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  #1  
Old 09-27-2017, 12:15 PM
SouthpawJeff SouthpawJeff is offline
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Default How do you turn a blues tune into jazz?

Ok I realize this is probably not a question that can be answered simply. More importantly my minuscule knowledge of music theory means I probably wouldn't understand the answer if it could🙁 So I'm going to simplify in hopes that someone can help further my education a bit. A friend recommended via a video the song Sunshine Superman by Donavan. However.... the version recommended was done as a jazz tune and sounded pretty good. So I'm wondering how I'd go about trying my hand at it?

From a lesson I found online It's basically a 12 bar blues progression C#maj, F#maj, G#maj. the few jazz tunes I've endeavored to learn always seem to utilize funky augmented chords. And playing the chords given just doesn't have that jazz sound to my ears. So I guess my question is how would you translate this song? Do you try do different versions of the chords looking for the right sound? Do you need to have an in depth knowledge of theory to know what chord to use? Where do I begin?

Thanks,
Jeff
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  #2  
Old 09-27-2017, 01:16 PM
amyFB amyFB is offline
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Default How do you turn a blues tune into jazz?

Change all the I chords to a 6.

G6 instead of G

Turn all the 7ths to 9th.

G9 instead of G7

Although this is more of a swing sound than jazz proper I suspect
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  #3  
Old 09-27-2017, 03:29 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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So basically a jazz blues follows the same structure as a regular 12 bar blues, but we'll "juice up" the chords a bit, and approach a few chords from somewhere else, either chromatically or by setting up a ii V.

So lets take a standard "quick change" blues in C

| C | F | C | C |
| F | F | C | C |
| G | F | C | C |

So the first thing we might do is make everything a 7th. You can make the one a 6, too, but I'd prefer to reserve that for a "Parker Blues," another post for another day...

| C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| F7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| G7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |

Now, let's add a I VI ii V to the last two bars to make the turnaround cooler.

| C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| F7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| G7 | F7 | C7 A7 | Dm7 G7 |

That's cool...but what else...lets approach that turnaround a little differently...lets make the 9th and 10th bar a trip to to G...and approach it from it's ii...

| C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| F7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| Dm7 | G7 | C7 A7 | Dm7 G7 |

Ok. Now what can we do in the middle? Let's overhaul bars 6, 7 and 8.

First we'll add a chromatic diminshed into bar 6 (Could also do an F minor...very similar sound

| C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| F7 | F#dim7 | C7 | C7 |
| Dm7 | G7 | C7 A7 | Dm7 G7 |

And then a chromatic approach downward to the Dm7 in bar 9

| C7 | F7 | C7 | C7 |
| F7 | F#dim7 | C7 | Em7 Ebm7 |
| Dm7 | G7 | C7 A7 | Dm7 G7 |

Cool...some other variations...

| C7 | F7 | C7 | Db7 C7 |
| F7 | F#dim7 (Fm) | C7 | Em7 Ebm7 (or A7b9) |
| Dm7 | G7 | C7 A7 (C7 Em7 A7b9) | Dm7 G7 |

Oh, the possibilities!
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  #4  
Old 09-27-2017, 03:32 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Great post, Jeff! I've done many of those... that's wonderful.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:26 PM
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rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Stop the steady one note beat in the bass. Substitute out some of the syncopation for straight eighth notes. Use little runs interspersed between a few of those extended chords.
Don't repeat anything note for note more than twice (unless you played the wrong notes and you want to prove they weren't wrong). Amplifying on the last point, sound like
you are improvising even if you aren't. Play more notes further up the fretboard.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:34 PM
Mr. Jelly Mr. Jelly is offline
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Try looking at T-Bone Walker songs as it's a nice introduction in the blues to jazz education move.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:44 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Jelly View Post
Try looking at T-Bone Walker songs as it's a nice introduction in the blues to jazz education move.
T-bone "9th chord"

x4545x

Rootless A9 (also C#m7b5 and Em6, but hey...)
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2017, 07:53 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Start by playing in a jazz blues key. Like F or Bb. C or Eb at a pinch. Definitely NOT E or A.

Then follow Jeff's advice (add more and more chords). Eventually you end up at Charlie Parker's Blues For Alice:

||:Fmaj7 - - - |Em7 - A7 - |Dm7 - G7 - |Cm7 - F7 - |
|Bbmaj7 - - - |Bbm7 - Eb7 - |Am7 - D7 - |Abm7 - Db7 - |
|Gm7 - - - |C7 - - - |Am7 - Dm7 - |Gm7 - C7 - :||

...then you're not in Kansas any more....
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:42 AM
zhunter zhunter is offline
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Don't forget to ii-V the IV.

C / / / Gm / C7 / F / / / /

hunter
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:11 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zhunter View Post
Don't forget to ii-V the IV.

C / / / Gm / C7 / F / / / /

hunter
ii-V every chord! The true jazz musician leaves no chord un-ii-V'ed. And then tritone sub them all ... No mercy.
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:44 PM
amyFB amyFB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
ii-V every chord! The true jazz musician leaves no chord un-ii-V'ed. And then tritone sub them all ... No mercy.
LOVE THIS!!! ^^^^^^
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:18 PM
SouthpawJeff SouthpawJeff is offline
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Awesome information all! You've given me a lot to tinker with and see what I can make work. I'm going to spend the next couple days of practice time figuring out some of these new chords, and positions to play them in, and hopefully make some progress🙂

Thanks!!!
Jeff
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:25 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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I might try something tonight--sub every chord in a blues and see what happens...my theory is if you still go subdominant in bar 5 and get toward dominant in 8-9 it'll still read as a blues.
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2017, 05:33 PM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post
I might try something tonight--sub every chord in a blues and see what happens...my theory is if you still go subdominant in bar 5 and get toward dominant in 8-9 it'll still read as a blues.
Exactly - that's the "Parker blues" principle. (see above)
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:36 PM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonPR View Post
Exactly - that's the "Parker blues" principle. (see above)
I'm a sub the ONE
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