This short warm up is a melody based on a Major 7 #5 chord. The melody starts on the Root, ascends to the #5, ascends to the Major 3rd, descends to the Major 7, ascends to the Major 9. The melody starts on concert C major 7 #5 and continues around the circle of fourths through the 12 keys. This melody will work well as a substitute for a normal Major chord and also works well on it’s relative minor – i.e. C Major 7 #5 used over A minor Major 7.
Saxophonist Matt Otto presents the ambitious Iberica, a trip into the sounds of music from the Iberian Peninsula—Spain and Portugal. Ensemble Iberica joins him, a guitar trio that adds—in addition to their guitars—the cavaquinto, the oud, and the Cuban tres, crafting a delicate yet expansive soundscape in this tranquil, flowing, chamber jazz outing.
This is Otto’s first Origin Records outing since 2005’s Red, a superb quartet recording, featuring the tenor saxophonist with a guitar/bass/drums rhythm section. Iberica has a similar, cool mood—Otto’s creative vision is finely focused, and unwavering, from Red through several excellent outings on Jazz Collective Records. The addition of the multiple guitarists, along with Brad Cox on Fender Rhodes and effects, Karl McComas-Reichl on bass and cello, and steel guitarist Mike Stover, wrap Otto’s measured chamber approach in a beautiful lushness, diaphanous and understated, full of graceful harmonics and delicate, shimmering beauty.
Its not an orchestra, but Iberica sounds like the best of the jazz-with-strings genre, similar to, though more restrained and contemplative than Stan Getz‘ work with Eddie Sauter—especially Focus (Verve Records, 1961)—or Michael Brecker‘s Cityscape (Warner Brothers, 1982), with composer/arranger Claus Ogerman. Ensemble Iberica is exquisite in its contributions, but much credit has to go to the sweet, encompassing sustain of Stover’s steel guitar, and keyboardist Cox’s deft yet subtle Rhodes and effects work.
This is enchanting, luminous music. It sounds as if Matt Otto set out to create unalloyed beauty, and succeeded.
Although I believe there is a limit to value of practicing and understanding chord scale theory, the melodic minor scale is so prevalent in jazz improvisation and composition, I think that it’s important and relevant for the developing improviser to learn these modes in all keys.
Here’s a PDF and an mp3 of all the melodic minor scales and the modes. I made a call on the en-harmonic spellings in the various keys in an attempt to make each mode easier on it’s own. You can play along with or sing along to the mp3 for ear training and to help you hear if and when you are making a mistake in a scale or mode
Click the link below to download the PDF of the modes in all 12 keys: