In this lesson we will look at turnarounds (aka turnbacks) and their various variations as applied to major keys, minor keys, suspended resolutions and other progressions.
A turnaround is a series of chords that helps bring a chord progression back to the tonic key and is usually found at the end of a tune.
In the case of the examples in this lesson our turnarounds are being used to bring us back to the tonic keys of C major or C minor.
The practice of turning around a tune started when jazz players began becoming bored with chords that lasted for 2 bars or more, most of which were found in the last two bars of the tunes they were playing. So these players thought up new ways to take a long tonic chord and play other chords on top of it to take the harmony to a different place before bringing it back to the tonic chord.
Turnarounds are most commonly used during the last two bars of a piece, but they can be used in many situations. The first three bars of the blues and rhythm changes for example are turnarounds.
- In the blues the I7 chord goes to IV7 and back to I7, so any of the progressions below will work in that situation, just change the tonic from a maj7 to a dom7 and plug it in.
- The first two bars of rhythm changes start on Imaj7, go to VI7 then iim7, V7 and back to Imaj7 in bar three. So any or all of the progressions below will work in that situation as well.
In the audio files below you will hear common comping patterns over each of these progressions. To keep things practical, the chord voicings on the chart are written as you would see them on a lead sheet, G7, Dm7, Cmaj7 etc.
But, as in any practical, jazz comping situation, those chords can be embellished with 9ths, 13ths, 6ths, and other color tones.
So, if you hear a G13 chord and it’s written as G7, that’s a common approach to comping over lead sheet changes, and it is something you can explore futher in your playing as a jazz guitarist.
Chapter 1: Basic Chord Subs
The first example lays out the most basic turnaround that is used in jazz. Here the V7 chord (G7) is being added to the second bar, replacing the Cmaj7 that was being used for both bars in the original progression. This additional chord produces tension that is now resolved at the top of the tune when we return to the Imaj7 chord….