We want to be free when we improvise over difficult chord progressions. This Flexible Scale exercise is a great way to start working on having an overview of the fretboard and the scales you need for difficult chord progresssions like Giant Steps, Moments Notice and Very Early.
The exercise helps you learn to think ahead, know where you are in the bar and play towards target notes. The goal is that your melodic idea is stronger than the movement of the chord progression.
List of content:
0:00 Intro — The Exercise for difficult progressions
0:39 The Chord Progression for this lesson and where this works well
The 12 bar Blues is probably the most common song structure or chord progression in music! In this video I am going to analyze some of the common variations of the Jazz Blues and cover what you need to know to make have a strong chord progression adn chord substitution vocabulary for playing over a jazz blues.
I am going to talk about how the jazz blues can contain IVm progressions, #IV dim chords and also some other parallel II V options.
Hope you like it!
0:00 Intro – Jazz Blues – the most common progression in Western Music
The minor II V I can be a difficult chord progression to play on and have a varied vocabulary on. In this video I am going to go over how you can approach it in several different ways with Phrygian Chords, Melodic minor and Tritone Substitutions.
In the video I will demonstrate the different Minor II V I approaches and talk about how to use them both in terms of comping, voicing choices et and also soloing and arpeggios.
I also talk a bit about what will fit with the melody of a piece.
Reharmonizing and interpreting chord progressions like a 12 bar jazz blues is a very important part of improvising in jazz. In this video I will take a Bb Jazz Blues and go over a few fairly simple ways to get other sounds on the first 4 bars. It should open some new ideas and widen your knowledge of jazz harmony and jazz theory.
I discuss how I come up with the ideas and how I both improvise and comp with the “new” sound. Often making the chord progression more modal gives you a lot of interesting choices in terms of reharmonization and scale choices.
List of contents
0:32 Overview of what is covered in the video 0:44 Comping and Soloing with alternative changes and sounds
1:10 Standard Blues Changes solo for Reference 1:48 Making the Blues modal
2:12 Lydian b7 as a “different sound” 2:45 Lydian b7 Guitar Solo example 3:36 Structures used for Lydian b7 3:50 Triad Pairs: Bb + C 4:03 Ab Augmented and Bb 5:02 Gm and Ab Augmented 5:08 Bb7(b5) Arpeggio 5:21 FmMaj7 Arpeggio
5:41 Bb Phrygian Guitar Solo 6:32 Bb Phrygian as a Sound on a Bb Blues 6:43 Bmaj7(b5) chord as a Bb7sus4(b9) chord 7:09 Fm7b5 voicing 7:14 Db7 voicings 7:49 Coloring Blues Phrases with Phrygian chords 8:28 Using the Bmaj7(b5) arpeggio
8:43 Whole step dom7th Guitar Solo 9:31 The thinking behind the reharmonization 9:58 Playing Coltrane Changes on a Bb Blues 10:15 Explaining how the chords work 11:05 Comping Description 11:46 Soloing Description, target notes 12:20 Reharmonization in solos and interaction
12:54 Modal Altered Scale Guitar Solo 13:43 The Altered dom7th and extending it to 4 bars 14:26 Voicings (E7/Bb7alt) 14:53 Soloing: Important clear target notes 15:28 The Mysterious Triad 15:56 Dmaj7(#5) arpeggio
16:47 Taking these examples further. 17:12 Using the chord voicings to learn to solo 17:30 Thoughts on soloing with superimposed changes 17:48 Other Reharmonizations and modal sounds 18:10 How to come up with reharmonizations
A great way to write better chord progressions is to check out reharmonization techniques and chord substitution. You can build your jazz theory or jazz harmony vocabulary like your solo vocabulary.
In this video I am going to take a I VI II V and go over 30 different ways of playing this progression. Some of the very common ones and also a lot that are more advanced or modern. Hopefully you can use the chord progressions to get some new ideas and techniques for reharmonization or for your own compositions!
0:00 Writing better chord progressions 1:24 The basic turnaround and some variations 4:22 The I I7 IV V 5:34 The Radiohead turnaround 6:09#IVdim in the standard turnaround 7:12 The Ladybird Turnaround 8:43 Getting less functional and more substitutions 9:55 Reinterpreting other chords in the progression 11:04 The “Inner Urge” idea 11:49 Major 3rd tonalities 12:23#IV instead of the V 14:42 Same interval in the root movement 16:31 More Poppy sound without dom7th chords 16:45 Same melody note 17:42 IVm type chords instead of V 19:09 Upper-structure resolving passing chords 19:54 How to use the vamps and the exercises
Reharmonization is a great tool to add some interesting sounds or surprises to you Jazz Standards or Covers. This video will take the jazz standard Body and Soul, analyze the harmony of the A part and go over some of the more subtle but effective things you can do with reharmonizing the chords.
