Jazz Improvisation Etude by Howie Shear: Joy Spring

Howie Shear Jazz Solo Etude

Joy Spring Jazz Solo Etude for Trumpet by Howie Shear

Twice a month we will be posting a new Jazz Improvisation Etude composed by Howie Shear. Each etude will be based on the chord changes of a different jazz standard and will comprise two complete solo choruses.

These etudes will focus on different aspects of trumpet playing and jazz improvisation techniques. They can be played as stand alone exercises but, for best results, we suggest playing along with an Aebersold or another play-along track, allowing you can hear how the melodic ideas work with the chord changes.

The concepts utilized in these solos are presented in Howie Shear’s books Jazz Improvisation – Simplified and Bebop Vocabulary, which are tools that help you develop your own jazz vocabulary that you can use during improvisation. The goal of these etudes is to show how the simple ideas Howie outlines in his books can be applied and developed in a jazz solo format.

Jazz Improvisation Etude #3: “Joy Spring”

The third etude features two choruses over “Joy Spring.” This solo focuses on the following:

  • Diatonic & non-diatonic melodic ideas
  • Chordal & scalar melodic ideas
  • Chromaticism
  • Upper register melodic ideas
  • Compositional ideas
  • Technical dexterity
  • Endurance
  • Jazz phrasing and articulation
  • Use of upper harmonic extensions in melodic contexts
  • Use of modern jazz lexicon

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If you would like to learn more about jazz improvisation we suggest you purchase Howie Shear’s books, Jazz Improvisation – Simplified and Bebop Vocabulary, which detail the concepts he is applying in these solos.

About Howie Shear

Howie Shear received a Bachelors in Education from Fredonia State University in 1975 and a Masters in Jazz Studies from the Eastman School of Music in 1977. He received his Doctorate in Music from the University of Southern California in 2002. He studied with James F. Burke and Raymond Crisara. Howie toured with the Woody Herman Band as lead trumpet player & featured soloist in 1980. After the tour he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician and soloist. Among the extensive list of artists he has worked with are: The Chuck Mangione Orchestra, Tony Bennett, George Benson, Mel Torme, The Temptations, and The Spinners. He was the musical arranger and lead trumpet player on the Joan Rivers Late Night Show. Howie has also played various shows at the Ahmanson Theater and many jazz festivals around the world where he has held trumpet clinics. Arranger and producer of various jazz albums, Howie currently has his own jazz quartet. His classical work includes playing with brass quintets and choirs, solo church work, and solo work in the studios.

Howie Shear is professor of Jazz Trumpet at California State University: Northridge.

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