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!

When I first put this track on in the car my wife’s immediate reaction was “is there anyone who doesn’t like this kind of music?!” Which is why we’re married, of course, but she has what I like to think is a pretty universal point. This tune, written by tenor saxophonist Harold Ousley (also the musician behind the outstandingly titled 1972 track “Uncle Funky”) appeared on Midnight Creeper, altoist Lou Donaldson’s 1968 follow-up to his Alligator Boogaloo of the previous year. Donaldson was a stone cold bebopper in the 1950s, and to this day his attitude is “I’m a Charlie Parker man, anything else is just another saxophone player.” But he was always interested in connecting with the public, so as tastes shifted, so did his music, and these great of-the-moment groove classics from the late 60s are the result. Both Lonnie Smith and George Benson are back along with drummer Leo Morris, and together they churn up a wickedly patient shuffle that doesn’t let up for the better part of six minutes. This lick over the IV chord comes from trumpeter Blue Mitchell’s solo.

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.