Do you want to have more freedom with your ii V I chord progressions?
You can simplify your thought process with a simple minor substitution for your V chord. That way you won’t be thinking about a different chord for your ii and V chords.
You’re only going to need to think of one sound: the minor sound.
This substitution will make your Major ii V I’s sound more jazzy. You’re also going to have freedom to focus less on what notes you’re playing and more on your phrasing.
Here’s an easy way to hit the bluesy notes for your ii V I’s
Here’s a common teaching when learning to play over a 2-5-1 chord progression:
- play the arpeggio of the ii chord, then the arpeggio of the V chord, then the arpeggio of the I chord.
But, playing these arpeggios alone doesn’t sound Jazzy.
This is because the bluesy notes and the tension required to create a more jazzy sound is not there.
You can use a simple minor substitution over the V chord of a Major ii V I chord progression. This substitution will hit the right tensions and start sounding more jazzy on the bass.
To keep things simple, let’s look at a C Major 2-5-1 chord progression: D minor 7, G7, C Major 7.
Try this out the next time to take a bass solo:
- For the ii chord, play a phrase from the D Dorian Scale. The cool thing with the Dorian Scale is that you can start and stop on any note and still sound good.
- For the V chord, play the same phrase up a minor third from your first phrase. So for the G7 chord, play F Dorian. F Dorian is a minor 3rd up from D Dorian.
Here’s why this sounds good.
The notes of F Dorian are: F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, E, G
The Ab note is a b9 of the G7 chord. The Bb note is a #9 of the G7 chord. These are bluesy notes that resolve well to C Major 7.
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Explore moveable shapes for hitting the right tensions in your lines. Check out this book on Amazon: MBGU Jazz Moveable Shapes: Concepts for Reharmonizing II-V-I’s