#1
In my Jazz band class, I was given an ominous (maybe just to me ) chord progression to comp behind a piano solo the first time, then solo over it the second time. Here is the progression:

Ebmaj9 - Abmaj7 - Ami9 - D7 (+9 +5) - Gmi9 - C9 (+11) - Fmi9/Bb - Ebmaj9 - B9 - Bbmi9 - Eb7 (+9 +5) - Abmaj9 - Fmi11 - Dmi11 - G13 (b9 b5) - Cmi11 - Abmaj9 - Gb13 (+11) - F13 (+11) - Fmi7/Eb - E6/9 (+11) - Ebmaj7 - Bbmi9 - Eb13 (b9) - Abmaj7 - Gmi7 - C7 (b9) - Fmi7 - Db13 (+11) - C7 (+9 +5) - Fmi7 - Bb13 (+11 b9) - Eb - C7 (+9 +5) - F13 (b9) - Bb13 (+11 b9)

So sorry that it's long and ridiculously hard to read! I can't wrap my head around how to improvise over this. I realize that Eb Major works over most of it, but some trouble spots are:

Ami9 - D7 (+9 +5) - Gmi9 - C9 (+11)

Ebmaj9 - B9 - Bbmi9 - Eb7 (+9 +5)

Abmaj9 - Fmi11 - Dmi11 - G13 (b9 b5)

This is really making my brain hurt, so if anybody would kindly break it down for me, it would be MUCH appreciated.
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#2
Ami9 - D7 (+9 +5) = ii V in G

Gmi9 - C9 (+11) = ii V in F

Ebmaj9 - B9 - Bbmi9 - Eb7 (+9 +5) = Eb major, last two chords are a ii V in Ab major.

The B9 functions as a substitution leading to the Bbm. So treat that B9 as if it was an F7.

And finally,

Abmaj9 - Fmi11 - Dmi11 - G13 (b9 b5) = Ab major last two chords are a ii V in C, but that G resolves to Cm and not Cmajor.

Hope that helps.
#3
Jazz is certainly one of the toughest genres to comp over. For the Ami9 - D7, you could treat that as a ii-V and use the G maj scale.

For the EbMaj9 - B9 - Eb7, treat that as a I-V and use Eb major scale.

For the AbMaj9 - Fm11 - Dm11 - G13, to me, that gets a bit trickier. Treat the first two as a I-vi. I already have my guitar wiped down for the evening, but try Ab major over that one. You might also try Eb major on it, using the Fm11 as the ii chord. One of those should work. For the Dm11 - G13, let's treat that one as a ii-V in the key of C major.

Let me know how these work out for you. I'm curious to hear how they sound. I'll recheck the thread tomorrow and try the chords/scales myself, to see how badly I messed up doing this from memory. lol
#4
KG6_Steven and I seem to be in agreement here. I do, however, have my guitar out, and they all check out. Have fun soloing.
#5
Thanks, Jet Penguin. I'm 5 minutes from turning in for the night. I must be paying attention during my jazz lessons and learning something.
#6
Wow, thanks a ton guys! I really appreciate it; that helped a lot.
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#7
The trick in jazz is looking at tone centers (at least in post-bop stuff.) As well, a lot of times weird chords (like the B9 mentioned) are substituted chords; look at them enharmonically to figure them out. like B9 is B D# F# A C#, which enharmonically contains Eb, Gb, and Db. You could keep playing the same notes and they would sound okay, and at nothing else the chord is going to sound a little bit "different" and playing the same kind of notes would be okay. Resolve your thought with the chord.
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#8
You can break down everything into tonics, subdominants, and dominants. If they're out of key, they're most likely preparing for the cadence into the next tonic.

Ex:
Cmaj F-7 Bb7 Ebmaj7

The last 3 chords are basically a ii-V-I in the key of Eb even though you were in C before. So right when that F-7 hits, just start playing in Eb. Ignore the extensions on those chords. Just figure out if the chord is a T, S, or D of the current key or next key and adapt accordingly.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#9
^I would say you can't always ignore extensions. They're usually for something in the melody, but they can be important harmonically. Anything that is a modified chord tone (e.g. +5, m2, etc.) is important (and usually a good note to pick!) And I don't know if your example is from the progression he gave you, but if it is, you left off some really important stuff. The Cmaj is actually a C7+9+5, which turns it into a completely different chord with a totally different function.
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#10
I'll get you started on the first couple of lines

Ebmaj9 - Abmaj7 - Ami9 - D7 (+9 +5) - Gmi9 - C9 (+11) - Fmi9/Bb - Ebmaj9 - B9 - Bbmi9 - Eb7 (+9 +5) - Abmaj9

So essentially you have this:
Eb, Ab, A-, D7, G-, C7, F-, Eb, B7, Bb-, Eb7, Ab

Eb is the first tonality. Eb is tonic, Ab is its IV, or subdominant.

Now you see A- D7 G-. That's essentially a ii-V-i in the key of G minor. That #9, #5 (really b13) is just tone colors to really bring out the minor tonality. #9 and b13 of D is the b7 and b3 of G minor. It's like you're overlapping and hinting at the G-7 chord while you're still playing on D7, its dominant.

If you scale this back, you'll see that this G-7 preceeds a C7 and then F-, another ii-V-i. So while you were targeting the G-7 tonality from before, this G-7 is actually going to be a ii of F-. Again, same deal as before.

Just like how the G-7 is actually its own tonic and a subdominant for F minor, F-7 is also its own tonic and subdominant of Eb major. But this is a more abrupt modulation because the Eb isn't prepared by a dominant resolution (it's missing a Bb7 right before it). So you just need to really get into the mindset of Eb major right when you hit the F-7.

The B9 is a dominant to the next tonality, Bb minor (from the Bb-9 chord). Normally it'd be an F7, but this is just a substitution. They share the same tritone needed to resolve to Bb-. Just like all the others before, this Bb- takes on dual functionality as tonic and subdominant of Ab (Bb-, Eb7, Abmaj7; ii-V-I). You wanna be in the mindset of Ab when you hit the Bb-9 chord.

So it's this type of thinking that'll really simplify and slim down how you can tackle such a daunting progression. In the end, it's just a series of ii-V-I's in various keys, masked and varied by substitutions and dual functionalities.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#11
Quote by tubab0y
^I would say you can't always ignore extensions. They're usually for something in the melody, but they can be important harmonically. Anything that is a modified chord tone (e.g. +5, m2, etc.) is important (and usually a good note to pick!) And I don't know if your example is from the progression he gave you, but if it is, you left off some really important stuff. The Cmaj is actually a C7+9+5, which turns it into a completely different chord with a totally different function.

I meant ignoring the extensions while you figure out the basics of what function the chord is taking on.

The example I used was just a random example, not related to the actual situation.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#13
What I'm here for, mang


...modes and scales are still useless.


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#14
With regards to the comping, if you just want to stay out the way of the piano and let him do his thing just play the guide tones of each chord (thirds and sevenths). That way you can outline the harmony without interefering/clashing with what the soloist is playing.

It can be frustrating when/if the comping musician is playing to many large chords/extensions.

And with soloing in mind, USE YOUR EARS! Thats what they're there for, try singing a melody over those chords and work from there. It will probably be a lot more musical than just blowing scales over the top, whether they're the appropriate ones or not.

Hope that helps