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Jazz Piano Lessons: The Complete I-VI-II-V Cycle

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Good morning.
As we've discussed, you are now setting
your alarm for 3:30 in the morning so
that you can wake up and immediately start
practicing our Artist Works lessons.
Today we have reached kind of a milestone.
We are going to work
the complete chord cycle.
We've been working on two five to ones,
minor, dominant and one.
And now we're gonna add in this down here.
And this makes a complete chord cycle that
naturally gets you through all
the different chord qualities.
And it's really easy to play, to just
kind of move this around to all 12 keys.
We have this as a PDF,
the chord progressions
are clearly outlined in a PDF.
And there are play along tracks in all
12 keys at all three different tempos.
Let's take a real quick
look at what it is.
It's, basically, our two, five, to one.
I'm playing it in B flat here.
And then, we're gonna add in
this little altered chord.
what we're getting here is [SOUND]
a little workout on our major chord.
Works nicely.
Then we're getting our altered chord.
Then we're getting a minor chord.
And then we're getting a regular
kind of more natural 13 chord or
seven chord here on the five chord,
so this is the one.
[SOUND] This is the six.
[SOUND] Notice its on the sixth scale
degree and its an altered chord.
[SOUND] Then we have the two,
which is a minor chord,
I'm playing our minor
ninth voicing on there.
there's our 13th voicing on the five.
One, six, two, five.
Let's play with this a little bit,
let's get everything we've
been working on going on it.
I'm gonna kinda keep going,
as I play I'm gonna talk
about what I'm doing.
It's all familiar, by now quite large
collection of way to go's on these things.
Some bob scale stuff.
Pentatonics, everything
we've been talking about.
And it's fun to work this.
One thing that you can do, and I might
do as I'm illustrating these things.
You can always make this thing here into
a minor 7 flat five and then we can go.
Like that.
So let's play this a little bit, and
I'm gonna try to just keep it in
the natural world to begin with.
And we'll have some fun.
One, two, three, four.
There's just a whole bunch of approach
patterns right in a row there.
Pentatonic with an approach pattern
to close it out up there at the top.
There's our D triad over our F 7, so
that's the sixth major upper
structure triad arpeggiated.
Let's go with another one.
Here how natural that sounds there,
that was an E flat triad on our G 7.
There's our E triad appearing on our G 7.
Let's play motivically here a little bit.
All I'm doing there is playing
the notes of the B flat, and
putting a little thing
in there chromatically.
You can see as I'm fingering, that I'm
constantly thinking about how I'm gonna
get something in here where I can
continue to reach up the keyboard.
I'm gonna play that, another way to go
here is to play these all as dominants.
[SOUND] These are all 13th voicings.
[SOUND] I'm going to make
that one a dominant voicing.
Then we're going just for
an easy swing here.
Let's do some stuff that sounds a little
bit more like exercises on this,
cuz this really gets you
through everything you know.
You can hear all those bop scales going
by, tied together with our approach
patterns, lets try a little
thing with triplets here.
Very simple.
Just triad.
What I did there, I took the F triad
that we use on our major chord.
Then I went down.
Let's look at that action for
a second here.
Cuz we just, the triads kinda find
themselves, it's just down chromatically.
F [SOUND] E over G 7.
E flat is a natural fit on our C minor.
D over F 7.
And you can have a lot
of fun just with that.
And there's just a quick look at how we
might work out on the one, six, two, five.
What I would recommend you do,
is do this [SOUND] in our E,
in the key of D.
So we start, [SOUND] B 7 alt.
E minor.
Then do it to C.
And there we would have C
major 7 to A 7 altered.
To D minor 9, to G 13.
And of course the one I just
did is down in B flat [SOUND].
This is such a common sequence,
if you practice any one thing in
your day as we get going on our standards,
this one is really a big one.
[SOUND] Let's voice that like that.
B Flat, [SOUND] G Altered 7, C Minor 7.
[SOUND] Let's go happy here,
to end up our lesson.
Except we'll make it maybe a little
darker by flatting the 13.
[SOUND] And there's our B flat Major 7.
As you become more adept at things,
I'm gonna do one more pass
through part of this thing.
Let's talk a little bit about double time,
because at this tempo
it's not to difficult if you
got your bop scales under you.
To double it up some.
And that's a good way to work in
a little bit more speed on your thing.
Matter of fact, let's put up the 80
beat per minute track on the one,
six, two, five.
And I'll pick a different key,
maybe, let's do it to D [SOUND].
First set of changes in tune up,
and we'll kind of double up some lines and
get out of them gracefully if we can.
Here come the chords on our one,
six, two, five in D.
There's our D major, and
there's our B altered 7,
our E minor 7, our A natural 13.
Here's our upper
structured triads,
the A over the D major seven,
the G over the B seven alt.
The F sharp minor over the A7,
which gives us that 13 sound.
And there we had our D over the E
minor 7 which gives us
the nice kind of 11 voicing.
There it is again.
There's a little bit of that moving
parallel triads thing that we covered
in our Stella by Starlight arrangement.
You can hear
there that just
kinda on a whim,
I went altered
with our A seven.
It's always nice to hear those
half step resolutions coming down,
D over E minor 7 again, natural 13.
Then we change it to the F over A seven
to get our altered dominant sound.
Let's talk a little bit about doubling
the tempo up here.
A bunch
of approach
patterns in a row
right there.
That's our last approach pattern,
chromatic from below to
double chromatic from above.
Let's move along here with some
There was our
little exercise there,
our cross over pentatonic exercise.
Worked that into a little
bit of lines here.
Right there I stuck a C minor seven
pentatonic on top of our A seven chord.
That's coming up in a couple
of lessons as a kind of a cool
dark substitution that we
can do with our pentatonics.
And there I'm using our C minor
six pentatonic on the B seven chord.
We're gonna take more of a look
at that coming up shortly too.
Let's do a little triadic harmony on this.
Once again,
all I'm doing
is taking.
When you
double up the tempo,
see if you can remember
to push the second
note of each group.
Gonna end up on that little note which is
a legal tension, a legal tension, but
a good tension on our B altered chord.
Right there,
I ended with a couple
of our approach
patterns in a row.
It's really just kinda on your
imagination at this point.
Space it out, take your time.
It's really better to come up with maybe
a series of four note phrases that
develop organically out of each other that
show that you are listening to yourself,
as well as to the other members of
the band, than it is to keep spinning.
And I can get into a thing
where I've got my line burning.
I have an idea for where I want it to go,
and I don't take enough of a breath.
So it really contributes to
your practicing if you are just
leaving some space,
collecting yourself a little bit,
you'll notice the feel when
I'm doubling up the time.
I'm still thinking a little bit
about being behind my imaginary beat.
We're doubling up the time, and
at that point we're not really playing
a rolling triplet feel anymore.
But we're still thinking in terms of
maybe, it's still swinging the line some.
And our pattern of accenting mostly
the off beats and thereby accentuating
the tensions in our line, that applies
still when we're playing double time.
So work that out.
The one six two five is your best friend
when it comes to getting things under your
And I'll see you for the next lesson.