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!

There have been any number of piano/guitar/bass trios in jazz. Tenor guitarist Tiny Grimes described his position in keyboard wizard Art Tatum’s group as “low man on the Tatum pole,” and Nat Cole, who found himself leading such a group inadvertently when his drummer failed to show one night, was so successful with the format that Ray Charles did his level best to imitate the sound of the Cole group on his own first recordings (and came damn close). But the Tal Farlow trio with Eddie Costa on piano and Vinnie Burke on bass turned the idea sideways by featuring Farlow’s near-continuously unspooling lines that blurred Charlies Christian and Parker into his own inventive style. But far from being a mere vehicle for the formidable guitarist, the trio placed equal emphasis on deft, imaginative arrangments of well-chosen standards and on Costa’s own unique musical personality, which included frequent use of octaves, an unusual predilection for the lower register of the keyboard and a linear sensibility that had no trouble matching Farlow’s for intensity. My favorite of the Farlow trio records, simply titled Tal, has been reissued as part of The Complete Verve Sessions, and handful of those tunes also turn up on Tal Farlow’s Finest Hour; both include the blues “Chuckles,” which has plenty of soloing from both Costa and Farlow.

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.