Benjabenja
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2008
426 IQ
#1
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?
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wolflen
one note away from satori
Join date: May 2008
11 IQ
#3
Quote by mdc
Am7b5 - Dalt - Gm


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



or....go for the Coltrane changes..
cdgraves
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2013
43 IQ
#4
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


|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 at Jun 27, 2013,
Benjabenja
Registered User
Join date: Jun 2008
426 IQ
#5
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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