“All The Blues You Can Use” . . : The12 Essential Blues Chord Progressions Jazz Players Need to Know

I just came across this item from the You Tube channel Jazz Duets (https://www.jazzduets.com/). In the video below, you are given a short but concise rundown of twelve different blues progressions that are used in jazz. Starting with a straight 1-4-5 twelve bar progression, the video walks you through increasing more complex variations. Each example is illustrated with a jazz tune that is based on that chord sequence. Going through the variations, you are also getting a cool little lesson in chord substitution. If you are just coming to jazz from a rock or straight blues background then this is a great introduction to the chord progressions you’ll encounter in a jazz tune. Historically, the jazz repertoire came from two main sources, the blues and popular songs of the day or what we now refer to as standards. We’re talking about George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others  The chord progressions you would find in jazz blues songs would incorporate elements of functional harmony (ii-V-I cadences, cycle of fifths harmonic movement) that musicians would encounter in the show tunes they would jam on. And interestingly enough, composers like Gershwin and Porter would be influenced melodically by the blues.

As I said earlier, one of the things I like about this video is that examples are provided of each progression with a brief except of a classic jazz tune. This means that you can search out said performance and with repeated listenings, train your ear to hear these different variations. Trust me, this is an invaluable skill to have at any jazz jam session.

The12 Essential Blues Chord Progressions Jazz players need to Know Tutorial –

Also note that the video acknowledges that it is not a complete list (as if such a thing was possible) and doesn’t even touch on the minor blues and it’s variations. So don’t bitch about what it doesn’t cover and appreciate that it covers a complex subject in a clear concise manner and the knowledge it offers.

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Posted in Blues, Improvisation, Jazz, Music Theory

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