We caught up with Chris Payton in Chicago while he was on tour with Robin Thicke this winter. He was kind enough to give us three quick licks in the dressing room before showtime.
Lick 1: Plagel with everything
This is what the theoretical folks would call a plagal cadence — or, sometimes, the “amen cadence.” The progression jumps back and forth from the I chord to the IV chord and is at the heart of Western church music.
The way Chris plays this is just awesome. The voice leading and slides connect each chord in a way that almost doesn’t sound like a guitar.
Lick 2: One man band
This groove is just fun. Pay attention to the right-hand strum pattern, especially on the dead notes. That rhythm propels the whole thing. This reminds us slightly of a groove from an original tune by the great Jubu Smith.
Lick 3: Slash chords with contrary motion
Check this out: The chords in this cadence do not have the root note in the bass. If you follow the bass notes, do you see a pattern?
The bass line descends in whole steps: A-G-F-Eb. While that’s happening, the triads ascend in pairs of whole steps: C-D, Eb-F. It’s a bit of “pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time.”
Thanks to Chris for having us at the show! Be on the lookout for a new Soundslice course from him.