Ten Jazz Clarinet Licks
Every jazz clarinetist needs to know some licks to throw into their improvisation. I've compiled a list of my ten favorite jazz clarinet licks below. Some of these licks are from Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and Eddie Daniels. Others are just great riffs to practice in every key. I've put them all in the key of C or F for demonstration purposes. There is a downloadable PDF of all ten at the bottom of this page.
This first lick is just based on the major arpeggio. If you work this pattern in all keys, you will quickly become an excellent Dixieland/Swing clarinetist. You can here this lick in the last couple of measures of Benny Goodman's recording "Let's Dance." I believe it's in the Key of F on the recording. * Corrected actually in concert Ab. Correction contributed by Art Marshall
This is a blues Riff from Benny Goodman's Bugle Call Rag. It lays well on the clarinet and is super fun to play.
Awesome Lydian lick based on two alternating major arpeggios that are 1 whole step apart.
This is one of the best ii-V-I licks for any instruments. Practice in all keys and registers.
This is a "showy" lick based on the major arpeggio with a flick down one half step on each note.
This is a catchy V-I lick from the Eddie Daniels/Bucky Pizzarelli "Shine" recording. Buy that song and listen to it. It's amazing.
This opening lick to Artie Shaw's "Concerto for Clarinet" is just a great clarinet statement.
Opening line from Benny Goodman's Bugle Call Rag. I find myself playing this all the time.
Eddie Daniels recording of "My Little Suede Shoes" inspired me so much, that I have to list his opening clarinet solo. It just jives!