Watch the Lady Be Good online guitar lesson by TrueFire from Play Jazz Guitar 4: Rhythm Approaches
Lady Be Good - Building the Arrangement is a video guitar lesson presented by Frank Vignola and is sourced from 1-2-3 Jazz Chord Melody.
Please see "Moveable Chord Forms" video for master chord forms guide.
Now let's create a chord melody arrangement with a classic Gershwin song called Lady Be Good. The first prevailing chord is going to be Gmaj, so we'll go to the Gmaj section of the chord vocabulary and look for D as a starting melody note. now you'll notice there are two of them, so we have to look at the following notes to see if they're ascending or descending, and we notice that we need that Gmaj chord with the higher D note because they're descending. The next note is C descending with a Gmaj chord, so under Gmaj in your chord guide you'll see the sus. The next note is a B note, which is the 3rd, so we look under Gmaj in the chord vocabulary and we find this... So the first measure sounds like this. The second measure, the prevailing chord is the C7, so we'll go to the Cdom7 section of the chord vocabulary and look for the C7 with the D melody note, which is C9, which gets hit twice. You can either hear the chord twice or the chord the first time and then a single note. Creative options, so the first two measures sound like this. The third measure, we go back to Gmaj in the chord vocabulary, and look for a chord with a D note on top. The next note is a B note in Gmaj. The next note is a G note descending from B again with a Gmaj note, so we look under Gmaj in the chord vocabulary and we get this. Then the following note is the lower D note, descending from the G note, so we look at the chord vocabulary in Gmaj and we get the Gmaj chord with the D note. So that measure sounds like this. Then next note is a high D, an octave ascending from the previous note. Again, that's a Gmaj. So let's take those first 4 measures...Then the following measure, the prevailing chord is a Ddom7 with a high D note melody, so reference your D7 section of the chord vocabulary with the D note on top and we get this. The next note is C with the D7 as the prevailing chord. The next note is A with the prevailing chord of D7. Then the low D descending from the previous notes, so it's the low D with the D7 chord. The following note is ascending to a B with a D7, so if you reference the chord vocabulary you find this. Then back to Gmaj with the G note on top. So let's go over those first 8 measures.
Now the following 8 measures are exactly the same as the first 8 measures. Again Gmaj, the prevailing chord, with the high D on top, then the C note with the G giving you the sus, then a B note on top with a Gmaj, then the C7 again with the high D on top. Then back to Gmaj with the high D on top, with the B on top, with the G on top, and descending to the low D. Then up an octave to the next D, then back to D7 with the D on top, then the C on top, then the D7 with the A on top, then descending to the D7 with the D on top. Then the B note on top with the D7 giving you the D13, then back to Gmaj with the G note on top. Let's just run through the first 16 bars. Now the second half of the song we go up to a high E note, ascending from the previous G note. The prevailing chord is a Cmaj, so we look under our chord vocabulary under Cmaj and find the C chord with the high E. The next chord is a D7, continuing with the high E in the melody note. So we're going to look under the D7 section and find the D7 with the high E on top, and that's three times on that same note. So you can either hit the chord 3 times or hit the chord once and then single notes. The next chord is a Gmaj with that same E note as the melody. So reference the Gmaj section, find the one with the high E as the melody. Then D is the melody with G still being the prevailing chord. So from the beginning of the bridge you have a C with the E, then a D7 with the E note, then a G chord with the E note, then down to the D note in the melody with the Gmaj. Then it moves on to Emin as the prevailing chord, so if you reference the Emin section of the chord vocabulary, and look at the melody note, which is a B, you have two different choices. Three times on that, or chord once and two single notes. Now we go to the A7 with the B note on top, that same melody note, which we hit 4 times or just once and a single note the rest of the times. Then we hit a D7 as the prevailing with a B note as the melody, so you'll reference the D7 section in the chord vocabulary. The next note is an A with the D7 as the prevailing chord. Let's go over the bridge now. Now the next measure is a D7 with a B, C, and a C#. So I'm going to choose to use those as single notes because the C# is not in the scale and these are pickup notes for the last 8 measures. Back to the Gmaj on the D high note, the C, B with the Gmaj, then to the C7 with the D in the melody, back to Gmaj with that same D in the melody, B in the melody on the G, G on the melody with the G, and then the D on the melody with the G. High E with the G chord, D7 with the D note on the melody, then a C note with the D7, descend to the A note on the D7, descend to the low D on the D7, and then ascend to the B note on the D7, and the last chord is a Gmaj with the G note.
So now let's take it from the beginning until the end, concentrating on cleanliness and smooth transitions, slow and gracefully.