Advanced Jazz Improvisation – Minor 7th Substitutions

Minor 7th Substitutions for Improvisation

Minor 7th SubstitutionsAs you progress as a jazz improviser,  you gradually become more and more familiar with new scales, different  arpeggios, idiomatic vocabulary and a whole multitude of other ways to  enhance your soloing skills. I’m now going to add chord substitution to  the list, but hopefully in a new and musically productive way for you.

In this lesson I’m going to examine more advanced jazz improvisation  techniques with a particular emphasis on chord substitutions. For  musicians who play a harmonic instrument (e.g. guitar, vibes, piano  etc.) chord substitution is sometimes thought of more in the context of  accompaniment or ‘comping’ than single-line soloing, but as we’ll see it  is an equally powerful tool for creating new melodic lines.

Minor 7th Chords

In this minor 7th substitutions jazz improvisation lesson we are going to employ a previously composed melodic line that was originally written for use over a C minor  7th chord. Please note that the line itself isn’t just a straight diatonic scale run either, as it has several bop style embellishments within it. I generally prefer to write melodic lines like this as they are more representative of real-world jazz vocabulary and in my view help the substitutions  sound more idiomatically appropriate. (n.b. I originally wrote this line for an article in Guitar Player magazine a few years ago and it seemed a good choice to return to it for this post)

Here is the original line:

Minor 7th Substitutions

This Cmin7 line will be our ‘melodic template’ (it’s the first one on the audio recording below)  as we then explore some of the various substitution possibilities that  can be achieved with a minor 7th line.

Now have a listen to this line being employed (and sometimes transposed) over other chords in the audio examples below in the MP3 file. These five examples are all fully explained in the minor 7th substitutions PDF too:

Chord-Substitutions-For-Jazz-Improvisation-Minor-7ths PDF

OK that’s it for this first advanced jazz improvisation lesson..take it all slowly too. Minor 7th Substitutions are really a wonderful addition to your soloing arsenal.

Happy Practicing!