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Old 06-27-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
Benjabenja
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Jazz Progression help

I was fiddling around on guitar with some jazz standards, and came across this quite cool progression.
I understand that it's a ii7 - V7 - Imaj7 in Eb - but why does the A chord work?
I'm guessing the full chord would be Am7b5 which seems odd in the key of Eb...
This progression loops around quite nicely, but where could it go next?
http://i.imgur.com/adx4rx7.jpg?1
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:36 PM   #2
mdc
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Am7b5 - Dalt - Gm


Just think "ii - V". It is jazz.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:02 PM   #3
wolflen
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Originally Posted by mdc
Am7b5 - Dalt - Gm


Just think "ii - V". It is jazz.



or....go for the Coltrane changes..
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Old 06-27-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
cdgraves
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It's not a resting harmony, it should lead somewhere. The "Gb" on the last beat of that measure sounds an awful lot like a sus4 resolving, which could make it an Am7b5 - D7 - (Gm), as posted above.

In jazz, you have to remember that the ii-V-I isn't just relative to the key at the beginning or end, it's relative to whatever key you're about to move to.

Here's an a snippet from "Joy Spring", key of F

Code:
|FM7|Gm7 C7|FM7| Bb-7 Eb7| |A-7 Ab7| G-7 C7| FM7| Ab-7 Db7| |GbM7| Ab-7 Db7| GbM7| B-7 E7| |Bb-7 A7| Ab-7 Db7| GbM7| A-7 D7|


Now, you'll notice it leaves the key of F pretty quickly. The first ii-V-I is pretty obvious (G-7 C7 F), but what happens after that second FM7? You get another ii-V pattern on Bb-7 Eb7, which resolves by tritone to the A-7 Ab7, which resolves by half step* to the in-key ii-V, G-7 C7.

But after that, you see the Ab-7 Db7 GbM7. That's also a ii-V-I, but it's modulating away from the tonic. Now you're in a new key, Gb, and the whole progression repeats in that key.

Basically anywhere in a jazz tune, you can see this minor7-dominant7-major7 pattern and analyze it as a ii-V-I (or m7b5-dom7-minor, in minor keys). The ii-V-I isn't just the preferred resolution pattern in jazz, it's the basic harmonic unit, and you see it used to move in and out of different keys within a single tune.

* Extra credit: he A-7 Ab7 G figure is called a tritone substitution. Instead of the expected A-7 D7 G, the dominant is substituted by the chord a tritone away - Ab7. The result is root movement by half step, basically ii-bII-I. For all intents and purposes, this is still a kind of ii-V-I because the function is the same, and the voice leading is very similar.

Last edited by cdgraves : 06-27-2013 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Thanks guys! cdgraves' response in particular is very helpful.
I'd known about tritone substitution, but never realised it was actually part of the usual ii-V-I unit. I've expanded the progression and it now goes something like this:
Fm7 - Bb7 - Ebmaj7 - Am7b5 - Dm9 - G13 Db7 - Cmaj7

I've made it resolve to C, and I've also tried using more extensions to the chords. I've loved jazz for a long time, but never really looked past classical theory until now - so it's great hearing patterns I recognize!
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