Watch the Altered Stormy 4 online guitar lesson by Chris Buono from Juiced Blues
** Take Note: Just like the Altered Stormy solo, the Comping Performance contains all the juice we've been swimming in throughout Juiced Blues. Following suit, what you have above the Comping Variations section is a Comping Vision section similar to the Solo Vision section seen in the Solo Breakdown charts. This is necessary since many of the voicings played in both the previous Performance and the subsequent Variations jam are 'fragmented' (something all together different than the aforementioned 'abbreviated' voicings and will be discussed more in depth below). Because of their fragmented nature the charts would have been riddled with slash chord nomenclature making it a mess. Instead, these accompanying Power Tab and PDF charts will display the full voicings so you know the origin. They will appear in the same general rhythmic locations as played in the Comping Performance so you can compare. In addition, anywhere a full inversion vision is applicable it will be displayed as well as such. For example, the Ebdim7 riffs in bar 6 have an underlying vision as well as the onslaught of Dorian-based 4ths played over the Dm7 in bar 10. Once again just like the previous charts, the ideas will be set to the key signature of the chord that applies. Meaning, if there's a superimposition, then the key signature will be set to the primary harmony so you can see the alterations more clearly.
Starting things off is a series of 'fragments'--let's make sure you're clear on what that terms means as opposed to 'abbreviated'. The very first chord played in both the Comping Performance and here in the variations is the upper part of an A13. Though it could very well be named A13/G or even more precisely--A7(13)/G--it's also appropriate to identify it as just simply as a fragment of the larger A13 voicing that's commonly played in the 5th position. The key difference between this idea and 'abbreviated' chords is fragments are 2-, 3-, and 4-note chunks of extended harmony whose proper chord formulae have more than four notes as opposed to simple tetrads that may be abbreviated by omitting the disposable P5 or root. In both instances--fragmented or abbreviated--as you progress in your development and hang and play with more experienced [re: juiced] players you'll feel more comfortable in taking these liberties. Another factoid about this A13 fragment in particular is the fact it contains a seemingly non-blues sounding interval--the major 7th. It's sitting right there between the bottom and top notes, which are G and F# respectively. Now of course in most instances, even in this juiced environment, it'd be tough to sneak in a bonified maj7th chord. But, the interval on the other hand plays an important role in juicing many of the outside and inside harmonies our ears love to hear such as this 13th voicing and the venerable 7#9 as was discussed in Blues for Symmy. Keep an eye out for it. You may be surprised at how instances this unsung interval is lurking beneath the chord tone shadows.
Watch out for new voicings especially the non-dropped categorized dom9 voicing used for the I and IV chords at varying points such as bar 2 (D9) and bar 12 (A9) of the first chorus and bar 2 (D9) of the second chorus. This is a great way to toggle between dom9 and dom7b9 chords as seen in bar 2 of the second chorus where on the downbeat of beat 3 the D9 (in fragment form by the way) flows into a D7b9 on the next 1/8th note. Another voicing to note is what was employed in bar 7 of the second chorus at beat 3 for Bm7. It's a cool sounding 3rd-less grip that has the b7th and root a whole step apart making for a juicy cluster that's complemented by the P5 interval at the top between B and F#. Yet another cool min7 is the brilliant sounding voicing of stacked 4ths (and a top positioned 5th) heard in bar 9 (Bm7add4) during both choruses.
Be sure in both the Performance and variations played here in the Breakdown you keep a sharp eye out for the half step voice leading (and voice leading in general) between all the changes. That's the stuff that really takes your comping to the next level by helping make these altered sounding harmonies fit nicely into whatever it is you're throwing out to the soloist. Voice leading also comes into play within the very cool voicings dropped at bars 7 and 8 in both choruses and also the super-smooth use of diadic 4ths in bars 9 and 10.
About that aforementioned soloist--you know the momentary center of attention. Remember, when comping behind someone's solo what that term is short for: acCOMPaniment. While it's very cool to show off your newly juiced comping, just make sure it's kept at bay so the soloist can actually take a solo and not have to forcibly drop out for your chord solo!
Another overall concept to be aware of is playing pieces of the chords to get not only more mileage, but to not have your comping be comprised of always chucking on the same exact harmonic device. There's no doubt rhythm is king and plenty of solid accompaniment can come out of one chord, but it's always nice to hear movement within the harmony, even minute ones. If you're not up on your inversions just yet, no sweat--just watch how I milk a singular chord in a fixed position without changing the grip. Speaking of inversions, there's plenty of that going on in the #ivdim7 instances in bar 6 of both performances.