 8th notes. Here is one simple thing to help you get past Mrs. Jone’s bridge.