Making Transitions over the Blues Pt IV

This is the final post in this series. We have systematically taken a relatively simple chordal outline over a short ii-7 V7 I and shown how we can make some subtle adjustments to create many possibilities both rhythmically and harmonically.


When I refer to a short ii-7 V7 I, I am using a term that is personal to me - I am not really sure that it is universally used, but it has always made sense. Typically, when we learn ii-7 V7 I's we learn them over a four measure phrase, where both the ii-7 and the V7 chords get one full measure and the I chord gets two measures. I generally call that a "normal" ii-7 V7 I or a "Long Form" ii-7 V7 I. When to chord duration is cut in half and both the ii-7 and the V7 only get two counts, I call that a "short" ii-7 V7 I. Again, maybe not a universal term, but something that I have found helpful to form distinction between the ways that the ii-7 V7 I progression can show up.


The short ii-7 V7 I is a an effective tool in transition to key centers within a tune. It is important to note that it is not necessary to have that progression in the chart for the improviser to superimpose it. For instances, if there were four measures of Bb followed by four measures of Eb, we could substitute the last measure of Bb as a short ii-7 V7 leading to Eb. This is is basically the situation in measure four of the blues. That measure can serve as a pick-up bar to Eb or a transition to Eb.


So this week's adaptation of the transition lick is another way to end the figure that gets us all the way to the root. Looking at the final measure of the lick the first two notes are 5 - 3. That was the original form of the lick. At this point we can add a turn from 4 - 5 - 4 and then play 3 - 1. The resulting lick is transposed for instruments for the concert key of Eb below. As we walk away from this idea I would encourage you to continue to find ways to adapt this language to your personal style. Also, we have specifically used these ideas as a way to transition between the first and second phrases of the blues; however, we can use it anytime we are transition to a new key center, or anytime short ii-7 V7 I's are present in the chord progression we are working with.


Bb Instruments







adjusted for trumpet range







Eb Instruments







Concert Pitch






Bass Clef


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