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!

Tracks like this come right out of the organ combo sound created almost single-handedly by B-3 wizard Jimmy Smith in the mid-1950s. Best known to guitarists through his tight musical relationship with Kenny Burrell, Smith’s long string of Blue Note albums created, sustained and cemented the sound of B-3, guitar, drums and maybe a horn player or two cooking on a groove-oriented, bop-inflected mix of standards, shuffles and slow blues. But even as musicians in this vein strove for as “down-home” a vibe as possible, they still relied on riff-based uptempo tunes like “The Thang” to lighten the mood, giving a nod back towards the good-time dance sound of jump blues musicians like hitmaker Louis Jordan and prototypical Midwestern swing aggregations like the Count Basie band. Altoist Lou Donaldson maintained his bebop finesse even in the grooviest of situations, as this IV-I lick of his from “The Thang” makes clear.

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.