Along Came Betty, Stablemates & Beatrice

Today is my first sub for Mark Sherman (he’s on tour in Europe), has been a pleasure to work and play with these advanced musicians! We played a bunch of very difficult tunes such as Stablemates and Along Came Betty by the great Benny Golson and talked a lot about interplay and improvisation. We also spent some time on Beatrice, a beautiful ballad by Sam Rivers. I talked a bit on how to play pentatonic scales on those changes but I couldn’t go too far in class so I wanna post it here.
These are the changes on Beatrice:
|| Fmaj7 | GbMaj7 | Fmaj7 | Ebmaj7 |
| Dm7 | Ebmaj | Dm7 Cm7 | Bbm7 |
| Am7 | Bbmaj7 | Em7b5 A7 | Dm7 |
| Gm7 | Gbmaj7 | Fm7 | Gbmaj7 ||
There are several spots where the melody itself it’s actually built over pentatonic scales, that suggest (even tough you can use it whenever) that pentatonic scales are a color that well fit this particular composition. If you think of this major cord as Lydian, then you can play a minor pentatonic built half step down the root of the cord, and just move it around the changes. The last 3 bars of the tune you can keep playing an Fm7 pentatonic and just let the chords change the background, providing a really nice contrast! Here is a whole chorus where I notated which pentatonic scale I would use on each bar, of course the basic chord of the tune . Of course you can try other pentatonic scales, more inside the chord tones of the changes or even completely outside of them.
|| Em7 | Fm7 | Em7 | Dm7 |
| Dm7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | Cm7 |
| Am7 | Am7 | Dm7 | Dm7 |
| Gm7 | Fm7 | Fm7 | Fm7 ||
Have fun and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions!
Best, Andrea