Listening carefully to Max and Sonny’s use of triplets on this classic track gives us some great approaches to creative rhythm.
Exploring the ways Sonny Rollins uses the Lydian dominant scale, a triplet feel, wide interval leaps, and rhythmic displacement over Blue 7 from Saxophone Colossus.
Understanding the architecture behind what Bird plays here (not just learning the lick) will help you create similar things in your own way.
What should (or shouldn’t) you be thinking about when improvising?
Using middle D to address tone quality (and avoid “high school” tone).
Get creative and focused in a short amount of practice time.
Practicing for chord tones, common tones, intervals, relevant, scales, and motivic ideas.
Zoom in (and out) on a sliver of a song to address important technical limitations.
Practicing this way—even for a chorus—always leads me to something I can use to shed technical details.
It’s much more than just how many notes occur between two beats. Incorporate this each time you practice and you will see massive improvements to your timing accuracy, time feel, and rhythmic ideas when improvising.