"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."
We're excited to see students of our recent release, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin digging in deep enough to start making their own interpretations of the book's five concept tunes. In particular, our Alaska-based research assistant, Ken Olmstead had documented his own impressive rendition of "Lydia O'Lydia ."
Ken takes a little different tack than the others already posted by Don Stiernberg, Will Patton, and Don Julin, abandoning the Latin feel for a more laid back swing. He also exposes a great tip in improvising over a #11 or Lydian pattern, using the Major 7 chord arpeggio based on the 5th scale degree. In this song, the two key centers G and Bb would use a D Maj7, and an F Maj7 arpeggio respectively. Outlining these two chord in inversions up and down the fretboard gives you a tremendous roadmap, and unlocks the Lydian Mode's fertile mood. From there, it's just a matter of filling the notes in between.