These are examples of techniques I found in solos by saxophonists Michael Brecker, Mike Sim, Bunky Green and Gary Thomas and by pianist Paul Bley. The transcriptions of (fragments of) their solos served as models inspiring me to extend my improvisations beyond the traditional chord-scale approach. I have chosen the following examples because they represent operations that are relevant at all stages of the development of advanced jazz techniques. The same can be said about the order in which they appear in the sections below. In short, harmonic displacements precede tonal superimpositions and parallel harmonies, and from there it is a relatively small step towards non-tonal superimpositions. In jazz education these steps can also serve to illustrate the well-informed construction of a solo. The effect of sounding “outside the chords” can be increased by merging these displacements and superimpositions with traditional bebop patterns and conventional melodic and rhythmic sequences. From the time I discovered the operations in the following examples I transcribed them, transformed them, and transferred them into my personal musical backpack.
2.1 Michael Brecker: tonal superimpositions and harmonic displacements
In a solo by tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker on Cole Porter’s standard “What Is This Thing Called Love” on guitarist Jack Wilkins’ LP You Can't Live Without It (1977), I encountered exemplary examples of tonal superimpositions and harmonic displacements.
First there is the superimposition of a minor melodic scale starting on the ♭9 of the altered dominant seventh chord. In the following example Brecker superimposes a melodic pattern using the A♭ minor melodic scale on the G7 altered chord. Beside he applies harmonic displacement by starting this pattern two beats too early, in the second half of bar 5, instead of on the first beat of bar 6.