Jazz Chord Voicings

The 3 most important chords to learn in jazz are the Minor 7, Dominant 7 and Major 7 chords. They are also known as ii - V - I chords. There are many ways to play these chords - there are, after all, 88 keys on the piano! I will teach you how to play these three chords in two very specific ways that sound very hip. Each voicing is complimentary to the other. Click on either chart below for a printable copy.

When we work together in our lessons, we will start with the first voicing, paying attention to the three chords on the top line only. These three chords are a ii - V - I progression in the key of C. I will work with you so that you will learn how to play these three chords in every key.

After that, we will move on to the second voicing, which is a complimentary set of ii - V - I chords. Again, you will learn to play these in all keys.

We will work on getting you comfortable with these chords while working on classic jazz lead sheets, so you will be building your jazz repertoire while increasing your fluency with these chords.

The sets of chords on the second line of both voicing sheets are variations of minor 7, dominant 7 and major 7 chords. Once you have mastered the basic chords on the top line, we move on to these great sounding voicings that expand your palette even further!

Once you have learned to play all these chords, you will be able to play about 75% of the music in any fake book! We will also work on different kinds of approaches to playing these tunes - as an accompanist with a singer or a solo instrument, as a player in a band with a bass player, and as a soloist by yourself. If you are a singer, this is a great way to learn how to accompany yourself!

I will also coach you on the fun part - improvising strategies. This is how one uses the chord voicings, melodic and harmonic structure of a tune to inspire new ideas in your improvisation!

1st Voicing Chart 2nd Voicing Chart

John Simon