Several of my students are interested in getting started with jazz improvisation right now, so here’s a video of one of the best trumpet players of all time playing an easy jazz standard that’s great for beginning improvisors.
Freddie Hubbard is one of the giants of jazz trumpet. His career spans several decades and several different genres of jazz. Please look up his other recordings and videos!
“Canteloupe Island” was written by Herbie Hancock (the piano player in this video). The chord changes are simple:
4 measures of G minor, 4 measures of Eb7, 4 measures of E minor, 4 more measures of G minor, and then keep repeating that pattern.
This is a great tune for beginning improvisors to practice with a play-a-long recording or improvisation app!
Listening guide questions:
- What is improvisation, and how do you think the musicians know which notes sound good or bad while improvising?
- How does Freddie Hubbard build musical excitement and tell a story during his solo?