Jim Hall’s “Bemsha Swing” Solo

by | Jazz Improvisation, Jim Hall

In this video lesson I teach a great solo by one of my all time favorite guitarists…Jim Hall! It’s off a 16 bar blues by Thelonious Monk entitled, Bemsha Swing.

After playing the solo at tempo, I then teach it to you slowly, and explain what is going on measure by measure. In case you’re not yet aware of it, this analysis should demonstrate why Jim Hall is considered by many, the “Father of Modern Jazz”.

This solo contains the essence of post-bop jazz guitar and the melodic concepts therein can be found in the playing of many present day greats who claim they have been influenced by Hall. Among them, John Scofield, Bill Frissel, Pat Metheny, the late John Abercrombie, and dozens more!

After a detailed analysis of the solo, I show you the benefits of studying it, even if you can’t play it at tempo. In doing so, I show you how I extract various concepts Hall uses here, and I demonstrate how I employ them not necessarily “note per note”, but instead “conceptually” in my own improvisation of Bemsha Swing.


The Bemsha Swing Files can be downloaded for $6.00 (buy me a cup of coffee and a snack?). Your contribution is much appreciated, as it helps support the site and allows me to keep investing the long hours required to produce these lessons. The download includes: a PDF of the transcription with both regular notation and TAB, a PDF of the leadsheet, MP3s of the transcribed solo and the backing track, a Band In A Box file featuring the solo and rhythm section, and a MIDI file of the solo.

For those that don’t use PayPal…when you click the button below, it will give you the option to pay with any major credit card without the need to sign up for PayPal. Note that you must be logged in for the payment and download links to be visible!

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  1. raphael pelissier

    Hi Richie,

    Can’t find the download button on your Bemsha Swing web page, even when logged in. How can I get the tab of Jim Hall’s solo transcription?


    • Richie Zellon

      For every lesson post, the download is right below the PayPal icons. “The Bemsha Swing” download is also there.

  2. Robert Gannon

    Hey Richie, I mistakenly closed the download window. I hadn’t got all the files for Bemsha Swing. How can I get the rest?

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