The video covers different reharmonization techniques and offers some options for an arrangement of this jazz ballad.
If you are writing a chord progression or making reharmonization then you want to check out what options you have available in jazz harmony. This video is going through 60 chords and talk about how they are related to C major key and show jazz chord progressions that contain them.
I am also referencing chord progressions of jazz standards very often.
The chords that we find in a chord progression in almost any genre will more often than not contain chords that are not diatonic to the scale of the key. So the amount of chords in a key is bigger than the diatonic chords found in the scale, but how big?
The I VI II V is one of the most common progessions in jazz. In this lesson I am going to go over 10 variations of it and discuss how some of the different substitutions work and how you put them together.
As I mention in my first lesson on turnarounds and the one on Rhythm changes a I VI II V is in fact an embellished version of a I V progression. It’s very good to keep this in mind, not only for high tempo solos but also just to understand what the basic structure and the point of the turnaround is.
All the examples in this lesson are made on a turnaround in C major.
The basic I VI II V is shown in example 1:
The first chord that we use a substitution for is the Am7. Since Am7 to Dm7 is a sort of dominant root movement we can change the Am7 into an A7. The A7 to Dm7 is then an auxiliary dominant resolving to a minor chord so the scale that works for that is D minor harmonic. The modal name for that type of dominant sound is A7(b9,b13).
A few variations on the VI chord
This is shown in example 2:
Since we need to move from C to Dm7 we can also choose to substitue the Am7 with a dim passing chord. In this case it will be a C#dim that will function the same as the A7 in example 2, and you should use the same scale to play over it or add extensions to it. The reason for using the C# dim is to get a nice chromatic stepwise bass line.
Changing the tonic chord
Now that we have a few options for the VI we can start using a substitute for the I chord. The most common version of this is to use the III chord instead of the I chord. For soloing there is very little difference between the two, but in a progression the III chord is not nearl as much of a resting point as the I chord. Furthermore it moves to the VI resolving a 5th down so it adds more forward motion in the bass as well.
You’ll notice that the III does not have a natural 9th in the chord. This is because that is a note that is not in the scale so it will sound a little out of place. In some situations it is ok to use it and in others it may clash with the melody or the soloist.
To make the pull back to the I chord at the end of the progression we can alter the V. There are two options for this, you can borrow the dominant from C harmonic minor which gives us a G7(b9,b13) or simply use the altered scale (Ab melodic minor).
The Em7 is pulling the progression forward where the I is making it rest, making the Em7 a dominant chord is away to make that pull stronger. A dominant is always more unstable sounding and especially since it is not in the key it will give us the feeling that we want to move forward.
You should notice that you need an E7alt or E7(b9,b13) to not clash with the melody that you’d expect on a turnaround in C.
In example 6 I am using the E7, and I also changed the Dm7 to a D7 to get a complete chain of dominants that is pulling to the tonic.
Since we can use an E7alt we can also use the tritone substitution of that chord. This gives us a bass note that is not even in the key which makes it even more unstable than the E7 and gives it much more forward direction. This is a personal favourite of mine, it isn’t used that often as a turnaround in an AABA form, but it does happen quite often in places where there is an extension at some point.
Now we have a few variations of dominant chains. First we can add a tritone substitution for the G7: Db7.
And if we don’t use the Bb7 but use the E7 and a tritone substitue for A7: Eb7. Then we get this chromatically descending line in example 9
Ladybird Turnaround and the gateway to Giant Steps
The final example is a little left by itself. You can look at this turnaround as a gateway to Giant Steps. In the lady bird turnaround usually you use the I chord, and the tritone subs for A7 and G7. The Dm7 is replaced with an Abmaj7, and the way this works is that we let the Eb7 resolve as a normal dominant to Abmaj7 instead of as a tritone resolving to Dm7. Abmaj7 is related to C major as a bVI borrowed from C minor. You’ll find that in some standards as well.
To shortly connect this to Giant steps you should notice that we are in C and that we modulate down to Ab. If you continue that cycle you get a Giant Steps progression in the key of C:
Cmaj7 Eb7 Abmaj7 B7 Emaj7 G7 Cmaj7
I don’t know if this is where Coltrane got the idea, but it is certainly a possibility.
That was 10 variations of the turnaround. As you can see you can easily make more different variation, but they will start to resemble each other a bit more.
I think it is important to be able to recognise that something is just a turnaround and to know the different versions so that you can easily sum up pieces that are mostly turnarounds and that you already reading the piece have a sense of how it works.
If you want to see some examples of lines on these turnarounds then leave a comment on YouTube or social media and let me know!
You can also check out my WebStore lesson on comping on How High The moon:
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you want to hear.