Triads and triad based chords are fantastic jazz voicings! In this lesson, I am going to show you how you can get started with some triad voicings from what you already know and then go over 5 levels of how you can play some great sounding comping ideas using these voicings.
This is something I use all the time myself, and if you check out the Chord solos of Joe Pass he is also using this all the time.
Take The A-Train – Basic set of chords
Let’s start with taking the A-part on Take The A-train and play that with a set of chords that you already know:
If we play these without the root then you have these voicings:
Converting the Jazz voicings and doing great things
I am going to show you two important things about these voicings:
#1 There are more melody options. You can change the top note and give us some options:
#2 All the voicings are triads
Cmaj7 without C is E G B = Em
D7 without D is F# A C = F#dim
Dm7 without D is F A C = F major
G7(b9) without G is (in this voicing) F Ab B = F dim
A7(b9) without A is Gdim = G Bb C#
Top-Note Melodies and Some Jazz Rhythm
First, you should look at the chords and find another melody note for each one. (this is powerful because you can make start making riffs and making things sound a lot more interesting.
Using Inversions of the triads
Since all the voicings are triads then you can also use the inversions of these triads. If you use the inversions as well then you have some options similar to this:
Chromatic melodies & Inner-voice movement
Of course, it is possible to use movement in the other voices, not only the melody. In fact, that is what I am doing on the D7 above.
The example below takes that a bit further.
I am also using some chromatic movement in the melodies most clearly in the top note melodies on the D7 and G7 chords, and in the inner voice melody on the Cmaj7.
Altering the voicings for more modern jazz sounds
And beyond changing the top note you can also experiment with changing notes inside the chord and in that way create some new voicings.
In the example below on the D7, you will see one such voicing. The first voicing on G7 is a similar construction.
How to make music when comping
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