Mastering Jazz Chords: The bVII (Premium)
Learning jazz chords can be a frustrating obstacle on your path to becoming a better improviser. But what a lot of players forget is that the process isn’t just about memorizing chord symbols from a lead sheet and hoping for the best…
The key to improving lies in understanding how each chord functions and developing musical tools for the chord types that occur in nearly every jazz standard.
And one of these common chord types is the bVII7.
The bVII chord is exactly what it sounds like, the dominant “flat VII chord” of a Major key. In the key of Bb Major this would be an Ab7.
The thing is, this chord doesn’t exactly make sense in the context of a major key and doesn’t resolve where it’s supposed to. You may have even encountered this chord while playing tunes like the jazz standard Cherokee…
Whether you’re learning a tune or studying a progression, it’s easy to stumble upon this chord and see it as an outlier – a random chord thrown in by the composer that you just have to memorize.
However, the bVII7 chord is actually an ...
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