Jazz blues chord progression lesson

Blues Progressions For Jazz Musicians - 11 Forms With Analysis & Audio Files

Jazz blues chord forms

Jazz blues progressions are very common in jazz music however, there is a lot of twelve-bar blues variations based on the typical form. You will see in this lesson how to incorporate major and minor II V I sequences and turnarounds in order to make evolve a basic blues progression. Each chord changes chart contains roman numeral analysis to facilitate transposing them in any key.

 

Blues Form # 1

This is the most basic form of the blues. Only three chords are played here, the I7, IV7 and V7 giving us in the key of Bb :

  • Bb7 as the I chord.
  • Eb7 as the IV.
  • F as the V7.

11 Jazz Blues Chord Progressions - Tutorial

Blues Form # 2

The second blues form is quite easy. It is based on the previous basic form. It contains a ii V I cadence (Cm7, F7 and Bb7) in bars 9, 10 and 11.

Blues Form # 3

The third blues variation implies a chromatic descending movement. Dm7 goes to Db7 which goes to Cm7 which goes to Bm7. It is a very funny ending that provides a little more interest to the player.

Blues Form # 4

Playing a diminished 7 chord (Edim7) in bar 6 instead of a dom chord is a common trick found in many jazz blues tunes.

Blues Form # 5

You will notice two ii V sequences in bars 4 and 8. The first one (Fm7 - Bb7) goes to Eb7 whereas the second one (Dm7 - G7b9) goes to Cm7. Please note that in the second ii V sequence, you can replace Dm7 by Dm7b5.

Blues Form # 6

In this sixth progression the IV7 chord is replaced by a minor chord. This variation can be found in many jazz blues standards.

Blues Form # 7

The seventh blues form contains several variations :

  • Bar 2 : you hear a diminished 7 chord between the VI (Eb7) and I7 (Bb7) chords.
  • Bar 4 : A short II V sequence that goes to the IV7 chord (Eb7).
  • Bar 6 : Once again, a II V cadence resolving to the I chord (Bb7).
  • Bars 11 & 12 : A turnaround (Bb7 - Gm7 - C7 - F7b9) with a min7 chord.

Blues Form # 8

This is surely the more complex and odd variation of this lesson dedicated to blues progressions. The first thing you will notice is the Major 7 chord (Bbmaj7)  in place of the common dom7 chord. Then,  you will notice a number of ii V changes in bars 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 :

  • Bar 2 : Am7b5 - D7b9 going to Gm7.
  • Bar 3 : Gm7 - C7 going to Fm7.
  • Bar 4 : Fm7 and Bb7 resolving to Eb7 (the IV Chord of Bb7)

In bars 6, 7, 8 there a serie of descending ii V progressions without resolutions :

  • Ebm7 - Ab
  • Dm7 - G7
  • Dbm7 - Gb7

The chord progression ends with a turnaround starting with a major seventh chord (Bbmaj7).

Blues Form # 9

Once again a diminished passing chord in bar 2. A ii V sequence in bar 4 and a long VI7 - iim7 -V7 - I7 sequence to finish.

Blues Form # 10

In this tenth example you will notice a substitution (Dm7) for the I7 chord (Bb7) in the turnaround.

Blues Form # 11

Here is the last blues variation of this lesson. Two new harmonic tips are discussed. A tritone ii V7 substitution for Bb7 (Em7 - A7) and a serie of descending dominant 7 chords (Bb7 - A7 - Ab - G7b9)  in bars 7 & 8.

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Blues chords voicings Jazz blues