Common Jazz progressions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by yawnsie, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    Recently, I've been reading Wheat's bassbook an awful lot, and I think that it's finally sunk in, so I want to practise my new-found knowledge. I know that there's a track builder feature over on Activebass, which I intend to woodshed with. What are some common/well-known chord progressions that would be good for a beginner to walk (and, if I get REALLY cocky) and solo over?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Use the Search function!!! ;)

    Oh alright then - apart from the Blues, the most comon chord progression in Jazz is "Rhythm Changes" - i.e. the chords to Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm".

    These are usually slightly modified by the bandleader - so how about Sonny Rollins "Oleo" as a good example :

    Bb6 Gmi7/Cmi7 F7/Bb6 G7/Cmi7 F7/Bb6 Bb7/Eb6 Ebmi6/Dmi7 Gmi7 - then 1. Cmi7 F7 2. Cm7 F7 Bb6

    D7 / G7 / C7 /F7 (each for 2 bars)

    Then repeat the [A] section with ending #2.
  3. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    nO, u ShUd GiMmEe SuM jAzZ tAbZz!! :mad:

    Actually, thanks for the advice both of you. Thank God I just got my printer fixed - I won't have to drag my computer out to the woodshed now. ;)
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Everybody's advice so far has been good. Here's some more:

    ii-V7-I progression (Major); 12 keys

    ii-7b5-V7alt-i progression (minor); 12 keys

    I-vi-ii-V turnaround and variations; 12 keys

    Dominant cycle of 5ths; 12 keys

    These would be a good start toward getting some of the small scale stuff together and a good supplement to the above. Of course, as FUQHORN says, you want to be able to see and hear the big picture...on the other hand, it's often good to know what some of the more common puzzle pieces are which combine to produce a good portion of many of the more common pictures. In general, each tune is unique as a whole, but (like human beings) most are made of the same BASIC genetic material. Good luck, and watch for spiders in the shed.
  5. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    May I add to the list:

    iii - vi - ii - V - I
    and variations
    iii7b5 - VI7 - ii7 - V7
    III7 - VI7 - II7 - V7 (mostly a Dixieland sound)

    It's that whole cycle of 5ths thing. Bop is LOADED with it, and so is bossa. In fact, usually any time a chord lasts longer than you like, you can put in the 5th below it (minor 7 usually works best) for half the duration, and then the written chord for the 2nd half. More cycle of 5ths.

    Here's a blues variation commonly referred to as "Bird blues" because Charlie Parker played it a lot:

    ||: F | Em7b5 A7 | Dm | Cm7 F7 |
    | Bb7 |Bbm7 Eb9 |Am7 D9 | Abm7 Db7 |
    | Gm7 | C7 | Am7 Dm7 |Gm7 C7 :||

    This is deep bop, and you can see all of the cycle of 5ths things in there.
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago