Jazz chord progressions

Jazz if often played with a 12 bar structure, as blues. Presented here are some common blues jazz progressions, mostly in the form of 12 bar.

Common jazz progressions

ii - V - I

The ii - V - I is the first jazz progression to learn. The roman numerals could for example be translated to Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7.

A way to play Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7 with jazz chord and economical movements:
Dm7: X5756X - G7: XX5767 - Cmaj7: X3545X

Another ii - V - I progression could be Am7 - D7 - Gmaj7. A suggestion of chords:
Am7: 5X755X - D7: X5453X - Gmaj7: 3X443X

12 bar jazz blues progressions

How to read the tables

These tables present the structure in 12 bars that you should read from measure 1 to 12 like this:

1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12

Basic 12 bar form progression in G

This is a very basic progression with a 12 bar structure.

G7 C7 G7 G7
C7 C7 G7 G7
Am7 D7 G7 G7

You are advice to used suitable jazz chords instead of regular chords. Also, the dominant seventh chords could be substituted by other expanded chords like 9th and 13th as well as altered chords like #9.

12 bar progression in G

This is one of the most common 12 bar structures in the jazz blues style.

G7 C7 G7 G7
C7 C7 G7 E7
Am7 D7 G7 G7
To vary the progression a tip is to use half steps and slide into the following chord, for example G#7 to G7. This method could of course be used for all presented 12 bar progression presented here.

12 bar progression in A

Same as above, but in another key, and with a turnaround on the two last measures.

A7 D7 A7 A7
D7 D7 A7 F#7
Bm7 E7 A7 F#7 Bm7 E7

Blues jazz progression with substitutions

The same 12 bar as above with substitutions.

A13 D9 A13 A13
D9 D9 A13 F#9
Bm11 E9 A7 F#7 Bm7 E7
You could also try A11, Bm9 and so on.

Blues jazz progression with chromatic substitutions

Here is a progression with some chromatic ideas.

A7 Ab7 A7 Eb7
D7 Ab7 A7 F#7
Bm7 E7 A7 F#7 Bm7 E7

Minor 12 bar progression

Here is a suggestion of a basic minor jazz progression.

Gm7 Gm7 Gm7 Gm7
Cm7 Cm7 Gm7 Gm7
A7 Ab7 Gm7 Gm7

A second basic minor 12 Bar progression

Here is another easy minor jazz progression, quite similar with the previous.

Am7 Am7 Am7 Am7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Bm7b5 E7 Am7 Am7

The Bm7b5 chord with short notation: x2323X.

A third minor progression

Here is a variation on the above 12 bar, including a turnaround.

Am7 E7 Am7 A7
Dm7 Dm7 Am7 Am7
Bm7b5 E7 Am7 Bm7b5 E7


Some of the progression presented here was listed in the book Blues Guitar Rules in which you can find more on the same subject.

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