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Jazz progressions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matty, Aug 31, 2000.

  1. Matty


    Mar 17, 2000
    Hey all,

    I have a question for all you Jazz players out there. I have been working on my Jazz skills. I play blues alot but just really started on Jazz. What I am looking for is common (or uncommon) Jazz chord progressions. What do all of you play, or how do you decide what progressions to play when you get together with your bands. I do read music but I am unfamiliar with common progressions. I have tried just listening and emulating some of my favorite jazz tunes, but I find it hard to really determine the progressions. What I would like to do eventually is get some progressions under my belt so I can start putting together some of the ideas in my head into tunes, but I need some more structure practice. Any help you could give would be great.

  2. Right said,ED.. But I think it is a little early for Matty
    to try chord substitutions if he doesn't know the chords yet.The Aebersold ll-V7-l disk is a good start to get the progressions in your ears.
  3. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Another great aide is "Mark Levine's Jazz Theory" book.

    It's a $40 book, but well worth it. Mark Levine also wrote a Jazz Piano book which is very helpful as well. The Jazz Theory book provides excellent examples of typical jazz progressions like II-V-I and the like. It's also not a bad book to help develop sight reading and chord recognition. It covers harmony, a plethora of scales, modes, and a lot more.
  4. descartes


    Sep 23, 2000
    the best book i found to get all the chord&scale stuff together is Cuck Sher's "The Improvisor's Bass Method"; his exercises make you improvise from the beginning on and after you have got the main theory on the fretboard he takes up progressions, rythm, solos and general skill development

    the book contains also a lot of transcriptions (mainly walking lines - but also solos)
  5. Matty-
    You've been given some good sugestions here. I'd like to second Ed's idea of getting some "play alongs". A really good one is Jamey Aebersold's Vol. 54 "Maiden Voyage". It has some fairly easy standards that'll give you a feel for several different jazz vehicle types. In that book you've got standards- Satin Doll and Autumn Leaves, blues- Summertime, bossa nova- Song for My Father, modal jazz- Impressions, all of which have relatively easy progressions so you can get the feel and learn what these common jazz idioms sound like.

    Check it out:
    Jamey Aebersolds Home Page
  6. Matty


    Mar 17, 2000
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am currently taking lessons, and your suggestions/materials have been very useful to me. Now that I have had some lessons regarding music theory, this all makes so much more sense to me.

    Thanks again for your help

  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    The place to start is with the blues (which you know something about already) and "rhythm changes". These make up probably about 70% of the mainstream jazz repertoire. The rest are standards, where you have to learn 'em one at a time, each has it's own unique progression.

    Somebody already mentioned Mark Levine's book "The Jazz Theory Book" and it explains both jazz blues and rhythm changes pretty well from a harmony standpoint.


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