We begin the Bill Evans series this week! Bill was such a huge influence on jazz pianists all over. His creativity and endless drive to push the boundaries have inspired so many. He was truly one of the greatest of all time.

I chose this great quarter note triplet line to start off with because it was such a contrast to all of Wynton Kelly’s lines, which we previously just studied.

The line starts off with a great jazz theory concept called a hexatonic patter, which simply means taking two triads to form a scale or a pattern. You can do both to improvise. In this case he starts with an Ab triad then switches to a D triad and lands on the b5 of the E-7b5 chord. The great thing about these triads rhythmically is he begins them on the second beat of the quarter note triplet so they are displaced! Bill was big into rhythmic displacement as you will soon begin to see.

At the end of the first measure, he finishes his line ending on the 9 of the E-7b5 chord which happens to land on the downbeat to the A7. He continues to a root and #9 over the A7, then to the b9, b13, and 3 before landing on the 9 of the D-7 chord. These combination of notes simply come from the altered scale.

The E, (the 9) and the C# are a simple approach to the root which he lands on but adds in two eighth notes and outlines chord tones for D minor in a descending fashion.

Great line to kick of the Bill Evans series! Enjoy!

Points for practicing this lick:

  • Hexatonic lines – Two triads used to form a 6 note scale or pattern.
  • Rhythmic Displacement.
  • Quarter note triplet rhythms for improvisation


Picture of Brenden Lowe

Brenden Lowe

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