Jazz Lessons Lee Morgan Licks

Published on February 16th, 2015 | by Sam


Lee Morgan Licks – Jazz Blues Vocabulary

The 1960s was a fertile ground of blues and jazz crossover.  Some of the horn players from the period played some of the greatest blues lines. Lee Morgan was one of the greatest blues jazz horn players.  We’re going to take a look at some of his best lines from the famous tune, Sidewinder.  The tune is in Eb and is sort of a modified blues form.

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The first three licks are all similar ways to get back to the I chord.

Lee Morgan Lick 1

Lick 1 starts on the 4th of the Eb.  The resolution of the line happens on beat 1 of the I chord where Lee plays the b7 up to root.

Lee Morgan sidewinder lick 1


Lee Morgan Lick 2

Lick 2 features some of his signature slides and scoops.  These can be really guitaristic as well.  Lee is a master at using these in a really musical way, so make sure to listen to the recording to really get the feel.

Lee Morgan sidewinder lick 2

Lee Morgan Lick 3

Lick 3 is very similar in feel to lick 2.  It uses some of the same ideas as 1 and 2.  It also has some great use of the b5 – or ‘blues note’.  Notice that this lick ends in the same way as lick 1.  The endings of licks is really important and strong endings can really tie things together.

Lee Morgan sidewinder lick 3

Lee Morgan Lick 4

The final lick is a great minor ii-V lick that can give you a lot of mileage.  The descending section of the V chord moves down through the diminished dominant sound – 3, b9, Root, b7, and resolving to minor 3rd of the i chord.  This could also be modified to resolve to the major 3rd of the I chord to give you some more use.

Lee Morgan sidewinder lick 4
One of Lee Morgan’s strengths is getting his lines to have so much conviction and meaning.  These lines don’t disappoint.

Make sure to check out some of the other jazz articles here. Also check out 80/20 Jazz Guitar, available on Amazon as well as here.

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