50 Jazz Blues Licks is an exclusive series of video guitar lessons by David Hamburger covering the jazz blues styles of historically great guitarists like Geoge Benson, Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, and many others. A new lick will be released each week, so be sure to subscribe and check back often!

I found out about tenorist Harold Ousley while scouting up information for an earlier post on Lou Donaldson – Ousley is the composer of the tune “Dapper Dan,” which Donaldson recorded on Midnight Creeper in 1968. Ousley, who made his debut as a leader in 1961 with the LP Tenor Sax, didn’t record again on his own until 1972. It’s hard to reconcile the notion of someone tasteful enough to fill Lester Young’s shoes (Ousley spent time accompanying Billie Holiday in the ‘50s) with the album art for Sweet Double Hipness, but – well – it was the 1970s. So what can you do? I’m just glad there are tracks in this world like “Uncle Funky,” which yes, predates Herbie Hancock’s “Chameleon” by a year. Unlike the Hancock tune, “Uncle Funky” winds its way through a complete twenty-four bar blues progression, albeit in a funk-inspired, straight-eighths way that makes you want to reach for your wide-wale corduroys and a big glass of Tang. Our first Ousley-inspired lick is as notable for what’s going on rhythmically as melodically and harmonically – on guitar, a little ghost pickind in between the notes (think scratch/ funk rhythm guitar) will go a long way towards helping you feel the pulse of the opening blues licks that set up the eventual descending chromatic move in measures seven and eight.

Read on for the full guitar lesson…

Video Guitar Lesson

If you like these guitar lessons, be sure to also check out Frank Vignola’s Jazz Up Your Blues, which showcases essential jazz blues vocabulary and techniques, Mark Stefani’s Jazzed Blues Assembly Lines, which takes you on a sonic learning tour through the funky rhythm and blues stylings and fretboard concepts of top jazz blues players, and of course all of David Hamburger’s courses.