As mentioned, it is a whole lotta work, but there are indeed some "tricks" that you could start with to get your feet wet:
1. Treat every Major chord as a IV chord, so it becomes Maj7(#11). You can introduce yourself to this sound and concept by playing extended arpeggios:
Upwards: C E G B D F# A
and back down. What you have here is a DMaj triad on top of a CMaj7 (you could also think of it as a B-7 on top of a CMaj triad, but I prefer the former).
When soloing, you'll want to draw on these notes, but it's typically more melodic to break up the arpeggio into up and down fragments and non-step-wise intervals (in other words, mix it up musicially).
2. Treat every Dom7th chord that resolves to a minor chord as a diminished chord. For example, it is very common to see this in jazz:
| A-7(b5) | D7(b9) | G-7 C7 | FMaj7 |
The diminished substitution for the D7(b9) is derived from the b9 or Eb. Play an Eb diminished scale (whole, half, whole, half...) over the D7(b9). Alternatively, you could think of this as a half, whole, half, whole...diminished scale starting on D. They are the same thing.
The diminsihed scales are created as follows:
D half whole dim (expressed in the format of a D7(b9) chord: D Eb F F# G# A B C
Eb whole half dim (expressed as a dim chord): Eb F Gb Ab Bbb Cb Dbb D. This is enharmonically equivalent to the D half whole dim above (displaced by one note) and you can use the same scale over the A-7(b5). Thus, you have two bars of Eb whole half dim and two bars of FMaj. Or you could incorporate my idea #1 above and play FMaj7(#11) over the final bar (the use of this would depend heavily on what the other instrumentalists are doing, as is the case with any scale choice in jazz - you need to synch with the bandmates and their harmonic approach to any given tune).
And these ideas are about 0.00001% of what you can use for scales in jazz.
The opinion of most musicians I have met is that the music industry sucks. This is because the music industry sucks. - Robert Fripp
Last edited by FretlessMainly : 11-24-2012 at 11:25 PM.