In this lesson, taken from the upcoming Jazzy Strummin’, you start to play in the style of jazz by learning one of the most famous jazz chord progressions.
Jazz, like any other style of music, is made up of three main components: melody, harmony, and rhythm.
What’s so fun about jazz is the different take jazz has on each of these.
When it comes to harmony, jazz is all about those seventh chords. Seventh chords are known to have a jazzy sound because they take a triad, like a major or minor triad, and then, include the seventh scale degree relative to the root note of the chord.
Our journey starts with the ii-V-I jazz chord progression (said “two-five-one”). In the key of C, the ii-V-I progression includes a Dm7, G7, and Cmaj7 chords.
Be sure to practice each chord as written in the diagrams above the music staff.
Jazz melody and harmony would be nothing without the rhythm. In jazz, a swing or shuffle rhythm is common and expected to give the music a toe-tappin’ jazzy sound. Notice in the figure above how the eighth notes equaling a triplet quarter and eighth note designate this rhythm (sometimes “Swing Time” is simply written above a piece of music to indicate swing rhythm).
In the rhythm above, the notation indicates to strum down, down up, down, down up to a count of four in swing time. You count out loud: 1, 2 and, 3, 4 and, and so on.
Congratulations! You’ve started your journey into the world of playing jazz songs on ukulele. In the full course, you take the skills you learn in this lesson to play a variety of jazz songs on ukulele.
Note: If concepts like “Swing Time” are new to you, I recommend completing the Strumming Tricks before starting the Jazzy Strummin’ course. In terms of difficulty level, the level of progression is Strumming Tricks, Country Bluegrass Strummin’ and then Jazzy Strummin’.