Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 note 7th chords part 2

This lesson will continue with the two other sorts of voicings you can find by playing 7th chords and leaving out one note. The first two voicings are covered here: http://bit.ly/3note7thchordP1

I wil first shortly demonstrate the 2 types of voicings in the context of a major scale. Then I’ll apply it to some II V I cadences and as a last example a small excerpt of a chord melody arrangement of Stella By Starlight.

The Voicings

As I did in the first set of voicings the construction is quite simple. I play 3 of the 4 notes in an inversion of a 7th chord, so if the first chord of example 1 is a Cmaj7 in 1st inversion I leave out the 3rd and then play the 3,7th and root.

In example 1 this voicing is moved through the scale as an exercise.
Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 1

In the first chord of example 2 I am leaving out the 3rd of a G7 in 3rd inversion which leaves F G

and D as a chord. Example 2 is that structure moved through the C major scale.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 2

As I mentioned in the first lesson these voicings are very open to interpretation and can be fitted in as a wide variety of chords in different contexts. For that reason I still chose not to label them with chord names in example 1 and 2.

II V I Cadences

The first place you might try to put the chord voicings to use is on a simple basic progression like a II V I. In the first example I tried to keep it simple and use 3 fairly basic voicings for each chord. The first chord is a Dm(9)with no 7, followed by a G7alt that is in fact (to me) derived from an Abm(9) voicing. On the Cmaj7 I am playing an Esus4 triad which on top of a C gives you a Cmaj7(13) sound. I really like how this G7 alt resolves to this Cmaj7.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 3

In the 2nd cadence I use two of the voicings in from the first lesson: Both the Dm7(9) and the last of  the G7alt are examples of that. The first G7alt is a voicing taken from example 2, and so is the Cmaj7 I resolve to. In the 2nd example I am also trying to show how I really like the sound of a sustained chord and a moving melody. These voicings are as much about the sound of the chord and the timbre of these notes together as they are about communicating the function of a chord, and therefore that is to me a very important part of playing with them.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 4

The voicing I use for the G7alt in the previous example is put to use as a Dm7 voicng in the next cadence, in that context it is a Dm7(omit 3rd) if that makes any sense. The G7alt voicing is ia voicing of B, Db and Eb together. Again an example of how the context allows you to hear that as a G7altered chord. THe voicing is not strictly found in any of the examples here, but is coming from playing the same voicing as the Dm7 up a half step and moving the top note up another half step. Probably one of the reasons that I use a lot of 3 note voicings is that I then fairly easily can do alterations like this while playing. The G7alt is resolved to a Cmaj(9) voicing that is taken from the first lesson.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 5

A Chord melody example

To show another important aspect of how you might use these voicings I included a fragement of a harmonized melody where I use some of these sounds. I chose Stella because I find that the melodylends it self to this sort of sound very well.

Jazz Chord Essentials - 3 note 7th chords part 2 - ex 6

You’ll notice that the first 4 bars are infact using the same chord movement to play first a minor II V and then a major II V. The idea being to move an inner voice from the 7th of the II chord to the 7th of the dominant chord. On the first II V that is from D to G, on the second it’s from Bb to Eb.

As I mentioned before sustained chords and small melodies within the voicings is to me the point of using this type of chords.

The voicing I use for the Fm7 is a voicing derived from one of the examples. The top note was first an F and then I substitute the G to be able to play the melody. It’s a bit tricky to play but sounds beautiful! Another nice thing is that the Fm7 moves very nicely to the Bb7(13b9) voicing. The Eb Major7 chord is in fact the 4th chord in example 2 of this lesson but played on another set of strings in the key of Eb. The Ab7 is a basic Shell voicing that I chose to use because it somehow adds a bit of harmonic clarity and the Eb voicing can move there in a nice way.

I hope you can use the stuff I covered here and that you have an idea about how I approach playing with voicings like this.

As always you can download a PDF of the examples here:

Jazz Chord Essentials – 3 note 7th chords part 2

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