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HomeLJS PodcastLearn Jazz Theory4 Levels of Jazz Chords to Spice Up Your Comping and Improv

4 Levels of Jazz Chords to Spice Up Your Comping and Improv

Welcome to episode 261 where today I’m covering 4 levels of jazz chords so that you can start implementing these concepts into your comping and jazz solos. In this episode, I start with the simplest of chords, triads, and build up in complexity. You’ll learn how jazz musicians take basic chords and transform them into colorful harmonic tools.

Listen to episode 261

In your jazz studies, you probably noticed that jazz standards have a wealth of harmonic information in them. 

And jazz musicians don’t even always stick to that harmonic information in the jazz standard. Sometimes they take a chord and they change it. They make it even more colorful. Sometimes they remove a chord. Sometimes they’ll add in different chords in altogether. 

So how do we go from just very basic chords? Like just regular triads that you’ve heard of, you know, rock and pop and all that stuff, and slowly turn them into “jazzy chords”?

Well, that’s what we are going to talk about in today’s episode. Four different levels of jazz chords starting from incredibly basic to a lot more complex and more colorful, the kind of stuff that jazz musicians like to play in their harmony, their comping, and in their solos.

In this episode:

1. Triads

2. 7th Chords

3. Extensions and Alterations

4. Chord Substitutions

Important Links

1. LJS Inner Circle Membership

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."


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