Watch the Embellished Melody online guitar lesson by John Stowell from Modern Chord Melody
Like several other tunes of mine in this course, "Jasper.." was conceived as a piece to be played in a group setting. I envisioned the song as an energetic, rather boisterous waltz. The melody as originally written had a lot of space in it to enable the bass and drums to play an active, conversational role. When performing this tune alone, I felt that there was too much space; the embellished melody has some additional rhythmic activity such as some pedalling on the low open E string, some pull-offs and glissandos and repetition of a few of the phrases. As the embellished melody began to evolve, I found that I liked using this version playing with a rhythm section as well.
As jazz musicians (or creative musicians playing any style of improvised music), I think we can and should take some creative license when playing a melody (our own or someone else's). I enjoy playing the same tunes for years to observe my evolution performing them. The direction I take isn't always predictable, and I like not knowing precisely where I'll be creatively with a piece of music after I've lived with it for a while. Style evolves organically over time as a result of playing, interacting with peers, studying and listening.