“Rhythm Changes” is a term that refers to a certain set of chord changes over a standard AABA song form. These changes are some of the most common and popular in jazz. You can not go to an open mic and jam session with hearing rhythm changes played at some point during the night. Some of the most common standards that have been written over these chords are: Oleo, Anthropology, Dexterity, I Got Rhythm, Moose the Mooche and Cottontail. There are hundreds more……..
Just as the “blues” is a vital form to learn and master when studying jazz improvisation, rhythm changes is also just as vital. This is a form that must be studied extensively so that you can play it in any key and at any speed. If you have ever listened to the music of Charlie Parker you probably already know that Rhythm Changes can many times be played at break neck speeds. If you want to be able to improvise at those speeds then you have to practice this form until you can play ideas at the speed of light.
I hope you enjoy Lesson 1. I introduce you to the form and chords as well as some common substitution. I teach you how to play over these fast changing chords by first using the major scale and blues scales. Later in the lessonwe talk more about playing the changes. This lesson is primarily for alto saxophone players as the keys and ideas I am talking about are for the alto sax. All the concepts can be applied to other keys and instruments though.(Video) (34 minutes)