7 KIller Turnarounds for Your Next Jazz Solo

If you’ve spent any time practicing jazz improvisation, chances are you’ve heard of the turnaround. Those little two bar chord progressions that pop up at the ends of tunes or in the middle of your solo, leading you back to the top of the form. But what you might not realize is that these turnarounds can become one of the most important tools in your musical arsenal.

You just need to practice them in the right way…

“[Turnarounds] were a series of chord changes that progressed eloquently back to the main theme of a song. They were important because they let you extend a song without making it sound like you were repeating it. From a listeners’ standpoint, they created anticipation and made you want to hear the main part again.” ~Yusef Lateef

There are places in any chord progression that have the potential to create harmonic motion and melodic interest to your lines. And this is a technique that many great players have spent time developing in the practice room.

Tadd Dameron

The beautiful thing about improvisation is that you don’t have to feel chained to the written chord progression. You don’t have to play the same scale over every chord or the same chord changes in every chorus.

And one way to do this is by implying chords or melodic substitutions within an existing progression – turn backs and turnarounds.

Below we’ll show you 7 killer turnarounds that you can use in your next solo…

1) The standard “jazz” turnaround

Let’s start with the basic turnaround…

The majority of jazz standards have a chord progression that ends like this:

A ii-V7-I leading right back to the top of the tune…

You’ve seen it in the Blues, Rhythm Changes, and ...

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