#1
So I know next to nothing about jazz, but me and a saxophone player at my school have been asked to play background music for about 15 or 20 minutes at a senior citizen dinner that is tomorrow night. I will be playing piano. Now, all we will need are some good chord progressions, because this other kid is an insane saxophone player and could improvise over anything. So could you give me some nice jazzy chord progressions, or some bluesy jazz progressions? Thanks
#3
Quote by Punk_Ninja
Go for some standards or popular Jazz tunes.

Take Five is a great one. Seriously go for it!
I agree with this guy. Standards are the way to go.

If you knew a lot about theory/changes, I'd say you come up with some of your own, but since you don't, I'd stick to standards.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#4
make a chord progression using the mixolydian mode, a great mode for some traditional jazz.
#5
Quote by justinbob33
make a chord progression using the mixolydian mode, a great mode for some traditional jazz.
Eh, not quite. I wrote a chord progression "using" the mixolydian mode just the other day and it didn't sound the slightest bit jazzy.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#7
Quote by Punk_Ninja
Go for some standards or popular Jazz tunes.

Take Five is a great one. Seriously go for it!


Links?

The only jazz songs I know are ones our show choir has done
#8
Buy the real book
Tick tock and waiting for the meteor
This clock is opening another door
#9
2-5-1 or 3-6-2-5-1 or 12 bar blues with a 2 thrown in and some more complex chords, try not to use simple triads. sometimes these chords are thumb-over chords or you need to mute strings (if you have to mute strings, it sounds better finger-picked than strummed with a pick). And i would say lots of key changes but if you're playing with other people who may have a hard time following along, just stick to 1 key or make your changes very obvious and simple to the other musicians.

edit: oh piano, nice, i hate guitar! (people might hurt me for saying that). same principles apply except strings and whatnot

edit again: oh well i guess u need to know melody too. it gets way more complex in jazz, but just stay in the same key as the harmony, play some chord-tones on the down-beats, and add some chromatics as passing tones between chords. thats all u need to know if ur not serious abt it, but if ur seriously interested in learning jazz, pick up some books
Last edited by TMVATDI at Sep 20, 2010,
#10
Get a copy of Maiden Voyage by Jamey Aebersold or a real book (both found online).
As far as progressions go, ii-V-I is the biggest. ii-V's modulating between relative major and minor form the backbone of a lot of tunes (or modulating up a fourth). But jazz players don't really call progressions, they call tunes. Try learning stuff like Take the A Train, Autumn Leaves, All the Things You Are, So What, all blues, Summertime, blue Monk, Misty, My Funny Valentine, Au Privave, blues for ALice, Anthropology, what is this thing called love and there will never be another you.

heres the changes to what is this thing called love its an AABA form tune.

A

G half diminished --C7alt---F Minor (either major seventh or minor seventh, held for two bars)
D half diminished---G7alt---C Major 7th (hold for two bars)

B
C minor seventh---F7---Bb Major seventh (either held for two bars, or an EbM7 can be played on the second bar)
Ab7 (held for two bars)---D half diminished---G7alt (last two chords can also be a ii-V to G).
#12
Quote by ItsOnlyGNR
So I know next to nothing about jazz, but me and a saxophone player at my school have been asked to play background music for about 15 or 20 minutes at a senior citizen dinner that is tomorrow night. I will be playing piano. Now, all we will need are some good chord progressions, because this other kid is an insane saxophone player and could improvise over anything. So could you give me some nice jazzy chord progressions, or some bluesy jazz progressions? Thanks


You know nothing about jazz but you're going to play a jazz gig at a senior citizens dinner, where the residents probably grew up on the music you're about to butcher?

Well. I'd follow the other suggestions and get a copy of the real book. You can download it illegally with LimeWire.
#13
Quote by jogogonne
where the residents probably grew up on the music you're about to butcher?.


LOL
#14
Geez tomorrow night? Nice way of leaving yourself some time to prepare.

If you can't get these standards together, I'd highly advise that you play jazzy interpretations of songs your already know.

Just slow it down and make everything 7th, 11th and 13th chords.

F7 Bb13

G#11 C#maj7

There ya go. Smells Like Teen Spirit in jazz form.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Quote by ItsOnlyGNR
Links?

The only jazz songs I know are ones our show choir has done


Go into google images and you can find a lot of charts. Try Tune Up. All it is is ii-V7-I in D, C, and Bb.
#17
Quote by tehREALcaptain
no, this is smells like teen spirit in jazz form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKllfSfgB4k

Wow, that's just... totally... what's the word... TERRIBLE. OMG my ears are bleeding! I love Jazz and I know it's subjective and all that, but I'd rather listen to Zappa's "Jazz From Hell" than that... LOL
"Whaddya mean DYNAMICS?! I'm playing as loud as I can!"
#18
If you could work it out, try playing St. Thomas by Sonny Rollins... I believe that it follows a 3-6-2-5-1 progression in C. It's a very fun song to play, and can work wonders if a good saxophonist is playing along.
"Here I sit, beneath a lonely line."

~iband48's signature
#21
Quote by jogogonne
You know nothing about jazz but you're going to play a jazz gig at a senior citizens dinner, where the residents probably grew up on the music you're about to butcher?

Well. I'd follow the other suggestions and get a copy of the real book. You can download it illegally with LimeWire.


