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 George 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!

Our lick this week comes, for the second time, from an idea of Dexter Gordon’s on his tune “The Panther,” the title track from his first album of the 1970s. Miles Davis had just thrown down the electric gauntlet with the “Bitches Brew” album, released three months before Gordon recorded “The Panther,” and the whole fusion 70s was about to unfold in a blur of odd meters, 16th notes, funk rhythms and bleak times for those musicians who remained on a more straightahead path. But here’s Gordon burning through three standards and three originals with no less than our old pal Tommy Flanagan on piano and, for extra Jazz-Blues credit, the album closes with Lou Donaldson’s tune “Blues Walk.” (Spend enough time in any one corner of the world and all of the same people start walking through the door, it seems.) And as funk and fusion blew through the decade, scooping up the Freddie Hubbards and Herbie Hancocks of the world, Gordon, who came of age a short generation earlier, just kept making badass small-group jazz records like this one, nearly all the way up until his demise in 1990.

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.