[Lessons]
[Audio]
[Bands]
[Biography]
[CD]
[Contact]
[Gear]
[Gigs]
[Lessons]
[Links]
[Listening]
[Music]
[Photos]
[Projects]
[Quotes]
[Reading]
[Studio]
[Sheet Music]
[Shop]
[Thanks]
[Tips]
[Writings]

Lesson 6: II-V(-I)'s ( Cadences)

The II-V-I Progression

The II-V-I progression is the single most important one in jazz. There are II-V-I's all over the place and mastering the II-V-I progression in all keys is an important step in learning improvisation.

Voicing the II-V-I Progression

In the II-V-I progression the root progression is down a perfect fifth ( up a perfect fourth). It is important that the third of one chord becomes the seventh of the next and the seventh becomes the third:

Check out my II-V-I lesson hand-out or transparency.

I have written down a number of different ways to voice the II-V-I progression. Check out my II-V-I voicings, II-V-I voicings, page 2 - note the movement of the guide-tones - the thirds and the sevenths of the chords!

Using Standard Phrases/ Licks

It's a good idea to build a personal library of favorite standard phrases that go over a II-V-I progression. Practice and learn the phrases by heart in as many keys and as many positions as possible.

A phrase that simply "fits" the progression at hand is not good enough, a good phrase has to have a direction, a forward motion. Check out this Wes Montgomery lick as a good example of this ( I have written it out in C, F, Bb and Eb):

A small collection of II-V-I licks you may want to check out: II-V-I Collection, II-V-I Collection, page 2, page 3, page 4.

Major II-V-I: Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7

An easy way to handle a II-V or a II-V-I is to play in the major key the progression belongs to. So, if the progression is Dm7- G7 - Cmaj7, then you play in C major ( C Ionian) for the entire progression.

Using Triads/ Chord Substitutions

Major and minor triads can be used in the following ways:
Dm7 - F major triad, G7 - E major triad, Cmaj7 - A minor triad
Dm7 - D minor triad, G7alt - Db major triad, Cmaj7 - C major triad
Dm7 - D minor triad, G7alt - Eb major triad, Cmaj7 - E minor triad

Using Minor Pentatonic Scales

An easy way to use a minor pentatonic scale is to use the E minor pentatonic scale over the whole progression.

Other ways to use minor pentatonic scales:
Dm7 - D minor pentatonic, G7 - D minor pentatonic, Cmaj7 - E minor pentatonic
Dm7 - D minor pentatonic, G7 - F minor pentatonic, Cmaj7 - E minor pentatonic
Dm7 - A minor pentatonic, G7 - D minor pentatonic, Cmaj7 - E minor pentatonic
Dm7 - A minor pentatonic, G7 - Bb minor pentatonic, Cmaj7 - B minor pentatonic
Dm7 - E minor pentatonic, G7 - F minor pentatonic, Cmaj7 - E minor pentatonic

Minor II-V-I: Dm7b5- G7alt- Cm

The easy way to handle a minor II-V or a II-V-I is to play in the minor key the progression belongs to. So, if the progression is Dm7b5- G7alt- Cm, then you play in C ( harmonic) minor for the entire progression.

Chord Substitution

Over a minor II-V-I you can play like you would over the relative major II-V-I. This means that over Dm7b5- G7alt- Cm you can play like you would over Fm7 - Bb7b9- Ebmaj7.

Using Triads/ Chord Substitutions

Major and minor triads can be used in the following ways:
Dm7b5 - F minor triad, G7alt - F minor triad, Cm - C minor triad
Dm7b5 - Ab major triad, G7alt - Db major triad, Cm - C minor triad

2004 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.