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!

Kenny Drew was as in the loop as any New York pianist before choosing to relocate to Copenhagen in 1961. Aside from making several trio and quintet records as a leader, in just the six years prior to his move, he played on recordings by Kenny Dorham, Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Jackie McLean and Sonny Rollins, and was the pianist on John Coltrane’s landmark Blue Trane album, which also featured Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller. You can hear Drew getting downhome on the Kenny Dorham shuffle “Buffalo” from Dorham’s Whistle Stop album, burning through the blues changes on the title cut from the aforementioned Blue Trane, and negotiating the minor blues on “Groovin’ The Blues” from Drew’s own Blue Note quintet date Undercurrent. The lick we’re working on here call for a bit of shifting positions on the fingerboard but everything still falls within a pretty narrow range, fret-wise, while covering a lot of ground melodically and harmonically. In that respect, it’s similar to some of the Oscar Peterson-inspired moves we’ve looked at, and as such can serve as a model for how to create contrast by combining less familiar shapes on the fingerboard with more blues- or pentatonic-based licks.

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.