Lydian #9 on the Coltrane Cycle

I've been reconnecting with guitar lately and for the last few days I've gravitated towards a particular variation on the Coltrane Cycle idea that I'm enjoying. It starts with a mode of Harmonic Minor and varies it by sliding around in major thirds. Nothing groundbreaking here but it's what's in my head at the moment.

The starting-point is to imagine the underlying harmony as a major 7 chord and play Lydian #9, which is 1-#2-3-#4-5-6-7. You can find this as the Harmonic Minor scale built on the third of the chord if you like thinking that way. This is a pretty "vanilla" sound to start from.

Then the idea is to transpose it either up or down a major third. Going up gives us our first hypermode, b1-b2-b3-b4-5-b6-b7. Although it looks very different, this is similar in flavour to where we started, with the tension of the minor-vs-major thirds enhanced by the chromatic notes enclosing the root. The major seventh is still there (in the guise of the b1), but the b7 has also crept in and that injects just a little bit more blues into the sound. This one is a "hypermode" -- a scale without a root note. It sounds pretty but you might need to resolve it back to something less exotic.

Going down instead yields 1-2-b3-4-5-b6-7, the Harmonic Minor scale itself. The main flavour here, to my ears, is the b6. That's a very sweet note on a major seventh chord that I really associate with this overall sound-world.

Here's a quick take of me improvising with this idea on a static F Lydian modal harmony. I'm going to try to illustrate more of my posts like this as I'm aware that hearing the idea is very different from reading about it, and I also need to polish up my playing after such a long time away so it'll serve two purposes at once: