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The Six Most Important Chord Progressions in Jazz

Jazz is considered a melting pot of all the genres, and rightfully so, as it was the first modern musical style to fuse blues and classical music while simultaneously breaking the rules of both genres to create its own distinct place in music history.

Since then, we’ve seen jazz fall by the wayside in popularity, but that’s not to say jazz is dead. In fact, you might argue that jazz is the reason all other music is alive, as its influence has echoed throughout the universe of music, most notably in the harmonic construction of nearly every song we hear today.

Where it’s top 40 hits, alternative rock or heavy metal, the chord progressions are all built from the same basis of understanding–a basis that jazz helped form. When you think of jazz chord progressions specifically, a few come to mind, such as the ii-V-I cadence which–spoiler alert–is the first progression on my list in the video below.

Other chord progressions that make the cut, however, are much more interesting and provide a landscape for extremely creative guitar playing, especially when you start to adjust the chord construction and extensions.

Be sure to sign up for my course, Guitar Super System, to fill in any gaps in your music theory knowledge that may exist, because in the world of jazz, you’re only as good as the last sharp nine flat thirteen drop 3 voicing you played.

Tyler Larson is the founder of the guitar-centric brand Music is Win. His insightful, uncomplicated guitar lessons and gear demonstrations along with entertaining, satirical content about life as a musician receive tens of millions of video views per month across social media. Tyler is also the creator of the extremely popular online guitar learning platform, Guitar Super System. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Tyler has been teaching guitar for over a decade and operates a production studio in Nashville, TN.