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Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Sam


Play Minor ii-V’s like Joe Pass

Playing minor ii-V’s is a typical stumbling block for many jazz guitarists.  Most teachers will give a bunch of theory and scales, and usually leaves the guitarist wondering what to actually do with this stuff.

Learning it from a master is a much better approach, so here are 4 ways that Joe Pass approached the minor ii-V in “No Greater Love” from his Joy Spring album.  The tune is in Eb major so the minor ii-V’s are all in C minor.  All the minor ii-V licks are great to transpose and use all over the neck.

Check out the recording:
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Simple Arpeggios

The first time through Joe plays really simple arpeggios outlining the 5 chord and descending 1 chord.  Great reminder that it really can be that easy!

Sharp 9/Flat 9

The second time through, Joe plays a line using the sharp 9 and flat 9, a common bebop device that leads him to resolve on the 5th of the C minor chord.  He then follows the arpeggio down to the 5th of the C minor.  Definitely one to put in your back pocket.

Simple 2-5

This lick shows Joe’s simplicity and how to make it sound great.  He’s really only playing out of the C harmonic minor.  But it works because he uses a half step resolution giving the impression of the V chord on beat 3 and resolves so strongly to C minor at the end of the lick.  Also interesting to note the F minor triad at the beginning of the lick during the Dmi7b5.

Cry Me A River Lick

The “Cry Me A River”-lick has been used for decades with the minor ii-V.  Here Joe plays it starting on the #9 of the V chord (Bb in this case).  Again, just simple, proven stuff!

Let me know below what are some ways you like to approach the minor ii-V?  What are some of your favorite solos with minor ii-Vs to ‘steal’ from?

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3 Responses to Play Minor ii-V’s like Joe Pass

  1. Pingback: Joe Pass Minor ii-V Lesson - The Jazz Guitar Forum

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