Advice for Jazz Beginners

"I'm already a competent player and I want to learn jazz" is a common position for people to find themselves in, at least if online forums are any indication. Here's my compendium of advice I wish someone had given me when I was starting out.

Minor-Major 7 Arpeggios on Dominant Chords

This is a quick note on a John Stowell video, giving a summary of the idea he describes and then extending it a bit. It's pretty much the same general approach I advocate in my Arpeggio and Scale Resources. Commenters on the video express some confusion about the presentation so I thought it might be helpful to boil it down to a summary and then couldn't resist adding my own twist.

Melodic Minor Quartal Boxes

A while ago I posted some general information about harmonizing chords in fourths. In this post I want to follow up on that, focusing on melodic minor modes in fourths as a way to create surprising voicings and give your chords some harmonic motion.

Meet the Trichords

Under certain assumptions (which I'll talk about in a moment) there are only 12 three-note chords. I'm hoping to dig into some of the more unusual ones in later posts so here's a quick survey of them.

Diatonic Stacks of Seveths

Following up on a previous post grappling with stacks of semitones, here's a quick set of related fingerings. The first two are stacks of sevenths, then we do stacks of ninths, and finally a "bonus" set made by putting a second on top of a ninth.

Unusual Extensions on Major and Minor Seventh Chords

This post collects up some chords I've found by deliberately adding "wrong" (i.e. unexpected) extensions to common seventh chords. The results are often very strange and beautiful, and are sometimes heard in jazz settings such as big band arrangements where you can get away with very crunchy harmonies.

Do you Know that Scale?

I see a lot of bogus advice on the internet about learning scales and (shudder) modes. Some of it's just plain wrong: amateurs who've got a confused idea about something and seen fit to post a "lesson" to communicate their misunderstandings to others. But some of it isn't exactly wrong but it's still massively unhelpful, because it removes theory from practice.

Chord Scales from the Maj Add b13

In my last post I talked about some ideas for using Add 11 chords, and this time I thought it'd be fun to attack another under-appreciated added note: the flat 13.

Exploring Add 11 Chords

Adding the natural 11 to a major triad is considered rather outré in the jazz world; usually a #11 is expected and 11 is considered an "avoid note". On the basis that one player's bum note is another's hip new sound, that makes these chords worth a look.

Harmonizing Scales in Fourths

We hear a lot about quartal voicings these days but apart from the diatonic ones there's very little information about them out there, so here's a bit about how to pull these harmonies out of scales and some ideas about learning and applying the results.