arranging, Jazz piano, Music Theory, Tutorials

Jazz Piano Introduction – II-V-I Progression

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II – V – I Progressions
II – V – I (2 – 5- 1) progressions are the most common chord sequence used in Jazz.
It’s important to know them in every key because Jazz Standards (common Jazz tunes) often move quickly through many keys.

If we think back to the scale-tone sevenths we can see that in C major:
Chord II would be Dm7 (minor 7th)
Chord V would be G7 (dominant 7th)
Chord I would be CD (major 7th)

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Note! A dominant 7th chord is generally just called “7”, eg G7, A7
Chord Symbols
There are several different ways of writing chord symbols, which can be frustrating at first. Some are better than others but it’s important to be familiar with them all.
Major 7th
Cmaj7
CM7
CD
Minor 7th
Cm7
Cmin7
C-
Dom’ 7th
C7

Half-dim’
Cm7b5
C-b5
      Cø
    Dim’
Cdim7
Co7
Co
      
Exercise
Each of the progressions in the following exercise are II-V-I progressions in different keys.
It’s important to become familiar with all 12 keys. 
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Author


James Treweek

James Treweek

James trained classically in Piano & Clarinet and studied Jazz at University. He has worked as an MD & pianist at Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Jazz club Dean Street, The Hippodrome, Leicester Sq Theatre, London Palladium, & was MD for the “Rat Pack” band for David Beckham (with Elton John as support!)