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what are some common chords progressions in jazz??

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by nunk6, Nov 24, 2000.

  1. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    i'd like to know if anyone knows any chord progressions ( ex-I, III, V; I, VI, IV('nbc')) that are used in jazz
  2. furtim


    Dec 12, 1999
    Boston, MA, USA
    I, IV, V is pretty common. Technically, it's a blues progression, but alot of jazz uses it as well.

    Mostly, though, every song has its own unique chord progression. Which is why we have fake books. =)

    [Edited by furtim on 11-24-2000 at 08:58 PM]
  3. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    alright thanks i've been looking everywhere but havent found much
  4. hepdood


    May 5, 2000
    The most common would have to be the afforementioned I,IV,V and the ascending II,VII. II, VII are really common in all forms of jazz. try it, in the key of c go e, b, d, c or something like that
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Can you pick up Mark Levine's JAZZ THEORY book? 'Cause he goes through a list of Classic Jazz tunes & tells you what song the changes are "borrowed" from.
    Example: A whole lotta Classic Jazz tunes are merely the "changes" to "Rhythm Changes". More are derived from the changes to "Indiana". On & on...
    Levine also mentions how Jazz musicians will re-invent the changes with chord extensions, substitutions, what-not.
    He talks about some common, tried & true TURNAROUNDS...& how they may be altered(tri-tone substitution).
    Example: The common I-vi-ii-V7 turnaround...
    In Gmaj=/Gmaj-Em7-/Am7-D7-/ becomes
    In Gmaj=/Gmaj-Bb7-/Eb7-Ab7-/.

    You oughta know the 12-bar Blues & the variations.
    There's one form called "Bird Blues"...know it?
    There's also a "minor Blues" form.
    Some of the guys I've jammed with will only say, "...let's play a minor Blues with a Samba feel".
    I recall a time when tt used to be, "...let's jam on "Wild Thing". :D
    Anyway, check out http://www.jajazz.com There's a Blues volume(very cheap)with some of the variations I've mentioned.
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Another very common jazz progression is:

    ii V7 I

    What you can do is get a hold of Chuck Sher's real books, which are always good to have if you're playing jazz, and study the progressions. Also, get a hold of a good theory book, that will give you the theory behind why some chord changes work and others don't.
  7. I've also heard I,VI,II,V as a common jazz progression. Like you, I'm also in search of how jazz songs are put together and how songs are put together in general. Good luck!
  8. But you can't learn nuances until you know II-V7-I when you hear it. The best thing to do is combine generalizations such as this with actual group playing, listening exercises etc. That'll get you where Ed is talking about, but I have never heard anyone advice against knowing common patterns. Moreover you can't break the rules (or even see their idiosyncracies) until you know what they are. Even Picasso would agree with that.

    --> Slerm Gulnig
  9. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    thanks i'm just starting to learn jazz, well starting to want to and i was trying to get into from a music theory point of view so i can understand it better but i just realized thats the completely wrong way to go into it
  10. Excellent! So you do like context after all! Hehe, just razzin ya, you've got a great point. To 'know' something is 'common' is the equivalent to putting a name to something you can already hear. To learn, however, how one chord relates to another (and especially to the harmonic of the piece), parcularily in context, is much more powerful. I mean I can say "II V I" all I want, but playing Yardbird Suite renders that little set of Roman numerals almost idiotic in comprison to what's going on harmonically.

    However, what I was getting at before was also that there are these little conventions or recurring patterns of chords that most of the great jazz players actually FLIRT with and usually twist all around. It goes back to ideas of meaning - think about the most essential nature of jazz which was to appropriate the meaning of a popular tune, to twist it around into something utterly different (and more complex) - to "signify" upon it, but while RETAINING that orignial characteristic (the song was still identifiable). So by extension, when Bird moves/twists that II V I all around, he's playing on an idea of what is "common" and what jazz "should" be. At least in my humble opinion, that's what I learned while playing it, and I think its compatible with what Ed's saying.
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts

    The two most common chord progressions in jazz are the blues and rhythm changes. After that, as others have said, it's learning tunes, one after another.
  12. nunk6


    Jul 29, 2000
    thanks for your thoughts;i've learned how to arregiate all most all chords as for positions i'm not sure as to what they are or how useful they can be, when listening to jazz i dont know where to start i'm interested in this style but havent a clue how to play it;
    any ideas where to start maybe- even a definition of this art would be helpful thanks again
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Start with the blues, since the chord progression is straight forward.

    In mainstream jazz, bass lines connect chord tones with appropriate chromatic, scalar and arpeggiated runs. There are a few good books on how to do this, I'd recommend Ed Friedland's "Building Walking Bass Lines" published by Hal Leonard.

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