Lesson 10: Jazzing up The Blues – Part 1

1. Basic vanilla 12 bar blues form

| Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

| Eb7  /  /  /  | Eb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

|  F7  /  /  /  | Eb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

2. Basic/common substitution

– Bb7 in bar 2 becomes IV, i.e. Eb7 (common jazz sub)

– Eb7 in bar 6 becomes E dim (common blues sub supposedly)

| Bb7  /  /  /  | Eb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

| Eb7  /  /  /  | Edim7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

|  F7  /  /  /  | Eb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

3. 1/2 step substitutions

– using the pseudo rule that any chord may be preceded by a chord of the same type, or a dominant a half step above or below yields these new differences:

| Bb7  /  /  E7  | Eb7  /  /  A7  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  E7  |

| Eb7  /  /  /  | Edim7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  E9  |

|  F7  /  /  E9 | Eb7  /  /  A7 | Bb7  /  /  /  | Bb7  /  /  /  |

Note that I can put an E9 anywhere I might use a Dominant 7. Also see that the approach chord (the one that is a half step above or below the target chord) is put on beat 4. It doesn’t have to be, but it is in this case. It can be earlier in the measure subject to taste.

Also note that the use of the E7 is equivalent to a tritone substitution – that is, it is a Dominant 7 that is a b5 away from the Bb (these chords can essentially be used interchangeably).

…more next week after I get these ideas affirmed.

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