Watch the The Coltrane Tonic online guitar lesson by Sheryl Bailey from 50 Essential Bebop Licks You MUST Know
Besides being a master of the tenor saxaphone, John Coltrane added many new harmonic concepts to the world of jazz improvisation. One of the most important is his exploration of the "3 tonic system" which comes out of his study of the augmented scale through studying "Slomininsky's Thesaurus of Scales." This lick has many harmonic applications, but here we'll use it over a Bbmaj chord. The passing triads create a lot of tension against the chord, but because they are in motion and eventually resolve, it moves the sounds forward. The 3 tonics are: Bb, D and Gb.