Its not really a gig, we are just playing background music before the show choir performs, and as long as I play chord progressions on the piano, the saxophone player will be able to improvise very well over it, so it won't be bad at all.
#22
You should be able to find a list of jazz standards. A Real Book is a good resource and I'm sure you can find a PDF of one online, or at least the chord/melodies for specific songs.
I don't know a lot of standards but the ones that come to mind are Autumn Leaves, Cherokee, and Girl From Ipanema.

The progressions that Sean posted are very common in jazz so you could make something off of that fairly easily.
Quote by DiminishedFifth
Who's going to stop you? The music police?
#23
Stuff you're most likely to get away with:
So What
Satin Doll
Just about any jazz blues(Billie's Bounce, Tenor Madness)
Stuff that has rhythm changes(Oleo, I've Got Rhythm).

But dawg. Shiet. I recommend you take some pop songs and just jazz up the chord progressions. Beatles songs work great(Yesterday makes a brilliant ballad) and maybe some Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles. More modern stuff will work but then again your audience.
#24
You could try Herbie Hancock's standard Watermelon Man. It's really just simple 16 bar blues with the saxophone and trumpet improvising over it. It seems perfect for your setup. If the saxophonist is as good an improviser as you say you should be able to make it no problem. Assuming his sax is in Bb (tenor) then just play:

Bb - Bb - Bb - Bb - Eb7 - Eb7 - Bb - Bb - F7 - Eb7 - F7 - Eb7 - F7 - Eb7 - Bb - Bb

If Eb (alto) then:

Eb - Eb - Eb - Eb - Ab7 - Ab7 - Eb - Eb - Bb7 - Ab7 - Bb7 - Ab7 - Bb7 - Ab7 - Eb - Eb

I think this is correct. I think this is a pretty good choice. Just play these changes and have the sax improvise in Bb/Eb blues with a lot of space and freedom of course and you could pull it off. Next time have weeks notice before playing a gig, even if it's just small.
#25
Sounds like simple is good, and it'll sound like good jazz too:

Tune Up
Satin Doll
What Is this thing called love
Stella By Starlight

Those are great beginner level tunes...although I'm sure the gig is over.

You can use the songtrellis.com to get the ideas of the songs, this will get you started: http://www.songtrellis.com/sounds/viewer$1282
#26
Stella By Starlight and All the Things You Are for someone who admittedly knows nothing about jazz?

How on Earth is he going to get through those tunes?
#27
You can find "vanilla" chord changes for a lot of the most popular jazz songs here...

http://www.ralphpatt.com/Song.html

These are the basic changes before substitutions and embellishments. You can play around with these progressions until you get a Real book.
#28
Quote by jogogonne
Stella By Starlight and All the Things You Are for someone who admittedly knows nothing about jazz?

How on Earth is he going to get through those tunes?


Most people get through them by listening. You can play straight lines through them based on melody, or melodies you hear/follow, or you can play through them harmonically.

If you can't find a melody in those two tunes, you're not listening to yourself.
#29
Most people get through them by listening. You can play straight lines through them based on melody, or melodies you hear/follow, or you can play through them harmonically.


I'd argue for someone with a ton of classical training beforehand or years of experience playing in rock bands and gigging, you might have a point; but for someone who has neither of those those tunes are terrible choices. Playing melodically is possible, and not too difficult but they will have trouble negotiating those changes and, if they have any interest in learning how to improvise harmonically (using linear harmony--bebopy lines---) you'd be setting them up to fail with those tunes.
#30
just do ii-V-I's. basically pick a starting chord and go in fourths. that's basically everything. throw in some tritone subs for dominant chords. throw in some secondary dominants. boom. jazz tune.
#DTWD
#31
Quote by grampastumpy
Stuff you're most likely to get away with:
So What
Satin Doll
Just about any jazz blues(Billie's Bounce, Tenor Madness)
Stuff that has rhythm changes(Oleo, I've Got Rhythm).


if he's asking for chord progressions, why would your first recommendation be a song without a chord progression?
#DTWD
#32
TS: you should actually play some tunes.

look up the charts to -

"it had to be you"
"crazy" (as in the willie nelson one)
"darktown strutters ball"

if you're playing piano, voice the chords as:

3-5-7-9 or 7-9-3-5

play the head (with sax on melody) once. then solo over the form for as long as you want. the go back to the head and tag the last four bars three times.

here are some source recordings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFP3YyR8Wgg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arPwBysP8N8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP0SEXvhTDU
#DTWD
Last edited by primusfan at Sep 22, 2010,
#33
EDIT: ^^^It wouldn't have really mattered if we played actual tunes, as no one was really paying much attention because it was essentially just background music while they were eating. No applause when we were done, the next guy came right on after us and played some piano, no applause for him, etc. etc.

Well, it went pretty well last night, no major mistakes or anything and it sounded great. We started off with with the 3-6-2-5-1 progression in C major, except I switched it up a bit. I played it like this in 3/4 time (the dashes separate each bar):

C7(E) -Am-Dm7-C-Em-Am-G7-C

And we would do that about 8 times, and then I threw in this part to switch it up:

F7-F7-C-C-G7-G7-C-C repeated that 3 times then:
F7-G7-C-C then back into the main part. We did this for about 4 minutes

Then I took the first piano riff in Watermelon Man, put it in C and changed it just a tad and we just played 12 bar blues with that. Did this for about 3 minutes

Then we went with this chord progression for the rest of the time, and I improvised some bluesy melodies into it:

Dm7-F-Gm-C7
Last edited by ItsOnlyGNR at Sep 22, 2010,
#34
so you're telling me if you're an old man someday and some kids come in and play "under the bridge" you wouldn't take notice?
#DTWD