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Home LJS Podcast Jazz Tips and Advice LJS 137: Chord Progression Hacks to Make Playing Jazz Simple (feat. Steve...

LJS 137: Chord Progression Hacks to Make Playing Jazz Simple (feat. Steve Nixon)

Welcome to episode 137 of the LJS Podcast where today we have on special guest Steve Nixon to talk about the three categories of chord progressions you need to know. Steve has a great way of making music seem simple and we talk about a lot of other fun stuff too. Listen in!

Listen to episode 137

In today’s episode I have on special guest Steve Nixon from to talk all things jazz and music. It’s a fun, diverse episode where we talk about a number of topics, but especially chord progressions.

Steve is a phenomenal music educator and he has a way of making music feel simple. He goes over 3 categories of chord progressions you need to know and demonstrates how pretty much all chord progressions can be summed up in those categories.

Here’s a bit of what we talk about in this episode:

1. What Steve is working on in the practice room.

2. How Steve’s experience traveling and playing music has led him to his musical success.

3. Three categories that most all chord progressions can be attributed to.

4. His new course “Play Like Ray” and how it can help you.

If you’re looking for an especially entertaining listen, and even a little bit of hilarity, this is an episode I don’t want you to miss.

What’s your biggest takeaway from today’s episode? Leave a comment below.

Brent Vaartstra
Brent Vaartstra is a professional jazz guitarist and educator living in New York City. He is the head blogger and podcast host for which he owns and operates. He actively performs around the New York metropolitan area and is the author of the Hal Leonard publication "Visual Improvisation for Jazz Guitar." He's also the host of the music entrepreneurship podcast "Passive Income Musician."


  1. Just listened to this now. Great discussion. Thanks. BTW the book you mentioned is 'Mindset' by Carol Dweck. I'll be checking it out.

  2. That you are never too old to start and progress. I still dream of jamming with fellow musicians. Do I suck right now? No, but I still a ways to go though.

  3. There are some great concepts presented in this episode. I really like the notion of thinking about the relationship of various chords in terms of dominant, subdominant and tonic. Also found the notion of relating two chords in a progression to one another instead of the tonic of the progression fascinating. There are some valuable insights in this podcast.

  4. An easy to grasp explanation of the tritone substitution! The tip about the dominant VI leading into the subdominant II is great as well… I've listened to a few of these podcasts, and this was the best one so far. I've only been playing for a couple of years and I could understand everything that was discussed.


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