So.... what makes Clapton's solos sing, Hendrix's solo's burn, Charlie Parker's solo's sizzle? The key ingredient---- A lyrical, vocal quality to their playing. Do this: put on one of your favorite solos on any instrument and listen carefully a few times. Then, put on some Stevie Wonder or Pavoratti or Sarah Vaughan and listen again very carefully. Do you notice the lyrical/ vocal similarity of the flow of your favorite soloist and how it has a similar quality to the aforementioned vocalists? This is the the key and it separates the men/woman from the boys/girls as regards their soloing. Is there any thing you can do to help achieve this quality? Well, read on......
I came up with a drill of which I got the basic idea from master jazz educator Jamie Aeborsold. It goes like this:
Play one of your favorite chords on a guitar or keyboard and sustain it. Now, listen "in your head" and let a melodic phrase flow out( keep in relatively short to start, 1-2 bars max). Now, attempt to sing that phrase and work back and forth till you can sing it and remember it. Next step: find the notes on your instrument. Spend some time doing it to the point it is really right under your fingers. When its done, give your self a pat on the back, this step is done. Notice the free flowing lack of rigidness of this line you've created.
Repeat this drill many times and when you can do it rapidly and easily increase bit by bit the length of the line, add another chord, etc. Don't worry about scales, etc. just let the little bit of music flow out and trap it first in your voice and then in your fingers. Do this for a week every day and I'll guarantee improvement in your soloing.
Okay! I'm very interested in your feed back on this, let me know how it's going.