Video Review: Minor Line Concepts by Jay Umble

This is the first video from Jay Umble that I’ve studied and it’s a gem. In this video, Jay explores his personal approach to creating strong minor lines. Over the 83 minutes of video and 10 pages of PDF examples, many ideas are explored.

On the website, the video description says:

In this class Jay not only demonstrates many minor 7th line ideas but goes beyond the typical lick format by sharing his personal approach to improvisation as it relates to the minor 7th tonality.  In addition to the licks, Jay discusses and demonstrates concepts such as:

  • set-ups
  • substitutions
  • arpeggios
  • random start points
  • inside/outside playing
  • chromaticism
  • symmetrical forms
  • directing the line form
  • connecting the positions
  • playing with intent and more

I particularly like how Jay presents his ideas in a very conversational way. The video is so rich with content that it made me feel I needed to watch the segments multiple times to get the full benefit.

His approach thinking about each position as a space for different line possibilities reminds me of Pat Martino’s work. This makes sense since I read that Jay had studied with Pat Martino and Joe Diorio. The Joe Diorio side of things reveals itself when Jay chooses to play more intervallic ideas within the same position. I can sense the lineage of his playing but Jay also has his own strong sense of identity. As with all the players I usually like, his strong melodic sense shines and attracted me to this video. In addition to the strong melodic ideas, Jay also demonstrated some sweep picking ideas via different one note per string lines.

With the use of chromaticism, he talks about lines gravitating towards somewhere and not having a clear idea of ‘correct notes’. To him, all notes are possible choices in creating lines over the chords. All in all it’s very interesting ideas as he demonstrates combining intervallic ideas along with more scalar chromatic tinged lines. He also discuss how to get to the point of resolving ideas even if you start on a ‘wrong note’.

In the 3rd section, he talks about ‘set-ups’ – different strategies to lead into a target note creating interesting chromaticism as the lines moves. In the 4th section, Jay shares some ideas to connect the areas of the neck while still being in the G minor tonality.

This is my first Jay Umble master class purchase and I’m extremely impressed and inspired. There’s a lot of good stuff here and I particularly like how Jay gives so many musical examples throughout the entire video. There’s a lot of interesting concepts that he introduces in between the main points including ‘setups’ and various ways to add chromatic ideas into the lines.

There are also 40 different lines (within funk and swing rhythmic context) that is included in the 10 pages of PDFs that I’ll be checking out to understand more about his approach as well.

Thank Jay & Mike’s Masterclasses for making such an awesome video.

Pros: Great solid lines and concepts with A LOT of examples played in the video. Written examples complement the video too.
Cons: Jay explains in a free form manner at times so you have to catch the points or examples as it occurs.
TLDR: If you’re an intermediate or advanced player looking to get more involved minor lines with chromaticism, check out this video!

How to Buy:
This course is available here on the Mike’s Master Classes website, one of a series of Jay Umble videos currently available. There is a rent option (limited time streaming only access) as well as a download version. The video is full of so much content so I recommend buying the download version for long term practice.

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