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Dominant chords in sequence

1426 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  cann0nba11
Some tunes, like Nostalgia in Times Square or Killer Joe or Jordu have dominant chords a tone apart, i.e. C7, Bflat7, etc, following each other (often happens in ballads too). I can usually negotiate this without much trouble, because the scales relate so closely that improvising over them is not hard. Is there, though, a way of thinking what one is doing that makes it a bit clearer? Does one just think 'now I'm playing the dominant scale of C, then Bflat', which becomes a bit hectic at faster tempi, or is there some other way of thinking about it and about what substitutions work? Advice appreciated.
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Keep it simple until you are comfortable with the changes.

When you run into the repeated C7,Bb7,C7,Bb7, such as in Killer Joe, just play around on C7. In other words, improvise lines based on the F major scale, but keep C7 in your head.

The harmonic context of that sequence is C7. That notion breaks the rules, but it works. Here's how a Bb7 is really a C7.

The Bb7 spelling adds a 9th (D) to the C7, augments the 5 (Ab), suspends 4 (F), and puts 7 (Bflat) on the bottom. But you can let the piano and bass worry about all that. Just riff on C7 and it will sound just fine. Even a little bit outside.

If it's easier, think of the Bb7 as a G7alt/Bb, but I don't think that's easier.
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