Minor II V I – Getting The Most Out Of The Basics

The Minor II V I is a very common progression in Jazz. But it is also a bit more complicated than the major counterpart. This is mainly because of the IIø chord and also because you need to change scales moving through the chords.

This video is going over 5 Minor II V I licks demonstrating some of the scales, arpeggios and melodic ideas you can use when improvising over a minor II V I. This can really help you expand your vocabulary on this chord progression, and there is a lot of great ideas in there that you need to know.

#1 A few basic scales and tricks

First, we should cover some basic material. The Dø is coming out of a C natural minor or Eb major scale. Here I am just playing the arpeggio in a pattern and adding a chromatic run to take me to the G7.

The G7 is the dominant of Cm, so I am using C harmonic minor over this chord., but I also add a Bb to the melody.

The G7 melody is build around one arpeggio: Fm7b5.

Fm7b5 related to a G root gives us a chord with a b9 and a b13. If you play the Fø chord with a G bass note you will probably also recognize that as a G7 voicing.

#2 Beyond the basic arpeggios of the chord

It is useful to have a few arpeggio choices for any chord you want to improvise over.

In this example I am using Abmaj7 over the Dø which is a great choice for this chord.

On the G7 I am using the arpeggio from the 3rd of the chord: Bdim.

#3 Coltrane Patterns

Another useful resource is to use Coltrane Patterns.

In this example I am using first an Fm Coltrane Pattern on the Dø.

The G7 is combining the Bdim which I also used in the previous example with the augmented triad. In C harmonic minor the augmented triad is found on Eb, but that is, of course, enharmonic with a B augmented which makes a little more sense on a G7.

#4 Maj7th and DimMaj7th Ideas

This example is using two different Maj7th ideas.

First the Abmaj7 on the Dø, here combined with an Fm Coltrane pattern.

On the G7 the melody is build around an Abdim(maj7) arpeggi.o

#5 Maj7(b5) and m7(b5)

The b5 connection. A great voicing for a Dø(11) is in fact an Abmaj7(b5). This is also the arpeggio I am using in this example on the Dø.

On the G7 the first part is a basic G majro triad which (of course) also works great. From there it is again the Fø arpeggio that is now played descending and resolves to the 3rd of Cm6.

More Minor II V I options

A great song to really work on some Minor II V I ideas is Blue Bossa.

And of course also my first Blue Bossa Solo Lesson

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