5 Soloing Tools on the Blues - JJ Johnson Jazz Trombone Transcription PDF

5 Soloing Tools on the Blues - JJ Johnson Jazz Trombone Transcription PDF

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Download the PDF of JJ Johnson's Solo on "Hey Pete" here!

5 tools that JJ Johnson uses to create simple but amazing blues solos…

…And how you can apply them so you can set yourself apart!


1 - Notice how EVERY note has a clear articulation. This makes the rhythm’s that he plays easily understandable to the listener (and the band!) - that rhythm then DRIVES his solo! 

2 - He doesn’t get crazy with chromatics, he uses some of the most effective dominant chord colors (sharp 9 to flat 9) - super effectively! 🤓

3 - Using short, long and medium length notes! Variety in note lengths makes a simple solo feel more dynamic! 🕺

4 - He doesn’t just play crazy lines, he combines LANGUAGE & MELODY! It makes great music…

5 - The most underrated part of the solo is the ending, but JJ always ended his solos clearly, leaving you as the listener, wanting more!! 😍

So what does that mean for you? 

Focus on these simple tools to take your solo to the next level:

  • Practice articulation exercises daily so you can play with clear rhythmic intensity
  • Focus on the dominant to tonic resolutions in the harmony (V to I) and apply simple colors, like the #9 to b9 JJ uses
  • Force yourself to vary the articulations you use while soloing
  • Remember to play MELODY not just crazy lines!
  • Always know when the end of you solo is coming up, and get us to the end smoothly… 🛬

If you hadn’t heard: January 22nd, 2024 would have been JJ’s 100th Birthday!  🎉🎉🎉

Thank you Mr. Johnson, for the inspiration, and showing us the true potential of the trombone in jazz!!

I’m celebrating all year with my project: LEGACY a Centennial Celebration of JJ Johnson 

I hope you’ll join me in spreading the love for our trombone hero! 😍